A Beginner's Guide to Feeding Chickens

A couple of backyard chickens can be a lot of fun to raise, as well as a constant source of fresh, healthy eggs.
A couple of backyard chickens can be a lot of fun to raise, as well as a constant source of fresh, healthy eggs.

Why Raise Chickens?

Raising chickens is increasing in popularity among both urban, suburban and rural residents. Raising just a couple of backyard hens can provide individuals with a source of fresh eggs for several years. Anyone can start raising chickens. All you need is a kennel or coop and an understanding of the basic principles of raising chickens. One of these principles is how to feed chickens. Feeding chickens isn't complicated, but it does require a few foundational pieces of information. Learn all about feeding chickens so you can start raising chickens in your own backyard!

The Basics of Feeding Chickens

What you feed your chickens depends largely upon a) the purpose for which you are raising chickens, and b) the age of the chickens.

Feeding Chicks: Chicks, no matter the chicken breed or purpose for raising them, need to be fed chick starter. Chick starter is exceptionally high in protein, the essential building blocks for a growing chicken. You can purchase chick starter feed at your local poultry feed store. Keep the chick starter available at all times, as your chicks will want to eat throughout the day. You must also ensure that your chicks have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Feeding Adult Chickens: Feed layer hens layer chicken feed. This type of chicken feed is high in protein (typically 16% to 20% protein), as well as calcium. Calcium is required for strong egg shells. You can start feeding your chickens layer hen feed when your hens start laying eggs. Meat chickens should be fed grower chicken feed. Both layer hens and meat chickens should also have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Use a waterer and refill it as needed (preferably daily).

You can also feed your chickens chicken scratch. Chicken scratch is a mixture of grains and seeds. Don't feed your chickens too much chicken scratch, as this will upset the nutritional balance of the commercial chicken feed that you are providing. Instead, feed your chickens scratch as a treat.

Some people like to feed their chickens kitchen scraps. Kitchen scraps should be used for feeding chickens only sparingly, and the scraps should be chosen carefully. You can feed your chickens healthy scraps such as vegetable clippings and fruit peels. Don't feed your chickens meat or fat scraps.

Feeding chickens is easy, as long as you follow these easy directions. Your backyard chickens will thank you for it!

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Comments 2 comments

Linda 5 years ago

Once you start feeding chicken layer feed how long before they start laying?

Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 5 years ago from Brazil

Thanks for the information. I have been worried about feeding them too many kitchen scraps. Lots more of the veg peelings I think as well as the feed.

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