Can't find what you're looking for?
Search this site!

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 and shouldn't eat at different times of year?

You're not alone!

I remember being completely confused about their nutritional needs when I was first starting out with my backyard flock.

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. 

No time to read now? Pin to read later!

From chick to adult, what food should you give a chicken at different stages of its life? Which treats are healthy and which are asking for trouble? And can you home-make chicken feed? Find out here!

My articles will take you through the best nutrition for your chickens at all the key points in their life from newly hatched to adult breeding hens and beyond.

They also cover how food and treat needs vary from one time of year to another.  

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.

Best automatic chicken feeder - a review.

Best automatic chicken feeder review - link.

Working out what chickens eat is your first step. Working out how to feed it is next.

Having open grain is a sure way to invite unwanted guests into the coop: wild birds and rodents will come wherever there is available food. And bot of them will bring disease to your coop and to your home.

The answer is a feeder which is rodent-proof and not open to the elements. Grandpa's feeder is the only one that fits the bill.

Fnd out why in this article.

What do baby chicks eat?

What do baby chicks eat? Find out how to keep them healthy and happy, here.

This is a more detailed article about what baby chicks should be given to eat, from hatch to 8 weeks old.

The properly balanced starter feed, what to give young chicks as treats - and when they can safely be given them, what part grit plays in a baby chick's life, which feeders work best with babies...

It also covers what's a good food for chicks who need that extra bit of help.

This article covers all you need to know about how to keep your very young chicks healthy and happy.

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.

Five 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 starts here, with the first five.

It is based on both scientific research and my own (and others') experiences of what's healthy for chickens to have, what they 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.

Five more healthy treats for happy hens!

Continuing my articles about what make the healthiest treats you can feed to your flock, in this page we look at the benefits of another five.

Is lettuce a healthy treat, or doesn't it have much goodness? Are tomatoes a good idea, or are they poisonous to chickens?

The benefits and the potential problems of flowers, lettuce, melon, pumpkins and tomatoes are all dealt with in detail.

So you'll always be sure you're giving your flock only the best of all possible treats.

How to make a frozen chicken treat.

It's the height of summer, and the temperatures are soaring. What can you do to help your chickens survive the heat of the summer months?

One answer is to give them plenty of frozen foods. Fun to make (kids love to do this!) they can literally be a life-saver, avoiding dehydration and heat stress.

Filled with treats they love, these iced delights will thaw gently as they melt in the heat - but before they do, your flock will peck at them to release some of the goodies they can see inside.

And as a bonus, while they stand nearby to peck at them, the ice melts, giving your hens a lovely cool foot spa.

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!

Fermented food: what it is and why it's good for chickens.

You may have read a lot on the internet about fermented food for humans, but did you know it's also great as a boost to the health of your backyard chicken flock as well?

If you're not sure what it is or why it's good for your hens, this article will help.

It discusses whether introducing bacteria into food can be healthy; how it helps increase resistance to illness and disease, and whether there are any drawbacks.

If you've never tried fermenting chicken food before, you'll want to after this!

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.

If you found this helpful, please take a few seconds to share it - thank you!

Link to Raising Happy Chickens home page.