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.

Here’s What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Month: July

Here’s What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Month: July

Throughout my experiences with gardening and working at a farm, I’ve learned that not everyone understands what fruits and vegetables are in season.

When I worked for a local farmer, I was asked many times if we had locally grown corn. In January. Now in somewhere that’s warm year round that might fly, but where I live it’s a little bit to cold for local corn in January;)


Each month I’m writing an article about what fruits and vegetables are in season during that month. Obviously this will vary depending on where you live, so this is a very general guide of what might be in season in your area and what you should look for when you head out to your local farmers market.


Eating locally grown food supports local farmers and it tastes SOOO GOOD!

Since this is a general guide, I recommend that you check out The Seasonal Food Guide. All you have to do is put in your zip code and the time of year and it will tell you exactly what foods are in season in your area! It’s an awesome resource that I use all of the time.


I always try to cook meals based around the foods that are season, so I’ve also included recipes for each fruit or vegetable that’s in season this month.

Alright so let’s get going! Here’s what you should buy at the farmer’s market in July!


July is one of my favorite months because of all of the fresh local food. In my area, July is when farmer’s markets really get going and there’s a farmer’s market going on somewhere almost every day. July is awesome because of all of the yummy fresh fruits and veggies are getting started! There’s nothing better than a locally grown watermelon on the Fourth of July (check out my favorite Fourth of July recipes here).




Oh corn. It’s one of my absolute favorite things about summer. There’s nothing better than some delicious corn on the cob. I love corn on the cob so much that I actually freeze my corn on the cob (in the husk!) so I can still eat corn on the cob once it’s out of season!

I take my leftover corn on the cob and use it to make my own corn syrup. I know, I know, corn syrup isn’t great for you, but especially if you make your own candy sometimes it’s necessary. And making your own is way better than buying the processed stuff from the store. Check out my guide on how to make your own corn syrup.


Grilling corn on the cob tastes AMAZING! Check out this awesome recipe for the BEST grilled corn on the cob ever!



Cucumbers might be my favorite vegetable ever. They’re just SOO good! Now in my area cucumbers start showing up at the end of July or the beginning of August and that means it’s time to make some homemade pickles. I love pickling vegetables and you can check out some of my favorite recipes here. Also check out this quick and easy homemade pickles recipe!




Now eggplants are something that I don’t have a lot of experience with. But I’m dying to try them out! I’ll definitely be picking a couple up this month at the farmer’s market so I can try out this amazing baked eggplant parmesan recipe!



Plums are in season in July! I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with plums. I love eating them raw, but I’m dying to try this plum crisp recipe. It looks like the perfect dessert for a summer night!




If you’re lucky, tomatoes should start popping up in your farmer’s market in July, usually later in the month. In my area they don’t start showing up until August, but I’ve found a farmer who grows early tomatoes in his greenhouse, so I can fulfil my fresh tomato cravings until the plants in my garden start producing;)


I LOVE tomatoes and I wish I could have them all year long! One great way to preserve some of your fresh tomatoes is to dry them! Dried tomatoes add an amazing burst of flavor to meals, so I love having them around. Check out my tips on how to dry your own tomatoes here!

I’m dreaming of eating fresh tomatoes right now, but come August I’ll probably be drowning in them. I love this Quinoa Stuffed Tomato Recipe because it’s DELICIOUS and it’s gluten-free.


And since I’m a tomato fanatic I also make my own homemade tomato sauce so that I can have tomatoes all year long.


Summer Squash


Summer squash is in season in July! Honestly, y’all probably don’t even need to buy these from the farmer’s market. Wait until yellow squash and zucchini are producing like crazy and your neighbors will be practically begging you to take some of their squash;) I love summer squash and it’s an easy plant to grow especially for busy people (because it doesn’t take a lot of work and it’s very productive).


Got more zucchini on your hands than you can handle? Try out this easy zucchini and parmesan soup. It’s so easy to make and it’s a great way to use up your extra zucchini.




Depending on your area, you might be able to get watermelon in late July! The second I see fresh watermelon at the farmers market I buy A LOT because my family can go through watermelon fast! I’m a huge watermelon fan and it’s the perfect treat for a hot summer day. Check out this amazing watermelon sherbet recipe that’s sure to help you cool off after a long day out in the heat.




I LOVE herbs and mint is one of my absolute favorite herbs to use for chickens. I use it with lavender to stimulate laying (I sell dried peppermint in the store here), and I use it as a natural fly repellant. I also use it for when I have an upset stomach. I chew on mint leaves or I’ll infuse it in my tea using my tea infuser. It works wonders at settling down an upset stomach!

Green Beans


I’ll admit I was never a fan of green beans growing up. We had the canned ones from the grocery store and honestly, they’re just gross. Then I tried fresh green beans and man they are so good!


This roasted green beans with parmesan recipe looks amazing! I’m so excited to try it out once green beans start showing up at my local farmers market!




I LOVE peppers. Mostly because I love chips and salsa way more than I should. Homemade salsa is amazing and fresh, locally-grown peppers make it even better. Check out this quick and easy homemade salsa recipe for a yummy side dish for your next barbecue.

Do you eat locally grown food from the farmers market? I’d love to hear about it! Share what you bought at the farmer’s market this month in the comments below!