Overall, chickens tend to be pretty easy to care for. No matter your reason for raising backyard chickens, it’s important to ensure they get the right type and amount of feed each day to stay happy and healthy.
Your backyard chickens’ feed should contain basic nutrients such as:
Depending on your chickens’ breeds, ages, and life cycles, they could require a specific type of feed with different levels of these important nutrients. For example, as they age, chickens will progress through these feed types:
The amount of feed your chickens require can vary based on factors such as their age and size as well as:
In general, the average chicken will need 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of feed per day. In addition to regular feed, you can also supplement their diet with fresh fruits and veggies or Poultry Scratch Grains. However, these extra snacks shouldn’t exceed 10% of their daily feed intake.
How frequently you feed your chickens can depend on your own preferences as well as if they are free-range or not. On average, most chickens will benefit from having two pellet meals a day. You can either give them this meal by hand or use a feed dispenser. To split up the meals, provide one small portion in the morning and the second portion in the evening.
Unless they are broiler (meat) birds, most chickens will naturally stop eating their feed once they feel full. The main cause of obesity and overeating is often due to excessive amounts of treats, table scraps, and scratch grains. If you overfeed your chickens, it could cause obesity, which can then lead to a range of health problems such as mobility issues, pressure sores, and becoming egg bound.
To prevent these health conditions — some of which can be fatal — it’s important to feed your backyard chickens the right type and amount of feed. While they can have treats, such as mealworms, try to keep them to a minimum to avoid overfeeding your chickens.
For 75 years, Nature’s Best Organic Feeds has been formulating chicken feeds for all stages of life that are organic, non-medicated, and Non-GMO Project-Verified. To keep your backyard chickens healthy and well-fed, use our store locator tool to find our premium line in a Tractor Supply Co. location or feed store near you!