7 Surprising Rules for Feeding Chickens

Feeding your chickens is one of, if not the most important, tasks when it comes to raising backyard chickens. Get it right, and you will have a healthy flock who merrily cluck every time you bring them one of their favorite snacks or kitchen scraps!

Get it wrong, and it can lead to reduced egg production, deformed eggs, feather picking, and other unwanted behavior.

So, let’s gets straight into all you need to know about feeding chickens.

feeding chickens

What Should You Feed Chickens?

Once you know what you’re doing, feeding your chickens is quite straightforward.

We think what makes it tricky are some of the false myths posted online about what you can and can’t feed your chickens (such as feeding your chickens potato skin is bad for them- this is false! Chickens love potato skin).

The basis of any good chicken diet is a high-quality poultry pellet (source).

We feed our girl’s layers pellets which provide them with the right amount of protein and minerals to lay eggs!

Pellets normally contain wheat, salt, maize, sunflower seed, and oats.

Feeding your chickens pellets ensures that they get vital vitamins, nutrients, and minerals from their food source to keep them healthy.

This is even more important if your girls don’t have much outdoor space- because they won’t get minerals and salt from the ground.

In addition to their core diet of pellets, you can feed them grains such as corn or wheat to give them some variety.

Chickens love fruit and vegetables, and you can give them this daily. Our girls love vegetable peels, bananas, apple cores, carrots, and broccoli.

You are safe to feed chickens pretty much any vegetable or fruit except any raw green peels (such as green potato peel) and any citric fruits such as oranges and lemons.

Just remember they need whole grain, low salt, and low sugar foods.

Does this mean you can’t feed them scraps from your dinner? Absolutely not; we discuss which kitchen scraps we give our girls later on in the article.

Before we move on to discuss how to feed your chickens, let’s finish this section by discussing how you can ensure you are feeding your hens a high-quality feed.

Your feed should be high in protein, organic, and ideally milled in the US. A good quality feed will ensure your hens are healthy and laying eggs.

We have shared some of our favorite feeds in the table below.

Comparison Table

Shop For Chicken Feed on Amazon

Our Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Happy Coop Door - Weatherproof Automatic Chicken Coop Door Open/Close with Timer/Light Sensor, Predator Resistant Self-Locking Gears, Protection Sensor
  • Plug and Play Design - Takes 10 minutes to install the door
  • Up to 6 Months of Power with AA batteries - You don't need an outlet for the door to work, it functions on 4 AA batteries or a 6V battery (adapter included)
  • Protection Sensor - Built-in sensor when closing to detect when there is an obstruction under the door to prevent injury to chickens
  • Protects Chickens From Predators - Due to it's design, the notches the gear uses to open and close the door act as a self locking mechanism that prevents predators from breaking into the chicken coop. With this your chickens are protected and you can enjoy fresh eggs in the morning
  • Door Will Open if Hell Freezes Over, Rain or Shine - Our weatherproof design has been tested to work during rainy weather as well as extreme cold temperatures as cold as 5°F

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

Our Best Feed Pick

Chicken Feed Crumbles

purina leyana

Purina Layena | Nutritionally Complete Layer Hen Feed Crumbles

  • Rich yellow yolks
  • Calcium Manganese and Trace Minerals
  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Key Levels of Vitamin A, D, E
  • Prebiotics, Probiotics, and Yeast

See Price on Amazon

How To Feed Chickens

So now you know what you should be feeding your chickens, the next question is how you should feed them?

We feed our chickens pellets once in the morning and once in the evening- remember they like to eat small portions but often.

Some people prefer to throw chicken pellet straight onto the floor and let their chickens peck at it there. We put our pellets into a chicken trough to keep them clean and dry.

Our Pick of The Best Chicken Feeder

Best Black Soldier Fly Larvae

grandpas feeder

Grandpa’s Feeders Automatic Chicken Feeder

  • BUILT TO LAST
  • FEED ON DEMAND
  • LARGE FEED CAPACITY
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  • TRUSTED FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS

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Chicken Eating out of Feeder

How Much Should You Feed Them?

