Free-range chickens are happy to forage when the weather allows for it, but during winter or when free birds aren’t an option, your flock needs access to healthy, high-quality feed. Since feed costs are a substantial portion of the expenses when keeping chickens, it’s important to be sure you’re providing adequate nutrition without allowing feed to go to waste.
First and foremost, you want to choose a feed with plenty of protein, as this is an essential component for egg production. Chickens also need a sufficient amount of carbohydrates and a scientifically informed vitamin and mineral profile for optimal health, so you want to select a feed backed by solid research and testing. Once you’ve chosen a healthy feed, you can work out how much and how often a layer needs to eat in a day.
Since every breed and every flock is different, it will take some time and observation to figure out your ideal amount of daily chicken feed. However, there is a simple figure to provide you with a solid starting point: 1/4 of a pound per fully grown chicken per day. This means each chicken will eat approximately 1.5 pounds of feed in a week. Many of our feeds are sold in 40lb. bags, allowing you to work out how long a bag will last given the size of your flock.
This amount will vary based on the age and size of your birds. The best way to determine your flock’s needs is by checking the feeders after they eat their fill. Just note whether any feed is left and adjust the amount up or down the next day. As a rule, it’s better to provide too much feed than too little, as wasted product is preferable to undernourished chickens.
Chickens need to go to roost with a full stomach to produce eggs. Their instinctive ability to forage intelligently makes free feeding — keeping the feeders stocked all day — a viable option. However, if you have pest issues or prefer to take a more hands-on approach, feeding your layers twice per day is a great way to be sure they get what they need. This will also let you observe their behavior and determine if you need to add feeders to prevent crowding.
You can also give your chickens some nutritious, natural snacks now and then to supplement their feed and keep them entertained. Just be sure they don’t fill up on treats and neglect their layer feed!
In addition to a well-rounded diet, chickens need a safe, dry coop, a constant supply of clean water, and grit to help them digest their food. It’s best to check these things frequently to keep your flock at their best – and they’ll appreciate the interaction, too! You can determine how much to feed your chickens per day and make them happier while you’re at it.
Since a good supply of nutritious feed grows healthy chickens and solid egg production, we recommend giving your pullets a good foundation with Chick Starter/Grower Crumbles from Nature’s Best Organic Feeds. With 18% protein and an ideal vitamin and mineral profile, this well-balanced feed will help your chickens grow into productive egg layers. Once you start collecting those first eggs, Nature’s Best also offers layer pellets and crumbles for mature birds.
All of Nature’s Best feeds are organic, scientifically tested, and Non-GMO Project Verified. Pick up a bag today and see how well your chickens can eat!