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!