ChickenFeed : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

What would be a good chicken feed?

-- Pat Stovall (, October 29, 2001


Pat, There are commercial feeds for the various stages of a chicken's life: chick starter, grower mash, layer mash. These have the protein, sodium, calcium, vitamins and roughage appropriate for poultry.

Did you perhaps mean a homemade feed? Folks split quickly into two camps on that one; some endorse mixing corn, wheat, soybeans, oyster shell, animal proteins and a vitamin/mineral supplement in various magic proportions as their chicken feed, and others insist making your own feed is "harebrained." A few let chickens fend for themselves in the warm months; others free feed commercial or home- mixed mash and allow the chickens to range and eat what they find, and some feed mash exclusively.

Does this answer your question, or do you have a specific circumstance in mind that causes you to seek alternatives to commercial chicken feed?


-- Mark Sykes (, October 29, 2001.

If you're looking for good layers, then you will need to feed them lay pellets or crumble. However, since we are coming up on winter, scratch is recommended to allow them to build up body fat to stay warm. You will need to give them a calcium supliment, and some sort of grit, if they are cooped.

-- Wendy A (, October 29, 2001.

I was going to ask a question near this subject. Whats the differance between scratch, and layer mash? Can I make this myself at home easily? These are the first chickens Ive had for layers,, so IM curious as to how much I will need to buy already made form the feed store,

-- stan (, October 29, 2001.

Hello in addition to the store bought mash, we feed our compost scraps from the table except for egg shells. Also left over vegies from the garden.

-- Don Amon (, October 29, 2001.

layer mash is cheap and easy in my opinion .You local feed store can even make a special mix for you .I also give table scraps .Anything but onions or garlic , you will taste it in your eggs {don't ask me how I know} hehe.

-- Patty {NY State} (, October 29, 2001.

Stan...scratch is cracked corn or a mixture of corn and wheat. Mash is lay feed,either crumbles or pellets. I give mine pellets as they seem to waste too much crumbles. We all seem to have our own way of feeding, you will find out, pehaps just by trial and error, which works the best for you. I give mine a bit extra protein by some dry cat food soaked in milk or water, extra duck eggs - scambled or hard boiled, meat scraps as well as left over vegetables. Whole raw veggies, too, keeps them busy pecking away on something. I have some 4 year old chickens that are still laying fairly well.

-- Duffy (, October 29, 2001.

We have a mix made for our family cow, which is 16% protein. With that we mix some more corn. The also receive milk everyday. Free range, weather permitting otherwise they get a flake of alfalfa. We also grind up our old egg shells and feed back, and free choice grit. We are still receiving alot of eggs even with the days shortening. We just started doing this in the spring, so far so good!

-- Suzanne (, October 29, 2001.

Something I forgot to mention, I grow lots of geranium in the front yard and when it comes time to cut them back, all that goes to the pig, ducks and chicken. They really love it. I also grow extra greens in the garden to give then, and when I pick and pull weeds, these all go to my birds and rabbits. I try not to waste anything. Even veggies that I buy i nthe store, if they are beyond what I would eat, they go to them, as well.

-- Wendy A (, October 30, 2001.

I feed layer pellets as they waste the crumbles by scratching it about. I also feed them leftovers and any veg or fruit from the garden and trees. I give them frest grass also. I can't let them free range because of the stray dogs. These hens are 3 or 4 years old and still lay.

-- PJC (, October 30, 2001.

I feed chick starter until they are a couple months old (and I keep them separate from the layers at this point) and then feed layer crumble or pellets and daily scratch too. I always keep a "chicken bucket" under the sink in the kitchen.....we scrape plates, and I put any veggie stems or waste or waste peelings etc...from canning in it, and give it to them every evening. They get trimmings from the garden and that sort of thing too. I notice a huge difference pretty quickly in the ammount of eggs I get when I slack off on the lay crumble or pellets ( I have had some hens that refuse to eat pellets and use crumble more often over the years..the hens I have now are less picky and get pellets) It is worth it to me to buy the pellets and get the egg production least most of the year. They also get any excess goat milk..but I do let it sit a day outside to curdle a little first..they seem to do better with it that way.

-- Jenny (, October 30, 2001.

A good and CHEAP chicken feed is 12% horse sweet feed, especially of the type not loaded with molasses. Around here I can get it for 5 dollars for a 50 pound bag, laying mash is 7.50, and scratch feed 8 dollars, so it is the best buy for me.

Even though it is a bit lower in protein (12% compared to 16% for laying mash) I haven't found it to affect the egg production noticably at all.

They also get all the fresh cut grass and field greens that they will clean up every day, for me this a 5 gallon bucket full every day for 23 chickens. So this, as well as all scraps the dogs won't eat from the house and garden, helps cut feed expenses even more.

They also get oyster shell for calcium and other minerals, grit, and one ounce of cider vinegar per gallon of water, this kills salmonella bacteria and helps the chickens absorb calcium properly in their diet.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, October 30, 2001.

Right now everyone poultry like in my yard is eating turkey grower and scratch and table scraps. I have a friend who swears by cheap dog food kibble mixed with warm water....its a mostly grain product usually.

-- Alison in N.S. (, October 31, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