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.

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 girls layers pellets which provide them with the right amount of protein and minerals to keep them laying eggs!

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

Feeding your chickens pellets ensures that they are getting 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 Picks On Best Chicken Treats

Best Black Soldier Fly Larvae

grubblies

Grubblies World Harvest– Natural Grubs for Chickens

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  • Stronger and healthier eggshells
  • Healthy Daily Snacks
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  • Grown with Love. Grubblies World Harvest all-natural grubs are sustainably grown on farms around the world. No additives. No preservatives. No sprays. 100% natural, non gmo grubs.

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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
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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 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.

263 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.

        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

  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.

    1. yes ,you can,I do this from the beginning.I just place in the microwave for 3-4 minutes or in oven high temp for 5-10 minutes,after that I grind ,is powder,they love it. I save all the shells,I wash and let dry.
      My problems is the pallets,I have organic pallets ,very expensive ,but they wouldn’t touch,get on my last nerve.No more treats ,for sure.

    1. Hi Lesley,
      I’ve seen chicks as young as a few days old eating mealworms- so you can’t really give them snacks ‘too young’.
      However I tend to wait until they are around 16 weeks until I start giving them treats,
      Claire

      1. I don’t give the baby chicks treats.
        i give momma hen the treats and she distributes the treats accordingly. It’s so cute!!

    1. Hi Stuart,
      Yes. A simple rule of thumb to help you is if you can eat it, so can your hen!
      However, this doesn’t apply to salty foods,
      Claire

  10. Hi Claire,
    I have just acquired an Isa Brown, a Leghorn and an Australorp, all beautiful hens. My question is, should I feed them overnight…I’ve heard their crop needs to empty?!? they are free range on 2 acres during the day and roost in the coop I’ve built them overnight (hasn’t fallen down yet:), I work shift work and so feed them grit and pellets am and pm and they are spoilt rotten in between, they get plenty of exercise following me everywhere I go, just don’t want to overfeed the girls? They seem to eat what they want and then move on to bugs, insects, worms etc…

  11. Hi. I have 3 Americanas, 1 white leghorn, and 3 Production Reds. (Not sure if that is related to RI Reds or not.) I have been feeding layer crumbles. What is the difference between the layer crumbles and layer pellets?

    1. Hi Keren,
      Not really any nutritional difference.
      The only difference is their texture, crumbles are just crushed up pellets 🙂
      Claire

  12. I have a chicken that just showed up in my yard and has adopted me. No one has been able to catch her as she is incredibly fast, but she always come back to me so looks like I have a chicken. I have grown attached to her & want to care for her in healthy / positive ways so thank you all for your input on feeding chickens.

    1. Hi Susan,
      I hope you’ve managed to catch her now 🙂
      Not a problem, I’m happy the website is helping you!
      Be sure to drop us an email if you have any questions or get stuck along the way,
      Claire

  13. We have been feeding our 8 chickens grain mixes (can’t get pellets near us in Spain) and I have also been giving them mung bean sprouts and sprouted rye and oats which have grass on them every 3 or 4 days. They also get spinach, lettuce and any left over veg. They rush over to the corner of their run whenever they see us and some days if we are out often we don’t get many eggs. We wondered if we gave them enough food once a day, they would not always be thinking of treats every time they see us. Any advice please, we are beginners.

    1. Hi Wendy,
      Even when my girls are full they still rush over to me thinking there are more treats coming- I don’t think it’s something you can stop!
      I personally love to see my hens racing over to me… even if it is just the treats 🙂
      Claire

      1. I love when my RIR runs to me when she sees me. The only thing I do not like is that she wants to peck the nail polish off my toes!!!!

  14. Do chickens like a wet mushy feed for variety, any problems with it?
    I read that garlic is a natural way to kill any internal parasites in chickens. Recommendation was to feed minced garlic 2-4 times per year.Is this true?

