On the farm

What do you feed your chickens?


We are new chicken owners and are learning as we go. We are currently feeding them finisher feed. Plus now that they are big enough, they get free range several hours a day. Someone suggested that we feed them table scraps. I am wondering what other chicken owners feed their flock. Let me know by posting in the comments. Thanks for the help.

19 thoughts on “What do you feed your chickens?

  1. At the moment we feed our chickens what the basic feed store sells, whether it be starter, grower, finisher or layer ration but are looking into a local organic blend for our layers. We did free feed a grit bowl but have reduced it to a sprinkle in the food since last years impacted crop issue. For treats in the summer they get raw or roasted pumpkin, melons, apples on strings(makes it fun) and sometimes a fresh handful of herbs from the garden. In the winter we make warm oatmeal with added bird seed and dried fruit(cranberries or raisins) for morning treats when we collect the eggs…they make us happy so we figure we should return the favor.

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  2. Seconding everything Forevergreenhomestead said, and include watermelon, mangos and summer squash. Mine also like cooked carrots and sweet potatoes. But not raw, only cooked. Picky birds, is what I have.

    Also, black oil sunflower seeds are good in the winter for extra protein. The girls love them!

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      1. I don’t think I’ve given mine spinach before. They don’t really like lettuce, either, but do enjoy fresh leaves and grass in pasture. And dandelions. Every morning since Spring became reality, my eat dandelion salads with breakfast.


  3. We feed our chickens laying crumbles with oyster mix. We also feed them lots of garden and kitchen scraps. Other than meat, they get pretty much all of our leavings. We even give them our lawn trimmings from mowing, they peck and scratch the heck out of that. When we are working on an area of ground and come across fat earth worms, they get those too. I really want to get a meal worm farm going to give them some treats.

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  4. I let ours free range and thus they don’t need much commercial feed. They have been running free since last summer but I had to keep them in the coop once we planted our garden this year. I guess we have been fortunate that we have not lost any hens to predators but that is what works for us.

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  5. I feed layer pellets, sometimes fermented. free range, they have access to all of our compost as well and most things don’t make it to breaking down in the compost.
    Something most people don’t realize; chickens are omnivores and naturally cannibalistic. They will kill mice and eat them. Small snakes and chicks too. If a chicken gets picked on too much by the flock they will kill and eat it. They are opportunistic survivors and eat just about anything.
    I feed my chickens just about anything that’s not actively toxic. I avoid chocolate, avocados, citrus peels, dry rice and onions in their pen. Everything else goes in and they love it. No dead chickens. 😛 (Actually, the onions go in too, but they don’t bother eating those.)
    Chickens will eat just about anything and thrive as long as the diet is either balanced or varied.

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  6. Im so happy to see this topic! My bigger question, do you know if a person wants chickens but can’t keep them at home, is there a place where people can keep their chickens? Like a community coop type of thing or farm land where everyone can keep there stuff? Just checking out all my options. I live with my MIL… I dont think I need to explain further.


  7. When I had chickens, they really loved all kinds of fruit and vegetable scraps we had from the kitchen. They really liked to pick at watermelon, lol. They also go crazy for dried meal worms!!


  8. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. I enjoyed skimming through yours. In response to feeding chickens, quarteracrehome describes what we do fairly well. We provide laying pellets from the feed store. I also provide them assorted dried pulses, whole grain kernals, and seeds from my pantry. The compost pile is kept in the aviary. The chickens pick what they want from both kitchen and yard wastes. They really love worms and larvae to the big green June bugs. When they can catch them, they eat lizards. On occasion, mice have tried to move in to take advantage of their food. The chickens took care of that. See https://marydellavalle.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/burrowing-barrier-effective-chicken-1-mouse-0/.

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