What’s better than farm fresh eggs, with bright orange yolks, on toast with homemade butter? Pretty much nothing.

So you need to know what to feed your chickens for better tasting eggs…

These days, I can’t even compare my hens’ eggs to grocery store eggs. My hens produce wonderful, better tasting eggs with golden/orange yolks that have an incomparable taste (at least compared to grocery eggs).

When I look at one of my eggs, I see the chickens foraging in the sunshine, engaging in their own chicken politics, and gobbling up the treats I leave for them. There’s a lot of satisfaction in those eggs.

I’ve received a lot of questions about whether the color of eggs makes them taste different (yes because the color is indicative of what they’ve ingested) and my secrets to feeding for those coveted golden yolks.  Well, we’ve run LOTS of tests on our farm with our chickens – and we figured out what helped our chickens lay better eggs!

A wooden bowl with three eggs in it with their shells next to the bowl

Step 1: A High Protein Diet

The foundation of the diet for my flock is the wheatgrass fodder I grow. Wheatgrass is very high in protein, which is key to healthy chickens and better-tasting eggs. You can also use barley, but I use wheat because barley isn’t available in the quantities I need in my area, and I try to support local businesses.

I explain how to grow fodder in my How to Grow Fodder and Why You Should guide. They love eating the grass, and scratching through the remaining seeds to get at the roots! I use these Non-GMO seeds to grow fodder. It’s easy!

I also add alfalfa and grass hay, especially in winter. Who doesn’t love reminders of summer when you’re trapped inside? The alfalfa and hay add protein and they get to scratch through it to get to other tasty bits of their dinner. I’ve also found that kelp adds protein, iron, and a lot of necessary vitamins.

My hens love and recommend this kelp product:

Step 2: Fiber and Herbs

Along with the wheat grass, I add oatmeal, alfalfa, garlic (fresh or powdered), and dried oregano to my chicken’s feed. You can find those herbs in this non-GMO product I love:

The oatmeal provides fiber in an easy-to-break-down form. Recent studies have shown that garlic and oregano have antibiotic properties, and help keep hens healthy and disease-free.

In fact, some large egg operations have been able to eliminate antibiotics completely from their hens’ diets after adding oregano and garlic to their feed. They claim their hens have never been healthier. Chicken farmers in Italy have long touted that for better tasting eggs, a forage-based diet is the secret to golden yolks (calendula helps also!). I’ll take it.

Step 3: Fresh Foods

I don’t use a set recipe. I just sprinkle and mix. I also add kitchen scraps, as well as fresh veggies like cabbage, tomatoes (which they can pick through), etc. Since it’s winter and their water keeps freezing, the fresh veggies help them stay hydrated in addition to giving me better tasting eggs.

In warmer weather, I add weeds I pull from the garden, grass clippings, fallen fruit, etc to their diet. And they give me great tasting, golden yolked eggs. And a bonus? The garlic keeps the coop smelling nice!

This spring, I’m also going to add a mealworm farm to the homestead, specifically for the hens. I think they will love the added protein and “hunting” their own bugs (especially since, thanks to neighbor dogs, I can’t let them free range anymore). Black soldier fly larvae are also a good option. They have a lot of calcium in them. You can learn to more about them here or buy some dried ones for your hens at a good price here. For yolks that look like lovely balls of sunshine, I think the most important thing is happy hens that have a diet high in protein.

Bonus Egg Tips

  • Need to increase your eggshell strength? It’s easy with oyster shells! You can simply provide it free choice or mix a little in with your chicken’s feed.
  • Backyard chicken keepers often give supplements (such as viatmins and minerals) to their flocks to give them an immune system and nutrition boost. Here’s one of our favorites: Vital Nutrients
  • You can give vegetable and table scraps to chickens as a daily treat! They love them.
  • Mealworms are an excellent source of protein for your birds. They love dried mealworms like these.


Better tasting, brighter colored eggs are not rocket science…but they are science. The great news is that it’s simple science – high protein, fiber, herbs, and fresh foods. The better the ingredients you put into your flock, the better the eggs will be.


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.

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  1. When I’ve read about adding garlic to my chicken’s diet I was warned not to since it would add a distinct flavor to the eggs. Have you found this to be the case at all?

  2. I was going to grow mealworms for my chickens but after some research decided on cockroaches instead. Higher protein and they can eat scrap vegetables etc. It was going well until my wife couldn’t deal with the idea anymore. Now I am growing worms in my compost pile instead. Much cheaper and easier than mealworms or cockroaches, I’m not sure about nutritional value but the chickens sure love them.