Generally, free-range chickens won’t over-eat, so you can’t over-face them. If you put too many pellets in their feeder, they won’t eat them.

Be careful not to leave any pellets or feed them out overnight because this will attract pests such as mice.

Over time you will learn exactly how much feed your chickens need, which will depend on the breed, how active they are, and the time of the year.

If you are constantly finding feed in the trough, then reduce the amount you give them slightly.

We have 12 hybrids and find that 4 large handfuls each morning and evening keep them happy.

It would be best if you also were sure to clean up any leftover scraps. Remember that leaving them can attract insects, like ants and flies, or even attract rats.

Interesting side-note: a hen needs roughly 4 pounds of chicken feed to produce 12 eggs (source).

How Often Should You Feed Them?

This will depend more on your circumstances than on the chickens.

If you are retired or spend most of your time at home, you can feed them pellets several times throughout the day.

However, if you work or are away from your home throughout the day, then you are best feeding them once in the morning and then again during the evening when you’re back home.

One thing to keep an eye on whilst you are feeding them is to make sure the most dominant (remember our discussion on the pecking order?) hens don’t eat all the food.

If this is becoming an issue, consider feeding the weaker birds on their own to ensure they get some food.

Water for Your Hens

Providing your hens with water is very straightforward.

You need to make sure they have access to clean, fresh water at all times.

You can place the water in any plastic container, but the easiest way is to buy a drinker.

If you live in a colder climate during the winter, the water will probably freeze over during the evenings, so make sure to break the ice up and clean out the bowl in the mornings.

Comparison Table

WATERER CAPACITY TYPE OUR RATING
Miller Little Giant Poultry Waterer Fount 7 Gallons Free Standing
See Price
RentACoop Chicken Waterer 5 Gallons Free Standing
See Price
Rite Farm Chicken Waterer 2.5 Gallons Hanging / Free Standing
See Price
RentACoop Chicken Waterer 3.5 Gallons Hanging / Free Standing
See Price

Shop For Water Drinkers on Amazon

feeding chickens

Feeding Chickens Table Scraps

Of course, no chicken feeding discussion is ever complete without discussing table/kitchen scraps.

Feeding chickens potato peel
One of the many benefits of keeping chickens is that the vast majority of your kitchen waste can be fed to them. This means they get a varied diet, and you get to save some money!

Make sure to feed your chickens wholesome foods, such as rice, pasta, oats, fruits, vegetables, and wholemeal bread. As a general rule, if you can eat it, so can they.

However, this excludes any fatty foods or foods with lots of salt.

When we feed our girls scraps, we tend to just cut it up into small (thumbnail-sized) pieces and throw this straight onto the floor into their pen. We only place pellets in their trough.

You’d be amazed at some of the scraps your chickens eat- pizza, spaghetti, and porridge, to name a few!

Before you feed your chickens kitchen scraps, make sure to check your local regulations, as in certain places (such as the UK), this can surprisingly be illegal.

5 Healthy Treats

Wow, these chickens sure are spoilt! On top of their pellets and kitchen scraps, we’re surprised they still want to eat… but they do.

Here are our girls top 5 healthy treats which we occasionally spoil them with:

  1. Worms: They absolutely love worms.
  2. Pumpkin: This includes pumpkin seeds.
  3. Apple Cores: Throw the apple cores straight into the pen.
  4. Broccoli: For some reason, they can’t get enough of it!
  5. Porridge: They only eat this during the winter months, though.

What you Shouldn’t Feed Them

We’ve covered lots of food throughout the article that you shouldn’t feed chickens so that we won’t repeat them.

Other foods you shouldn’t feed chickens include avocado, rhubarb, garlic, sweets, and any heavily processed food (i.e., crisps).