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Do you mean that you will mush up their pellets?
      In terms of garlic, yes you can crush a clove into their feed. Instead of feeding it as a routine though it should be used when your hens seem ‘down’ 🙂
      Claire

  15. Thank you for this information , just came here because I wanted info on molting ,but got so much more, especially on the feed side and room for them. I have three RIR and they run around the farm doing their own thing every day. They follow me to my car and try to steal the dog treats. I was worried about my dog being with them as she does like chasing pheasants and trying to grab their tail feathers as they fly away .She is a boxer and likes to play with anything that moves ,anyway she was trying to eat their food the other day and one of the hens pecked her nose . So guess who is boss now . Great this pecking order thing .:-D

    1. Hi Polly,
      As long as it isn’t high in salt then yes 🙂
      Just make sure not to over do it!
      Claire

  16. I have 4 chickens which I was given when they were small about 12 weeks old, They are now about 9 months old. I found your web site incredibly helpful in giving me advise on food and wellbeing. My chickens are now huge but as yet have not started laying. I was told this could be because they were growing during the winter months and therefore may not start to lay till spring, Could this be the reason or have I not done something I should have. They are feed layers pellets twice a day mixed grit weekly and corn and scraps as a treat. They seem in good spirits and seem happy.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Thank you for your kind words!
      This could absolutely be the reason, and I would wait until mid-spring to see if they start laying before getting too concerned 🙂
      Claire

  17. What great advice from your notes I loved reading all of them and have gained so much knolege for the chickens Thankyou

  18. Hi. I’m also a new chicken mommy. Your site and information has helped tons. I have 5 and they are now 13 weeks. Since I’m not getting eggs yet my most favorite time is when they greet me at the pin door.

    1. So happy the site has helped you Becky 🙂
      Hope they start laying for you soon!
      Claire

      1. Thanks for all the tips. I have 3 Buff Orpingtons, 1 Gold Wyndott and 1 New Hampshire. My New Hampshire survived a bout of foul pox but is now blind in 1 eye because of it. Our original Buff who is the boss baby’s this girl. Our other hens bully her, is this because she is blind?

        1. We have 17 Cornish rock chicks that apparently have mites and have lost all of the feathers on their tummies and some on their backs. Will the festhers grow back? I am treating with food grade DE and gave them a “bath” with a mix of water and acv. Brooder was cleaned thoroughly, too. Is there anything else I can do to help them?

  19. What a great discussion! Found kaboodles of info on here pertaining to feed and general upkeep, in the comments. Thanks, champs!

    1. Hi Kimberly,
      As I only give them leftover rice it is always cooked…
      If by old fashioned you mean coarse then yes that’s fine 🙂
      Claire

  20. I am just starting to research raising chickens and have found your site and the Q&A very helpful.
    One of my concerns is going out of town for a couple of days once in awhile. Can they be left with sufficient food and water?

    1. Hi Karen,
      The biggest problem you will find with this is not being able to lock their coop at night- this is crucial as predators will attack at night time.
      Is it possible a friend could come over at night to lock the coop up?
      Claire

  21. Hi guys,
    Our 7 girls are about 4 years old and we are only getting about 3-4 eggs a day instead of 6-7 a day.
    We have a trough full of high quality chook food available at all times but also give them a tray of scraps each day that usually contains a lot of greens such as spinach or silverbeet, cooked rice, a bit of bread and some sort of meat such as sausages, steak, roast, curry etc..
    We’ve ‘heard’ that the meat will be stopping them from laying… seeking some advice please… it’s getting expensive to feed them for no eggs as a result..
    Thanks

    1. Chickens lay the most eggs their first year. The second year they lay less eggs, but they are larger. The third year and thereafter they lay even less eggs with no increase in size. I had a hen that was nine years old and only laid about eighteen eggs the last five years.

  22. Any ideas would be welcome on how to build our 1st chicken coop. We live in Scotland so temperatures in the winter can be -10. Thank you, have read your blog, very interesting.

  23. I love to watch my girls when I add minnows to a shallow water pan.
    They are so fun to watch when they go fishing and when they catch one, they can’t just eat it, they run around the yard which alerts the others that they have something and the chase is ON. ?
    The fisher-hen eventually will put the minnow down to look at it and immediately it will be snatched up by another hen to keep the chase going.

  24. We have a mix of different breeds- they are very sweet. We have never cooked any of the peels/scraps we have fed them. Is it okay either way?

    1. For most food it is ok either way Katelyn. Just make sure to read the list of toxic ones to avoid 🙂
      Claire

  25. Ive been reading about adding water to there feed and making a mash. It forments it. Ive been trying it. But my egg production has gone down. So its back to the dry feed.I have a lot of herbs in there feed and think that may not work in the mash… like garlic, oregano, parsley… Anyway Ive dropped from 14 eggs a day to about 10… Don’t think I want to keep trying this. It says that it better for the chickens. less poop…. any ideas.

  26. I have 8 chicks, 1 month old. they love broccoli but I’m not sure how often I can give it to them. I have tried other fruit and vegetables but they don’t like banana, apples, cucumber and tomatoes but they follow me for broccoli !!

