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Chicken Feed (and don't forget grit!)

Buff Brahma chickens

Credit: Paul Barbano

Don't know what to feed your chickens? Follow our tips and advice!

  • For simplicity, most owners of small flocks buy commercial rations from their local feed stores.
  • Young chicks will require "starter" feeds, and you may have a choice of medicated or non-medicated versions. (If you can keep a healthy flock with the non-medicated rations, do so.)
  • Once the hens reach laying age, at approximately five months, you'll want to switch to layer rations with at least 16 percent protein.
  • Chicken feeds can be supplemented by homegrown or home-mixed rations of grains (oats, corn, barley, wheat, etc.), various brans, fish meal, alfalfa meal, and bonemeal.
  • You can add scraps from your table, such as fruit and vegetable peels or leftover breads.
  • Avoid offering raw potato peels (hard to digest), garlic or onions, (which may alter the way the eggs or meat taste), or anything spoiled.
  • Feeds bought from the store contain all the phosphorus and salt your hens will need, and they eliminate the need for grit.

If you free-range your hens or supplement their diets . . .

  • Be sure to offer a hopper of grit to help the hens grind up any grains or plant matter they eat.
  • Hens also need a hopper of ground oyster shells or other calcium source to prevent soft-shelled eggs.
  • Fresh water should be a constant supply.

Do you have any special foods your chickens love? Let us know!

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Comments

Can chickens eat raw rice?

By Paul Butler

Can chickens eat raw rice? Cooked rice?

My neighbor feeds rice to her

By Karrol Baldison

My neighbor feeds rice to her flock, although she hasn't been in the country that long. Anyone else know if chickens can digest rice?

Cooked rice is fine. Uncooked

By Almanac Staff

Cooked rice is fine. Uncooked is not advised. Just know that plain white rice has little nutrition and is just a nice filler snack. Don't give them too much or the chickens won't fill up on more nutrient-rich food.

My chickens LOVE TUNA! I also

By miwin1000

My chickens LOVE TUNA! I also cook whole wheat berries with some carrots and other veggies thrown in...they truly love it!

We grow sprouts for our flock

By 2dreamers

We grow sprouts for our flock in the winter

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