Just remember, as a general rule, if you can eat it, so can chickens.

Feed Method

It would be best if you fed chickens off the ground. That may sound like the complete opposite of every old movie showcasing chickens.

You probably picture a farmer with an apron nonchalantly tossing corn to her chickens.

While the image is picturesque, the circumstances might be a tad different for us.

For example, your chickens may not be free-range, meaning they are in a small space of confinement.

This means they are living amongst their droppings.

Throwing feed on the ground in a coop is not the same as tossing a few snacks to chickens who have the run of the yard.

Mixing feed with droppings can lead to parasitic infections, the spread of disease, or coccidiosis.

It’s best to use a tray, feeder, or your dish of choice to feed your chickens and keep their feed out of their own feces.

What Can Happen if Their Diet Isn’t Right?

A great email we received from a reader last week was ‘how do I tell if my chickens’ diet isn’t right?

The first thing to say is, if you noticed a significant change in their eating habits, be sure to get a vet to look at them as soon as possible.

However, if their diet isn’t right, there will be certain signs such as.

Reduced egg production: If the season hasn’t changed and their egg production changes significantly, this could indicate something is wrong with their diet.

General unrest and feather picking: Again, if the season hasn’t changed and they are picking their feather or each other’s, this could mean their diet isn’t correct.

Abnormal eggs: if you find that the eggs they do lay are too small or consistently contain double yolks, this would indicate their diet isn’t right.

If you are looking for a handy cheat sheet, be sure to check out this, which the Australian Government’s Agricultural department produced.

Common Questions About Rules for Feeding Chickens

If you still have lingering doubts, the following questions and answers should clear them up with ease. 

Is It Illegal to Feed a Chicken Chicken? 

Yes, in many places, including the United States, you cannot legally feed a chicken. This is because it is illegal to feed an animal any meat that is from the same animal.

This law helps reduce the risk of diseases that only affect certain species. 

What Is Not Safe for Chickens to Eat?

It would be best if you never fed your chickens avocado (specifically the peel and pit), candy, chocolate, citrus, dry beans, rotten or moldy food, green potato skins, or junk food. 

Do I Need to Feed My Chickens If They Are Free-range?

Yes, even if your chickens are free-range, you should feed them.

It would be best if you thought of access to pasture as a supplement to their diet. It would help if you still fed the chickens to provide them with the essential nutrients they need.

Remember that they need proper nutrition to remain healthy. 

Why Is It Illegal in Some States to Feed Chickens Mealworms?

It simply is not suitable for your chickens to feed them insect protein. While not all areas ban this, some do. The issue comes from the fact that most mealworms and other insects dried for use in protein tend to be raised eating animal protein and waste.

This is not good for your chickens as you have no control over the feed quality or even whether the mealworms consumed chicken meat. 

What Happens If You Feed Chicken to a Chicken?

Remember that you should not feed chicken to a chicken. This increases the risk of chicken-only diseases and is illegal in most areas.

That said, no one will know if you give chickens some scraps of leftover chicken. They will simply peck off and eat the soft tissues, fat, skin, and meat if you do this. They will not eat the bones as they physically cannot.

Let us know what your chicken’s favorite treat is in the comments below.

Our Choice for All-In-One Automatic Chicken Coop Door

Happy Coop Door - Weatherproof Automatic Chicken Coop Door Open/Close with Timer/Light Sensor, Predator Resistant Self-Locking Gears, Protection Sensor
  • Plug and Play Design - Takes 10 minutes to install the door
  • Up to 6 Months of Power with AA batteries - You don't need an outlet for the door to work, it functions on 4 AA batteries or a 6V battery (adapter included)
  • Protection Sensor - Built-in sensor when closing to detect when there is an obstruction under the door to prevent injury to chickens
  • Protects Chickens From Predators - Due to it's design, the notches the gear uses to open and close the door act as a self locking mechanism that prevents predators from breaking into the chicken coop. With this your chickens are protected and you can enjoy fresh eggs in the morning
  • Door Will Open if Hell Freezes Over, Rain or Shine - Our weatherproof design has been tested to work during rainy weather as well as extreme cold temperatures as cold as 5°F

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

 

 

Disclosure: We may earn affiliate commissions at no cost to you from the links on this page. This did not affect our assessment of products. Find full disclosure here.