  27. In there any alternatives to pellets? I really want to have truly organic eggs and most pellets are just not really great about ingredients. Is there a way to feed chickens unprocessed feed? What would it be?

    1. Hi Ogla,
      Yes there are alternatives. Ask at your local pet feed store for organic poultry feed.
      Claire

  28. I heard that chickens like a dirt or sand bath to keep pest away. What type of dirt or sand should I put in their dirt bath container?

    1. Hi Rosalie,
      Just regular plain old dirt will work fine! Just make sure its dry 🙂
      Claire

  29. My granddaughter recently got 4 chicks (I believe they are White Leghorns) from her school. So, now I’m the proud owner of chickens. I really appreciate the information on your site as I have never raised chickens. I have a lot to learn, but wanted to make sure the new chicks, now 4 weeks old, are started out right. Should I leave food out for them at night?

    1. Hi Gerald,
      This is a personal decision, however I personally don’t provide feed over night.
      Claire

  30. My chickens love crickets & snails in shells. Snails used to eat my garden now the chickens eat them. I buy live meal worms at pet store… Once in while they find a lizard in the yard & chase the winner. Also a garden snake which they played tug of war. When we have hot days I give them frozen corn. I bought them a blue plastic pool but they don’t seem to like it, yet.

  31. Please help! My chickens like to sleep on the top of the passionfruit vine even in the rain. I built them a beautiful warm house but they wont go in. Theyre too fast to catch or try to herd them into the house during the day. When I try to move them in the night, they wake up and scream. Any ideas how to get them to go and sleep in their house? Thankyou

    1. Leave the door open and when you go to feed them in the morning place the food well within the coop and leave water for them also inside the coop. I have trained my girls to come eat when I ring the dinner gong. Ring it every time you feed them. Soon they will come running when they hear the gong. Then at nighrt you can close the door on them while they are feeding, just be sure the have somewhere to roost.

  32. Chickens should eat the same as wild ground feeding birds like quail and pheasant. Greens and all kinds of worms-bugs should be the major diet. Corn and soy is hard on their liver and probably wheat too. Table scraps are fine occasionally. We seem to change animals diets to keep it cheap and convenient for us. Its just not right.

  33. My chickens wouldn’t go in their house either, we purchased an automatic chicken door opener, put them in their coop with the door closed and set the timer to open at 6am and close at 8pm. The smarter chickens taught the slow learning ones when to come in and out and now they all go in before the door closes at 8pm! Also keeps them safe from predators! It’s super funny watching them line up and enter the coop.

    1. That’s a brilliant tip, hoping to get chickens in the near future and think this is a great idea! It’s amazing that they’re teaching each other ?

  34. Thanks for all the info. Its great. I too am just starting with chickens as they were a gift. I feed them as you recommend. Yesterday one of the hens(I only have 9 hens) eat one of the eggs. What should I do?

  35. Great site, I am about to join the chicken motherhood club. Picking up 4 on weekend, coop arriving tomorrow, very excited. Free range then in coup at nite. Kids (8 and 12) are picking names ( god help me) , wish me luck

  36. I have bought 4 ISA Browns in the last fortnight and am still discovering what they like to eat. Interestingly I put a whole half pepper in their run and they took no notice of it but when I blitzed the pepper in the food processor and put it back in their run some came straight over and started pecking it up!
    They also like runner beans blitzed in the food processor and lightly boiled in some water to make a sort of mash.

  37. Hi there, I have 6 baby chickens, They are 5 days old, I feed them smashed corn, the problem is they waste most of the food by throwing them away with their feet, how do I stop them from wasting food?

  38. Brilliant information. I’ve got ex batts and they give me hours of pleasure.
    If they can’t come out of the run,if weather is bad or I’m out I have given mine a small amount of Cat food with their pellet. (Beef pate).They love it. My vet said in small amounts there’s no problem.

  39. I have 8 big girls and they go crazy over tomatoes! They can’t get enough of them. Especially with a sprinkling of cheese 😉

  40. Just getting started with chicks and hope to put them into the outside coop in a couple weeks.. Is Straw or woodchips better for the nesting and inside coop? How warm do nights have to be for the 6 week chicks to stay out? Thanks – I
    got a great amount of info from your blog and question section!!

