Chicken Feed 101 For New Owners

Chicken Feed 101 For New Owners

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:

  1. Layer pellets (16% protein)
  2. Dried insects like black soldier fly larvae or mealworms
  3. Vegetables (here’s a list of vegetables you can feed chickens)
  4. Fruits such as grapes, berries, and melons
  5. Grasses
  6. 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:

  1. Processed food
  2. Raw potato peels and green potatoes
  3. Avocado skin and pit
  4. Raw meat
  5. 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:


  1. Vegetables (cooked or raw)
  2. Fruits (leave the seeds out)
  3. Grain
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Corn (cooked, raw, and dried)
  6. Peas
  7. Bread
  8. Yogurt


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.

6 Powerful Natural Anti Inflammatory Foods That Are Already In Your Kitchen

6 Powerful Natural Anti Inflammatory Foods That Are Already In Your Kitchen

Did you wake up in this morning kinda sore and hearing your bones and tendons creak and crack?


That’s arthritis and inflammation – and there’s something you can do about it other than down a bunch of over the counter drugs.


The most powerful natural anti inflammatory medicines are fruits, herbs, and seeds you might already have in your kitchen.


In this article, I’m going to show you 6 healthy foods you can eat (and HOW to eat them – this is important) so you can do everything you can to reduce any inflammation and pain in your body.


Want a diet to follow? Based on studies, Harvard recommends the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.


Of course, you can always make sure you eat lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils (you’ll see they’re potentially the most powerful natural anti inflammatory resources out there), and stay away from sugar, fried foods, sugary sodas (replace with kombucha or water kefir), processed carbs like commercial bread, and processed meats like fast food.


Cherries, Blueberries, and Apples

Fruits such as cherries, blueberries, and apples, contain powerful natural antioxidants which lower uric acid levels, which might help reduce physical joint pain.

They’re also high in natural polyphenols – and studies suggest that eating antioxidants and polyphenols longterm can help avoid osteoporosis. However you should avoid taking polyphenol supplements which might inhibit iron absorption, and potentially make your problem worse.



Pineapple is one of most powerful natural anti inflammatory fruits available because it contains the enzyme bromelain, an anti-inflammatory substance which studies have shown reduces inflammation like drugs, but without the side effects.


While the University of Maryland Medical Center says bromelain produced mixed results when used to treat arthritis, eating more pineapple certainly won’t hurt! 


Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar is wonderful stuff! Aside from the beneficial bacterial that are great for your digestive system, ACV also contains acetic acid, potassium, magnesium, probiotics and enzymes. For your joints and bones, it’s a good source of polyphenols, which studies have shown might reduce arthritis. 


There’s mixed results about whether apple cider vinegar is the most powerful natural anti inflammatory available, but it’s beneficial for your gut as well as your joints, so you won’t go wrong giving it a try.


Only consume raw organic apple cider vinegar WITH the mother (a collection of beneficial bacteria). You can learn how to make it with this $5 video or buy this brand hereStart with 1 tablespoon in 8 oz water to see how it does for you.



Studies have shown that ginger root has powerful natural anti-inflammatory properties similar to drugs. One study gave participants 2 grams of ginger supplementation for 11 days and “proved that daily consumption of raw and heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain.” You can either eat it fresh or drink ginger root tea – be sure to avoid anything processed. 



Turmeric has been heavily researched, and according to studies, it’s potentially most powerful natural anti inflammatory. The curcumin in turmeric gives the root its anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


Studies have shown, however, that turmeric itself does not have enough curcumin to have an impact, however, when mixed with black pepper, the amount of curcumin absorbed is 2,000 times more than just the root itself.


We’ve successfully used organic turmeric with black pepper on our farm to reduce inflammation with a pony who broke his shoulder. 


Omega 3s (Salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, fish oils)

Eating lots of Omega 3s, found in fish meat (such as salmon, fish oil, flax seeds, and chia seeds), help reduce inflammation without the same side effects as drugs. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, one animal study even showed that they reduced inflammation that was caused by pharmaceutical NSAIDS such as Motrin. 


The Arthritis Foundation says that flax is one of most powerful natural anti inflammatory seeds, and recommends adding it to smoothies or salad dressing to get your omega 3s on the go!  


The information in this article was reviewed for accuracy and efficacy by a licensed occupational therapist on 7/18/2017.