268 thoughts on “7 Surprising Rules for Feeding Chickens

  1. Good article but actually white potatoes – all parts- contain the toxin solanine and should be avoided. Garlic is fine for chickens in moderation – mine get garlic powder added to their feed daily. And apple seeds contain cyanide, so feeding chickens apple cores isn’t really such a good idea. My suggestions come directly from the Merck Vet Manual – which is what I use as a guide in most cases.

    1. Hi Lisa thanks for getting in touch!
      When white potatoes are green it indicates the the toxin you mentioned, solanine, is present- However if it isn’t green it should be ok.
      We didn’t know about cyanide in apple seeds and we’ve just checked. Supposedly apple seeds contain around 0.6mg of cyanide per seed- so they would need to eat an awful lot of seeds to get poisoned but better to be safe than sorry! Sorry girls, looks like no more apples for you!

      1. I core my apples and chop them up and mix in oatmeal and unsalted sunflower seeds, my girls love it! My problem is my two Plymouth bared rocks and one Rhode Island red are getting their feathers on thier breastfeeding down to their butts plucked out and their skin is red the other Rhode Island red is as pretty as a picture! Is she bulling?

        1. Hi Rosalie,
          I really like this mix and I will try this with my hens this week 🙂
          It seems quite likely considering that the RIR is in such great shape! You’d think if it was a molt or mites then all three would be loosing feathers…
          Claire

          1. Not mentioned…Ginger can kill chickens, I accidentally offed two of mine years ago. ☹️

        2. Please put in a little punctuation when you write, it would just make it easier to read. Thank you and good luck with your chickens!

          1. All the info she puts out from the kindness of her heart, and you have to complain about punctuation. I have an ex like you.

          2. That was a constructive criticism. She listed the lack of punctuation as a problem. Negative effect of said problem, article is hard to read. Solution, include punctuation please.
            People all process things differently and proper punctuation is a visual cue. It’s very necessary. With no punctuation the meaning of some words and phrases changes. People all read and write at different levels.

        1. Just smack the cores to a hard surface and most seeds just pop out. Even so, a tiny amount of cyanide won’t kill them and if it did it would do so acute.

      2. Seriously if your girls have been happily eating the apple cores seeds and all then I agree it would take an aweful lot to raise cyanide levels to a toxic level. It’s almost like the government banning the purchase of apricot kernels as they contain arsnic! Did the government forget to mention the other amazingly curative elements within the apricot kernel that negate the minute amount of arsnic found! Everything within a food product wether it be for us or for our wonderful chicks needs to be seen in totality not as a singular scare tactic xx
        Enough said and happy feeding 🙂

          1. I have given 6 chickens a bushel of apples at a time they are happy very healthy crazy chickens!! And very hungry for more!

        1. Actually the cyanide in apple seeds prevent cancer, a small amount can be good for humans so why not other animals?

          1. I believe that the cyanide accumulates in the body and eventually reaches toxic levels which is why people don’e eat apple seeds.

          2. B7!
            Don’t believe everything you read. I’ve been feeding mine apples for the last 40 years, and no problems yet.
            Boiled potatoes with the earth on , they love too

          3. Does not accumulate. I eat apricot kernels and the bag specifically states limits – for people. It states limits per day and limits per hour.

          4. Some of us buy apricot kernels specifically for the cyanide and B17 because they are healthy! The cyanide is organic, and unlocks cells in your body that fight cancer. We actually need it.