  41. I read where you’re not supposed to be the chickens layer food until I start laying so what do you feed them before they start laying

  42. When you feed your chickens vegetable scraps,like broccoli, is it ok if the vegetables are cooked? Or, do they prefer raw vegetables?
    Thanks,
    New Chicken Owner 🙂

  43. Dear Claire,
    I just became a chicken owner because I have been chosen by the chicken. She showed up in our yard about ten days ago and seems to have moved in. I have ordered a coop. I don’t want her to get hurt by the local cat. Is it okay to keep just one chicken?
    Any insight will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    LeAnne

  44. Aloha,
    I keep an active compost pile and add green waste and kitchen scrapes and turn it regularly. The chickens watch me turn it and then start scratching. It is full of bugs and the chickens love to scratch for them. Chickens will eat almost everything. The rooster stands on top of the pile. And they take dirt baths around it. Mahalo.

  45. We just throw whole apples out into the run for our girls. They have never had an issue from seeds and they have fun rolling them around! Merry Christmas!!

  46. all of the comments with your answers have been a great help. especially what to feed them or not feed them. right now just gathering info. so when i retire the wife and i have a better idea what to do. thanks a million

  47. Wow, found this site by accident and was amazed by all the information you provided ❤️? I am soon to have 4baby chicks!! A little intimidated by the cost. About how much are you paying a month? Also I saw that you offered to have others email when they start raising chickens, can you email me so I can put it on file? And lastly thank you, this obviously took a lot of time and love. I just want to be the best chicken mama ❤️ Much appreciated, also I live on big island have you had others from Hawaii contact you? Are there any major differences?

    1. Aloha, I’m a new “mama” on the Big Island in Hawaii.. OMG? Never realized how much effort it takes to have these “girls”, but its kinda fun. I’ve had them about 3 weeks now.

  48. Hi
    I am picking up my 12 20 week old pullets up this saturday and by reading some coments i have only bought Layers pellets and oyster shell for their daily food. Do i just mix in the oyster shell with the pellets every day?

  49. Zafira
    I have just acquired my first beautiful hen. I have read all the info and have gone out and bought pellets for her and also give her vegetable and fruit scraps. My problem is she won’t eat the pellets at all. Also should I cook her the veggies or is raw OK? And also
    I have fresh water in her bowl but she seems to drink from little puddles in the ground as it spills. What do I do? I really love her and what to make sure she is healthy and happy.

  50. We don’t have chickens but love all types of animal. We see a group of hens and a rooster when we are dog walking and they all come running up to us looking for treats.
    Having checked with their owner he would be quite happy for us to give them a bit of something when we are passing.
    So I couldn’t believe it when I was looking for chicken food on my computer and your site/article popped up.
    I cant thank you enough for the info which has given me lots of ideas for tasty chicken treats!!!
    Ps I want to come back as one of your birds!!

    1. Once they get used to your treating them, you can call them from a distance and they will come running 🙂
      Claire

  51. My 6 girls have seemed to stop eating their feed. We have been feeding the Scratch and Peck Layer since they started laying. Now they seem to be boycotting. They do get greens daily and still eat that but not much feed. Any tips?

    1. They can boycott all they want, but they will not starve trust me 🙂 Let them pick and choose until they are hungry and do not have a choice. But, before that, first make sure your food is still fresh and theres nothing rotten about it.
      Claire

  52. Am Godwin U.
    I have gone through your article’s and few mail from customers.
    I really wish to start a layer business, just with 25 numbers of layers (about to lay or just starting layering). Please, what will be your advice or what do I need to know before starting.
    Thanks Godwin.

  53. I got a chick from a friend not knowing what all I was getting into. I have educated myself and like having my chicken. She is sweet and sits in our laps often. I have two questions. One, should I get another one? I read now that chickens are social and get lonely. Will she be alright with me and my kids or does she need a chicken friend? Two, I read an article about salmonella and am now paranoid about it. Is this really an issue?

    1. Chickens are flock type, I would provide her at least one companion. Salmonella is a lingering fear many people have, proper hygiene and proper coop care and you will be just fine.
      Claire

  54. My 4 black stars eat a whole bunch of kale every day and also love carrot tops and lettuce. Laying pellets and kitchen scraps daily. Free range during the day with their best friends Poppy the dog and two cats who sometimes sneak a nap in the nest boxes.

    1. I’d recommend Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, and Austrolourpes. All three are friendly, and they lay pretty well too.

