What do chickens eat?
The foods you should be feeding to your backyard flock - and some you should steer clear of.

Confused about which foods your chickens should eat at different points in their life?

You're not alone. 

I remember being completely confused about their nutritional needs when I was first starting out with my backyard chickens, so I wrote these pages in the hope that they would help prevent you from being as confused as I was, and to keep you abreast of any developments in research and experience. 

They'll take you through the best nutrition for your flock at all the key points in their life from newly hatched to adult breeding hens and beyond.

Just click on either the headline or the pic for each different subject to go straight to that page. 

What is the basic food chickens need to eat?

What should chickens eat to keep fit and healthy? Find out by clicking on this link.

Do you find yourself getting confused as to what your chickens should eat and at what age?  I certainly was.  Chick feed, growers, layers, crumbles, pellets ... What does it all mean?

Hens and roosters need different nutrients at different times in their life, and feeding the wrong balance can seriously affect their health.

This link takes you to an article describing the food a chick should eat from point of hatch right through to adulthood.   It takes the mystery out of feeding and lets you relax and enjoy your flock without worrying about their diet.

Grit and oyster shell : why your chickens can't live without them.

Did you know that grit and oyster shell are both critical to your chickens' health?  Do you know why?

When I first began keeping poultry I was completely confused about these supplements.  Were they the same?  If I gave one did I still need to give the other?  What would happen if my flock didn't eat therm?  Did I need to give the same to roosters as to hens?  And what about chicks?

This section is written to answer those questions for you as simply as possible so that you have a clear idea of what supplements should be given, when.

Ten healthy treats your flock will love to eat!

Ten healthy treats your chickens will love - click here.

Chickens should be fed treats only as part of a well-balanced diet.  But how to know what's good for your flock and what's not?

My guide to ten of the healthiest treats for your poultry is based on both scientific research and my own (and others') experiences of what chickens love and what they turn their beaks up at.

It will inform about what's good and why and gives advice about when treats can be given, when they should be given and when they should be avoided.

Ten high protein treats - and when your flock need them.

Click here for information about high protein foods good for your chickens!

When should your flock eat high protein foods?  What's its nutritional value?  Which high protein foods are good for your hens?  How much should they get?  And why is it possible to "kill them with kindness"?

My list of ten high protein treats comes from proven research about the most effective ways of helping chickens through the hard times in life as well as my own and my flock's experiences of what works and what doesn't.

If you're wondering about any of these questions, you'll find the answers on this page.

Homemade Protein Platter.

It's good fun to put some high protein foods together for your flock to help them through moulting or to give them a boost during the winter months.

This recipe for a 'Protein Platter' treat will help give you an idea of the kinds of quantities you'll need for your own flock, big or small, and explains why the ingredients are there.

Take this as a base and then - experiment until you find the perfect recipe your hens will love to eat!

Sprouting seeds for chicken treats!

If you've ever tried sprouting seeds for yourself, you'll know how simple it is to do.  But do you have any idea of exactly how beneficial sprouts can be for your chickens' health?

Antioxidants, proteins, vitamins - how amazing that just adding some water can create such little powerhouses of goodness for your flock.

And here's another benefit - they're just as good for humans, and delicious in salads - try them and see!

5 foods your chickens should never eat.

Make sure you know which foods that can kill chickens. Click here!

So you know which foods your hens should eat - but do you have any idea about those which could prove fatal to them?

There aren't many foods which could potentially kill your flock, but these five could - and they are commonly available.  It's not obvious that they're toxic, either.  It would be very easy for you to give flock these foods without realising the harm you're doing.

Don't risk letting your hens eat anything poisonous.  Click on this link to find out what you should be avoiding at all costs.

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Link to Raising Happy Chickens home page.