    1. I hadn’t thought about worms, thanks for the idea. I’d been wanting to do a mealworm farm, but with all my horse manure needing to be composted, worms might be a better option.

  3. Do your chickens go after rodents at all? My Mom (raised on a goat farm) told me the chickens kept their barn virtually rodent free. Wonder what mouse eggs taste like?

    1. Not really, but knowing chickens they probably would given the opportunity. I’ve had them go after frogs/toads before. We have a cat that’s an effective mouser, and one or two strays that help keep the population down. Not sure what mouse eggs would taste like, but the protein wouldn’t hurt!

      1. My chickens will fight over a mouse! I compare them to women at a black Friday sale, chasing and grabbing the mouse from one another…its pretty entertaining to watch! I never noticed a different flavor in the egg, though.

  4. I’m learning a new “composting” method called Bokashi. It’s fermenting food waste using beneficial bacteria/yeast. There are suggestions to feed this to chickens, and I’m going to try when my girls get a little older (they’re only a week or so right now). Have you heard of this?

  5. A friend sent me this link. Raised on a dairy farm here in Georgia and for the past few years getting back to the homestead mentality. Finishing up a chicken house so will need all the info I can get. Also, have a fair size garden. Heading out this a.m. to finish the planting. Hope we can have conversations soon. Thanks for your help.

    1. It’s great to hear when readers are able to start their own homestead. Glad you like the site. If you want to be notified whenever I have a new article out, consider joining my mailing list. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Loved reading your article, reminds me of the times when I had those glorious sunny yolks. Another tip you might consider for your readers, esp. if a flock can no longer free range, is chamomile, or manzanilla. You can grow it easily or purchase at the store or in bulk. Serves many purposes including physical and mental health, fresh smell, and aids in composting!
    Pinning your article and subscribing to your blog. Congratulations on your homestead and thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I hadn’t thought of camomile, I’ll have to do some reading on it!

  7. your suppose to not give your chickens grass clipping that are more than a hour cut because they go off really quick is this true

    1. Can’t say I’ve ever heard that! I think grass is fine, I offer mine hay and alfalfa sometimes and they lay great.

  8. I know this is an older post, but….. We don’t have chamomile we have wild pineapple weed, very similar plant. In the summer I use a reel mower with a catcher bag once a week or so to gather it and sprinkle it in the chicken coop, make it smell so good I could hang out there for hours. no wonder it was a strewing herb back in the medieval days.

  9. Mice don’t lay eggs, they have babies, thanks for the information about feeding for golden rich yolks. I’ve also used garlic as protection from lice and fleas! It really works and it’s cheaper than flea collars for your dogs and cats.

    1. She was talking about eggs from chickens that eat mice. But she was mainly making a joke.

  10. I make my own kefir. Everyone in the family drinks it daily, and the chickens get fresh, rolled oats soaked in kefir for breakfast every morning. Oddly, my chickens are picky eaters, and aren’t particularly interested in the fruit and vegetable scraps that I put out for them every day. But they fall all over themselves to get their beaks on the kefir and oats! Kefir provides beneficial bacteria for the gut, (the place where our health resides), and strengthens the immune system.

  11. My Grandchildren Buy Carrots and shred them up ;also We buy Salads that ‘s marked down to 25 cents to give Our 50 yes 50 Pet Chickens .

  12. In winter when the girls get bored and start picking at each other, I give them a half a cow liver. They LOVE it, and calm right down. I also give them a deer rib cage in hunting season. They can pick bones cleaner than you can believe. Great tasting eggs!

  13. It’s a joke, because many chickens will eat a mouse if they have the opportunity, therefore laying “mice eggs” 🙂 I’ve seen chickens be wonderful mousers. They go nuts over them, and a mouse can start a frenzy between the girls. It’s like an entertaining football game, if you ask me.

  14. I was in Rome, Italy 30 years ago and I STILL remember how good those eggs tasted and how orange the yolks were. Best eggs I have ever had. Thanks for letting me know how to get that goodness again 🙂

  15. I have yet to start keeping Chickens but it is all being planed for the near future, when I was a boy we had an allotment over here in England and I remember they had Chickens on the next allotment and I spent a lovely afternoon digging up big worms and throwing them over, their capacity to eat was endless, today I have my own large allotment and in the winter I get a lot of mice move into my greenhouse and feed on my stored stuff – so I trap them and throw them over to my neighbours Chickens and I always amazed at their ability to choke them down whole.
    I have done masses of research into keeping Chickens and also intend on keeping and breeding a selection of bugs for my girls and I like the idea of growing various grains for them.

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