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Organic Chicken Feed

Updated on February 3, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

If you are raising poultry and you want completely organic eggs and meat then you will need to use an organic chicken feed. Like most organics it is more expensive than the conventional varieties, and may be harder to find. These challenges are worth overcoming to many small farmers and backyard hobbyists.

When it comes to organic feed you actually have a couple of options; buying commercially prepared, organic feed or making your own feed. There are drawbacks and benefits to both choices.


Commercial Organic Poultry Feeds

All Natural and Certified Organic feeds are not the same.

Certified Organic Chicken Feed

Certified organic feeds must be certified by the USDA and everything that goes in them must be certified as well. Organic chicken feed will not contain any of the following:

  • Animal by products
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
  • Antibiotics
  • Pesticide treated grains
  • Grains grown with chemical fertilizers
  • Synthetic amino acids

For truly organically raised chickens, you must keep them on organic pasture as well.

All Natural Chicken Feed

All natural feed is not the same. It does not have the same requirements as certified organic feeds. For some people, all natural is acceptable because it is usually less expensive and often easier to get.

  • All natural chicken feed does not contain:
  • Additives
  • Preservatives
  • Coloring agents
  • Antibiotics

The ingredients in all natural products might not be organically grown, however, and may have been treated with chemicals and pesticides.

Sources for Organic Feed

  • Countryside Naturals has several 100 percent organic products from chicken feed to chicken scratch. You can buy your organic feed by the fifty pound bag and have it shipped. Prices are excellent but shipping may be expensive.
  • The National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service has an interactive tool that allows you to add your location and the type of feed you are looking for and then pulls up various suppliers in your area.
  • Lions Grip has a listing of organic feed suppliers by state.

You can also check with your local feed store. Many of them will order in organic feeds if you will buy enough of it. Since many people don't use organic feeds it is often not worth it to the local feed stores to carry them. Be sure that they know you want 100 percent certified organic and not all natural feed. Many store owners are not fully aware of the difference.

How to Make Organic Homemade Feed

Homemade Organic Chicken Feed

Another option is making your own chicken feed. This is very do-able, especially if you chickens and other poultry are on pasture as well. Chickens will eat a lot of grass and vegetation so pastured raised poultry generally won't need a lot of extra nutrients.

Some people feel that there are disadvantages to fish and soy meal in homemade feed. Some people feel that soy products, with their heavy concentration of phyto-estrogens are not healthy. Fish meal may be high in mercury. You will need to decide whether or not you will add these things to your flock's diet.

Homemade Poultry Feed Mix

In order for this mix to be organic every grain and every seed must be organic, too. You won't find organic kelp or oyster shell but that is o.k.

  • 2 parts whole corn
  • 3 parts soft white wheat
  • 3 parts hard red winter wheat
  • ½ part Diatomaceous Earth
  • 1 part hulled barley
  • 1 part oat groats
  • 2 part sunflower seeds
  • ½ part peanuts
  • 3 parts millet
  • 1 part wheat bran
  • 1 part split peas
  • 1 part lentils
  • 1 part quinoa
  • 1 part sesame seeds
  • 1/2 part flax seeds
  • 1/2 part kelp
Oyster shell in a container for free feed.

Raising chickens on organic feed is one of the benefits of having your own chickens. You can produce organic eggs at a fraction of the price of those you can buy. If you are mixing your own feed it will be more fresh, and you will know what is in it.


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    • louromano profile image

      louromano 6 years ago

      Beautiful and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Josh Hatkin 6 years ago

      In the 2 yr old comment above yoy indicate organic chicken feed should not contain animal products due to health concerns. What health concerns? Other animals eat animal products regularly and are healthy. Are you promoting vegetarian chickens? You also indicate your chickens control the rodent population. You have no idea what the rodents ate. was it organic? Maybe they ate grain treated with a chemical fertiizer. Furthermore, good poultry husbandry includes an IPM program. You can obtain a good IPM from your local pest control service.

    • profile image

      Tracy 6 years ago

      What percent are you aiming at with your feed recipe? I need to come up with a 22 percent feed for my turkeys. Mnay thanks

    • profile image 6 years ago

      Please email me more information on how to raise local chicken. I'm based in South Nyanza region in Kenya and have great passion to raise local African chicken. I'm challenged on how to acquire feeds locally. What are the locally available opt,ions for feeding chicken?

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

      My chickens are going to flip over your organic chicken feed recipe Marye! I can't wait to try it.


    • profile image

      swtwin2 7 years ago

      Very informative and helpful. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Joe 7 years ago

      Hi, i want to make my own chicken feed too, but i was wondering how much you'd need to make and how long it would last with 30 chickens?

    • profile image

      Keeping Chickens 7 years ago

      What an excellent article. I recently posted on Organic Chicken Feed as it's so difficult to source locally for us back garden chicken keepers. This gives me all the info I need to make some of my own up. Cheers!

    • profile image

      cristyn 7 years ago

      I'm so glad I found this page. My regular egg farmer wasn't available and I almost bought eggs from another until I read his feed ingredients. First ingredient corn and second was soybean meal. Soy is so horrible for us and they sneak it in everywhere! I felt bad for him when I said 'no thanks'.

    • hubmu profile image

      hubmu 8 years ago from BN

      never know about this info before, good hub.

    • bengriston profile image

      bengriston 8 years ago

      We do cattle now and want to add chickens to the mix next summer. Part of our plan includes growing our own feed for both since we have plenty of land. I was just reading your hub for some pointers on chickens.

    • Blogging Erika profile image

      E L Danvers 8 years ago from Ventura, CA

      I agree on the "no animal protein" issue. Not because chickens are vegetarians - because they aren't! But because you have NO idea what KIND of "protein" it is. Which means you can pretty much assume the worst.

    • FREDDYBEAR09 profile image

      FREDDYBEAR09 8 years ago from LAKELAND, FLORIDA 33805

      iam as you know now, an avid lover of all chickens. also turkeys, game fowl, and other domestic poultry. these are for pets only!!!!!

    • profile image

      sooz 8 years ago

      Where do you get these grains? A feed store, or co-op?

      Are the peanuts whole? Quinoa cooked, or right out of the box?

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      We kept chickens years ago when I was a girl. They were fed only kitchen scraps, mainly boiled potato skins. They didn't seem hard done by but they had the run of the garden too.

    • Marye Audet profile image

      Marye Audet 8 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      Aya, the commercial feeds cannot contain animal products because of health concerns. However, you are correct- chickens are omnivores. Mine even keep the mouse population down by the barn! Scraps will not hurt them a bit..but make sure it is organic. :)

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

      Marye, I have four hens and am interested in the possibility of feeding them in ways that are both healthy and economical. For instance, it would be great if we could make chicken feed from kitchen scraps.

      I was wondering why organic feed should not contain animal products. Don't chickens naturally go for the meat of insects?


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