        2. I figured that if I am feeling them the scraps from making pie or applesauce so that there would be a lot of seeds and not a lot of other apple “meat”, it’s good to take the seeds out. But if it’s a half eaten apple I find laying around, or one that is seriously bruised and nobody wants to eat it and I throw that to the chickens, it will be okay to leave the seeds in.

        1. Hi Elizabeth,
          As a rule I don’t feed them nuts because they tend to be high in salt which is bad for them…
          Claire

        2. My mother in law keeps dumping all her left overs in My chicken feed tray, like meat casseroles and lamb chops ! She insists it’s fine but I don’t think my chickens are eating it! I think it’s rats / stoats – is meat ok for chooks?

      3. I haven’t had chickens in a long time so I forget some of the food basics, there’s the chick feed and then when do you wean them over to layer? Like 17-18 weeks?

          1. Why is it so important to keep them on chick feed? Does it contain special protein %s?

          2. Hi, I have guinea’s and chickens mixed together. I have been mixing a 16% and a 27% protein crumble for all to eat. Will this harm the chickens long term?
            Kind regards,
            Sherry

          3. Just make sure guineas are not fed medicated feed because it is toxic to them. They are fine on this diet but keep in mind both have different protein needs.
            Claire

      4. Regarding Apple cores, I feed them all the time! I cut them in half and remove the seeds. It doesn’t take any time at all and the hens can still have their favorite treat!

      5. mine love the apples..i remove the core and cut the apple into pieces … they usually leave the pealing but eat up the apple

    2. Surely if chickens enjoy apple cores, it’s a simple solution of removing the pips ? A little effort for their enjoyment would be suffice.
      I have to say, I got alot from important information from this article, thank you, Happy Chicken Coop.

      1. Even if you dont have a ‘corer’ just cut apples in to quarters and cut core out, really easy

    3. Excuse me for knowing, but apple seeds, just like apricot seeds contain a minimal amount of NOT DANGEROUS cyanide. It’s well known that the Hunza people of the Himalayas lived to well over 100 years and enjoyed working all their lives, and they ate the pits of apricots religiously. It’s the medical profession’s ignorance of “foods being ones medicine” that prompts such advice.
      In fact, I always eat the seeds of an apple when given the opportunity. They are a compliment to good health, and not to be feared.
      R.A.

      1. Please do not feed your chickens apricot or apple seeds. There is no proven benefit to injesting cyanide, other components in apricots are cancer causing, and chickens are MUCH smaller than you are. A safe side for a 160 pound (80 kg) person is more than dangerous for a 6 pound (3kg) chicken. Even a dose that is less than immediately lethal can cause poisoning. Cyanide affects the brain and heart. Eat it if you wish, I won’t, but keep your birds safe. I know I won’t change the mind of the person who posted this, but for anyone else, please don’t harm your birds.

        1. There is not enough cyanide in a few apples to hurt them but do not feed them in bulk.
          Claire

        2. I believe the studies on apricot seeds, for anyone who wants more info on the science, are documented in the book
          “World Without Cancer; The Story of Vitamin B17”
          a very interesting read.

        3. I’ve been 40 years rearing chicken and with an orchard full of unpicked apples they graze through the Autumn falls and thrive, I must add!
          You are spreading a lot of codswallop!

        4. You guys have a lot of boutique chickens out there. I give them everything and let them decide. Every table scrap goes in. I have 50 +\- chickens for the last 15 years and have never had a problem. Of course I raise chickens for eggs. Once they don’t produce it’s soup.

          1. Here! Here! It the same at our house, it all goes to them and some they eat and some they don’t. The rest goes in the scrapper when they have picked out what they like. Animals are smarter than we give them credit for some times.

    4. May you kindly advice on the coop which does not produce babies and what food must i feed in order to keep on producing babies.