  55. I have 8 chickens and half of them are having their feathers picked. I have been told they are not getting enough protein. I have been feeding them Scratch and Peck and also ferment for some of their feeding. I really like the feed and so do the chickens, but others say the 16% protein is not enough. I have been supplementing their feed with boiled eggs (2) for the eight of them and other days a can of sardines mixed with feed. Any suggestions on what else to do or feed them? They have more than the required amount of room in their coop and run.

  56. I have read that someone lost all their chickens because they fed them raw oatmeal and it expanded in their stomachs and killed them. Let’s remember to cook oatmeal, rice. soak beans first,anything that expands with water will harm them if not prepared right. We love our girls and they love us.

  57. Hi. Thanks for the article. I’m new to backyard chickens and in the end got some hens as I was failing to stop eating them in my otherwise plant based diet. The hens (5) have been very happy since arrival providing a regular supply of 5 eggs a day. We wanted less eggs as we figured if they don’t lay every day now they may keep laying, albeit less frequently, over a longer period of their lives. However I can’t find any actual information to know if this is true and I’m hoping you can help. We stopped giving them layers pellets and instead make food in the mixer – this consists mainly of carrot and beetroot peelings, cabbage leaves, dandelion leaves, left over fruit (pear, apple (without pips), etc. We’ll add cooked rice, oats (or left over oat meal from making oat milk), bird seed (sunflower hearts, etc) and dried corn for birds from pet shops. We’ll add the egg shells broken up or grit to the mix. They also have about 2 hours everyday roaming in the garden looking for grubs, eating grass etc.
    So I think they’re getting a good mix.
    Eggs production has dropped and we may get 2 eggs a day.
    Having less eggs was our objective as described above but I do want to be confidential that they’re healthy.
    I don’t know whether to reintroduce layers pellets or not.
    Thanks.

  58. My chicks (9) love blueberries and watermelon. They’re about 3 months old, and we just found out one is a rooster. Thanks for all the great info!! This is our first time having chickens, and they are more fun and work than I expected!

  59. Wow! Who knew that chickens were shop interesting! A friend of mine incubated some of her eggs and they hatched yesterday. I was just looking to see if there was some kind of treat i could bring to them next week. Cooked broccoli it is, as I’m not seeing myself digging up worms. I have lots of slimy slugs in my garden though. Aren’t they the same ad a snail, sans shell? Maybe I’ll bring a few of those too. Thanks for an informative site!

      1. I am having a hard time getting them to eat healthy. They want the scratch. But they hardly eat that too. They are free range. They eat dog poop. I’m really at a loss.

  60. Advice very much needed. I built my own coup much to the excitement of my two children. we were excited to take delivery of our 4 girls. i was told our girls are around 4 weeks old. On closer inspection they are in very poor condition and are huge and seem to have trouble walking. after some quick online research it looks like we have been sold broilers and not point of lay hens. I do not have the heart to send them back. Will my girls ever walk or produce eggs. They are not able to climb the ladder into their nesting boxes, so will have to make a weather proof box on the floor. heartbroken….

    1. If they are broilers that means they are a meat bird and will probably won’t make it under their own weight.
      Claire

  61. My hens put small pebbles in their feeder. Do you have any idea why they would do this? They also put dirt in their water. Otherwise they are beautiful, healthy and laying well.

      1. Hi. I love your helpful tips. I am having an issue and I’m not sure if you can help. I’m new to chickens. I have 9 hens and 1 BR rooster. I think my girls are ISA browns but not positive since they were variety ordered but look to be mostly the same breed but not any I that I was promised when ordered. Anyway they are 19 weeks old and been laying eggs for about 5 weeks so they started super early and doing great but this week I have gotten a rubber egg 3 times and 2 days of a super thin shell. I’m pretty sure I know which hen but I’m not sure how to help her. They are on layer feed, get a tray full of veggies, some fruit, oats, etc for dinner snack, access to oyster shell, and scratch spread in the morning before they free range. The last couple of weeks they have all been laying almost every day so its not even taking them 24 hours to lay. They are overachievers for sure but I’m wondering if its putting to much stress on their young bodies. Any suggestions I’m starting to get worried. Thank you. I love my girls and my Rooster Dandy. Yup they are all named after flowers, lol.

  62. Hey,
    We have wild pigeons we like to feed in the winter – don’t care want anyone thinks, they’re sweet, and we love them.
    I saw a recommendation for a healthier wintertime feed for pigeons being Chicken Layer Pellets 18% Protein.
    Question: We often have very rainy winters – will the chicken pellets hold up in a light to moderate rain for a few hours, or will it turn to mush immediately?
    Thanx!

