Healthy hens and roosters don’t come in baskets from storks. It takes the right kind of chicken feed to turn them into active clucking fluffy butts in your coop.
What is chicken feed called?
There are several types of chicken feeds. Starter feed is a protein dense variety of chicken feed designed to meet the dietary requirements of baby chicks. To complicate matters, there are varieties of chicken food known as starter/grower feed, which is essentially a type of feed that chickens can eat from 1-20 weeks of age.
Generally, chickens are to be fed depending on their growth development stage.
For baby chicks a day old to 10 weeks starter feed should be crumbles or mash that contain 18% protein. Don’t be confused with crumbles and mash. Crumbles look like tiny pieces of granola while mash are finely ground chicken feed pellets. Both are easier to be consumed by chicks compared to huge pellets.
Eventually, they’ll start laying. Chicken layer feed would be similar to the textured mixture of crumbles, mash, and pellets. However, It needs at least 16% protein minimum, with added calcium. Layers need high protein chicken feed as well for more eggs. You also need to stay away from feeding onions, and other strong tasting foods to layers. They cause and undesirable taste to the eggs.
What do you feed chickens for tasting the best eggs?
We try different types of chicken feeds, but we feed them high quality layer feed and supplement it with our very own blend of natural herbs, oyster shells, garlic for immune boosting, and apple cider vinegar granules to balance gut pH and introduce beneficial bacteria. You can check it out here.
What do you feed a chicken?
The basis of any good chicken diet is a high quality poultry feed. We feed our girls a layer mash, which provides them with the right amount of protein and minerals to keep them laying eggs! In short, you can feed chickens:
- Layer pellets (16% protein)
- Dried insects like black soldier fly larvae or mealworms
- Vegetables (here’s a list of vegetables you can feed chickens)
- Fruits such as grapes, berries, and melons
- Seeds like wheat or millet
What is the best feed for chickens?
The best feed is high in protein, while providing all the nutrients chickens need. While there are a lot of commercial chicken feeds on the market, I still prefer non-GMO chicken feed. We’re proud to have the best chicken feed that can even give chickens fluffy feathers and produce the best eggs! Click here to know where to get chicken feed.
If you want to make your own homemade feed, just make sure it has essential chicken feed ingredients. You can read my favorite chicken feed recipe here.
How much do you feed a chicken per day?
A well known ballpark figure for estimating purpose is 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day, or, 1.5 pounds of feed per chicken per week. Keep in mind that this is a ballpark figure, and you’ll need to watch your flock’s intake. If they gobble their feed quickly, and still seem hungry, offer more.
Do free range chickens need feed?
Yes. Even though they have access to pasture, you still need to give them poultry chicken feed to make sure they’re getting the right kind and enough nutrition.
Do chickens need food and water at night?
Chickens roost and sleep at night, and they won’t get up to eat and drink until it’s light again. However, you should always provide 24 hour access to water. Here’s a list of waterers we recommend.
How often should chickens be fed?
How often do you feed chickens is a very common question in growing backyard chickens. Food must be available to chickens whenever they need it. The full feeding method is a good technique to guarantee that there is constant supply of feed at all times. You can also use automatic feeders like these. We’ve also reviewed Duncan Feeder’s automatic feeders here.
How much food does a chicken need per day?
¼ cup of a high quality chicken feed. Best to offer free choice all day.
Can you overfeed chickens?
Everything must be taken in moderation. Overfeeding chicken is possible and they become obese especially if they’re confined to the coop. Free range hens however get enough exercise and are unlikely to be obese.
Do free range chickens need scratch?
No. They don’t. Unless it’s winter and the ground is covered in snow.
Then there’s also grit. Grit is not feed, it’s rocks. Chickens need grit to help digest their feed. It’s their equivalent to teeth. Free fed chicken will find their way to grit in the form of tiny bits of stone and gravel but it would be helpful if you threw some in the coop or their feed too.
Grit comes as flint and oyster shell. Oyster shell is soluble and it provides calcium which would be much used by layers in particular. It’s just like feeding chickens with eggshells.
What should you not feed chickens? What foods are poisonous to chickens?
While looking for alternative chicken feed, you might have considered beans. Although they look like something chickens would eat, dried and raw beans are a no-no. It contains phytohaemagglutinin which is fatal to chickens. Moldy fruits and vegetables aren’t good as Fowl feed too.
Caffeine is also toxic to chickens. Giving them a few pecks of chocolates would not cause too much harm but remember, chocolates are known to cause cardiac arrest in birds!
Other foods that are not good for chicken are:
- Processed food
- Raw potato peels and green potatoes
- Avocado skin and pit
- Raw meat
- Greasy food
You can see a list of what not to feed chickens here.
What scraps can chickens eat?
Some table scraps that are safe for chicken to consume are:
- Vegetables (cooked or raw)
- Fruits (leave the seeds out)
- Corn (cooked, raw, and dried)
Again, make sure that these foods are not moldy or spoiled. You might have also heard of feeding chicken expired yogurt. It’s not something to be frowned on. Feeding chicken yogurt helps even out chicken gut bacteria for a better digestion. You can also add a few tablespoons of yogurt when fermenting chicken feed.
Where can I buy chicken feed?
You can find chicken feed for sale at local farm stores. You can also find them on Amazon here.
How can I feed my chickens cheap?
To reduce chicken feed bill, free ranging would be a good idea. A garden can provide additional and natural feed for your chicken who sometimes don’t stop eating. Another option is to make your own chicken feed. Learn how to make chicken feed and check out my chicken feed recipe here.
What can I grow to feed chickens?
Growing chicken feed is not complicated at all. Remember what was in grandma’s garden and sow them! Chickens can eat vegetables like corn, lettuce, kale, and any other leafy vegetable you usually grow. Sunflower and Millet are great seed producing plants too! These make great grower feed for chickens and organic chicken feed too.
Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category. Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.