  2. Feeding my my old lady hen [house hen] broccoli is that cooked or raw? Also are grapes all right to give to her she loves them I limit her to about three or four a day is that too many? I make an effort not to kill her with kindness but she is well loved and a real character. Her name is Jeany she is xbat.
    many thanks Phil Davis

    1. Hi Phil,
      I feed the broccoli to them cooked, because it’s normally left over form what we don’t eat at dinner. Though you can give them raw broccoli in small quantities once in a while…
      Oh yes grapes are fine 🙂 Here is a little trick I use to spread them out- just slice the grapes in half so it keeps them occupied for a longer period of time!
      Claire

  3. How do I know my birds are getting enough grit? We just got our first 4 hens last night and their run is grass. We are feeding them layered pellets cuz they are 7 months and laying. I want to make sure they are getting enough grit to digest but I’m not sure how to tell? Are there any indicator?

    1. Hi Kristie,
      You can normally tell just through their eggs. If the shells are nice and strong then they are getting enough grit 🙂
      Claire

      1. Grit helps them digest food. To help make shells, you want oyster shell as a supplement.
        If they are free range, they are probably getting enough grit. If not, keep some available. As with the oyster shells, they will take what they need.

          1. My chickens free range starting at around 7 a.m. and go in around 6p.m. They barely eat any pellets. They get mealworms as a snack in the a.m. I live in Florida so there are plenty of bugs. One of my Buff Orpingtons layed a soft shell egg 3 days ago. They get ACV in there water and have plain water available at all times. When it’s extremely hot I give them electrolyte, vitamin, probiotic water. My hen is in no distress.

          1. Hi Georgie,
            We tend to just scatter a large handful on the floor once every couple of weeks 🙂
            Claire

          2. I bake and then finely grind my hens used shells. I keep the powder in a jar and add it to their feed. Works great as grit and it’s free.

    1. Hi Travis,
      I would feed them laying pellets as their primary diet and then give them snacks and treats as a supplement!
      Claire

      1. Advisable to feed layer ration only when they start laying not before as it will be too much protein, I have been told by vets and at conferences. Also advised to NOT feed layer ration to males as it can cause blockages. Best to feed males a finisher ration.

        1. Hi, how do u keeep ur rooster on a separate diet if he’s in the coop with thr ladies? I find mine has his head in the feeder an awful lot. I can’t separate them at feeding time.

          1. Hi Chris,
            If they are in the same coop you can’t keep them on a separate diet. Unless, you separate him each time they feed and opt to restrict their feeding to certain hours of the day.
            Claire

  4. We have had a lot of rain . It was so wet I had to open another part of my garden. There coop is off the ground (24″) Can too much wet ground hurt them?…

    1. Hi Marty,
      It depends how much water there is- you definitely don’t want it to be like a pond!
      As long as it’s just a bit damp and there is no lasting surface water then they will be fine.
      Claire

    2. We have also had a lot of rain. Seems like our girls were always walking around in the mud. We put down pine pellet bedding and and a thin layer of pine shavings. It helped tremendously!! No more nasty smell or muddy chicken feet, and our girls were much happier! We had another week of rain this past week, so it’s time to do it again. There are several YouTube videos with different suggestions, but this is what worked for us.

  5. I’m currently making an analysis of our organic waste to see if I can optimize things. It’s strange that I couldn’t find any feeding article yet that says you can’t feed chicken meat waste to chickens. For some people this may seem obvious, but it still makes me wonder, isn’t it illegal to do so in many countries? Also, a lot of articles say you shouldn’t feed chickens more than 20% of their diet with organic waste, so 80% is purchased food, what is your advice?

    1. Hi Ralse,
      Thank you for getting in touch.
      The only difficulty I see with feeding chickens organic waste is being able to calculate exactly how much nutrition they are getting.
      I think a 80/20 breakdown is sensible. I always make sure my girls get the majority of their intake from layers pellets and then they get snacks and treats throughout the day…
      Claire

    1. Hi Georgianna,
      I get it from my local farm store and it just has ‘Red Mite Powder’ on the label 🙂
      Any brand will do,
      Claire

    2. I just saw a video that said to put garlic bulbs in their water for get rid off and keep mites from returning. One bulb per gallon of water, two if the bulbs are small.

      1. the only worry with garlic is too much will lead to garlicy eggs. Otherwise that sounds a good tip. Thank you. Diatomaceous earth is good to dust on them too. Natural and does no harm if it is eaten, in fact, if eaten it should also take care of worms as it works like broken glass when it touches/is ingested by the worms but not larger creatures.

        1. I also use the Diatomaceous earth (food grade) I use it as a duster, I put about 10 TBS in a 50 lb. Bag of food (to control and kill the feed Beatles in the grains) it serves as a deworming agent and I also sprinkle it all over the bedding in the coup to control the fleas and mites. I learned this through a LOT of research due to I was given about 25 different breeds of chicks that ranged from 3 to 5 months old, and the conditions the birds were living in were CRUEL and GRUESOME the birds were ALL infested with mites, lice, and fleas, their poop was watery. Yuckie odd colored brown to a almost neon green with yellow water, some had rsv they were some SICK SICK BABIES. So we went through MANY MANY lavendar Epsom salt baths followed by mite spray down then the dusting of the Diatomaceous earth. And I am here to tell you that stuff is a MULTI PURPOSE LIFE SAVER for those babies!!!! The dusting in the cooper helps keep the mites, lice & fleas under control, cuz it LITERALLY just made my skin crawl LITERALLY, I wore blue latex gloves while Doctoring the birds an I would have to spray down my arms an a HUGE ring around my wrist just to keep the critters on the babies so the Diatomaceous earth and mite spray could kill them BEFORE they escaped. It was horrifying to see it was like a microscopic land run. But after a couple of months of the baths dusting and sprinkling of dust in cooper ALL the girls were HAPPY HOOKERS!!! So be kind to your wallet, and your girls get some!!!! ITS ACTUALLY pretty cheap,

    3. Diatomaceous Earth, make sure it’s food grade, is an excellent mite killer and overall pest controller. I use it sparingly in their coop, nesting boxes and food. Healthy, happy hens 😁

  6. What about onions in the chickens diet?
    I had read under ground food is not good for the chickens diet.

    1. Hi Carole,
      They can technically eat onions but the taste can spread into the eggs, so I wouldn’t recommend it!
      Claire

  7. Just got 2 chickens first time and they seem happy. They follow me every where I think it’s because I fed them from my hand first day. Built my own coop it’s bit higgly piggy but it’s up and I hope Thelma and Louise start laying

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Congratulations!
      Welcome to chicken raising and I’m sure they will start laying soon 🙂
      Be sure to email us if you have any questions along the way,
      Claire

      1. having 15 female and 2 male birds chicken, after 6 months produce each female 17 chicks, 50-50 male and female produce accordingly each and every 6 months 17 chicks having 50-50 male and female accordingly do same up-to 5 years.., please calculate them how many produce male and female bird? how much price per bird? and what is cost margin analysis?

  8. By reading this article, questions, comments and suggestions has been very helpful. Just 4 days ago I purchased 5 hens whereas I have gathered 6 eggs thus far. How do I know which hens are laying? There are 3 RIR and 2 white hens.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      Unless you sit and watch them in and out of the nest box it’s difficult.
      However, your RIR’s will lay brown eggs whereas your white hens (presuming they are leghorns) will lay white eggs.
      Claire

      1. I’m starting my 1st flock this year. I’ve decided on RIR & Longhorns. This may be a stupid question but if I only have RIR Roo will the Longhorns still lay white eggs?

    1. Hi Lauren,
      You can feed some vegetables raw. But as we feed all our vegetables as leftovers, they have already been cooked yes 🙂
      Claire

  9. How much meal worms should I fees to four hens?
    I raise both large,which are about an inch long, , and super worms that are about two inches long.