  63. Thank you for your help.
    I just got 3 older hens and do not know anything about
    chickens so all you question and answer sure help.
    question: if your coop is secure do you have to close the coop up every night?

  64. Hi from Portugal! I tend my neighbours chickens when they are away (often). Their (that is the chickens enclosed garden) is very large and 7 hens , a cockrel and 2 turkeys share the space. There is also a separate enclosed space for a hen and her 2 adventurous chicks. All the fences seem secure but obviously not to the chicks! The chicks get into the main space frequently and also into the attached organic garden. When I appear they scamper home. All the birds seem to get on well. Currently I am cooking an excess of haricot vert from the organic garden as a treat. What a life!!

  65. So we’re new to this chicken raising? We enjoy cutting up a quarter cup of cucumber, about a blueberry each and a banana to split once a day. The chickens go crazy! We then do the same at night minus the banana so we may do squash or more cuke. He’s telling me now they are not laying as much because we are giving them too much. We have 9 chickens and I don’t feel like that is a lot. Your thoughts?

  66. I feed our RIR just about all kitchen scraps, veggies n fruit only. We’ve had them for eight yrs. I didn’t know about the avocado, which I’ve never fed to them . They get a good diet but they have completely stopped laying. For a yr now. We were getting so many eggs, close to a dozen n a half. But, a yr ago they completely stopped laying. Nothing we feed them has changed. But I personally don’t care for RIR, they’re mean n are bullies. The production RIR aren’t, but we only have a couple of them left. The RIR killed them. We got a RIR rooster, by chance , in the 12 chicks 8 yrs ago. He is HUGE n mean. I’m planning on getting a different breed come Spring.

    1. They probably just stopped laying because they’re old. 8 years is a pretty long time! Strange that they stopped all of a sudden though

  67. I was lucky to receive 5 beautiful Brahma’s as a present because this friend of mine who has about forty. has not been getting any eggs from his flock for nearly a year. I suggested this option because my three white Leghorn provide me two eggs almost every day. My home offers chicken a better life than my friend can offer. They are still settling in, only six days, no eggs yet! The Brahma are one year plus old by the way. Unfortunately whilst my friend was catching the five Brahmas he inured the leg of one and it now hops around with obvious pain when she puts weight on her left leg. She cannot scratch for food only peck. She has to sit down a lot. My question is, can someone advise me if chicken have the power to make repairs like a human

  68. We have several “wild” apple trees on our farm and have more than we can ever use even after cider, sauce, pies and canning so I pick up the drops by the 5 gallon bucket and feed them both to my chickens and my goats and some cut up ones to the rabbits. Every one seems to love them.

  69. This is a great article. I read that seeds in apple cores contain cyanide. I just fed them cored red delicious apples and they went crazy for them. Not sure if you left that part out or not. Also, I stay away from table scraps. Only the layered pellets and grains plus all the free produce (I know they like) I can take from one of my courier stops. While there may be no harm in giving them table scraps, I fear I may forget something sometime which may be harmful so I stay away from table scraps all together. I.E. salt, sugar, peppers/pepper. As for their stable feed, I feed them layer pellets with a few grains added. As per the article here, the feed must be right because I get the biggest fattest eggs with the best color over any store bought egg I’ve seen. (And it’s Thanksgiving Day today with two eggs collected today out of 7 girls and they are very healthy. My watering system is PVC and poultry nipples. I saw this on youtube and have to concur nothing makes more sense than this system. They have access to 10 gallons of fresh clean water at all times. NO DIRT. Keep up the info. We all need it and it helps us all make more educated decisions. Thank you.

  70. We have an automatic feeder for our girls and they are healthy and happy, I think. However, so is the growing population of magpies and bush turkeys that also graze happily. Do you have a solution for this?

  71. I have 3 of 24 hens left, due to mountain lion attack about 1-1/2 yrs ago. Since then, they have become more like pets and because I am so scared of them being killed, I started letting them into the laundry room each night and they sleep in a huge crate, then in the morning, they go back out to their coop. They’ve become very happy with this routine and come when called like dogs. However, after the attack, it took them some time to start laying again but then one by one they did and stopped again and have never, in about a year, laid again. They have very healthy diets, clean coops, no illness, no bullying, etc. One is a comet , one a amerucana & the last is a buff orpington. They’re between 3 and 4-1/2 yrs old. Is this due to age or??? TY for your feed back! Love your site and info!

  72. I give my chickens apples, but I core them first and take out the seeds. I read that the seeds were toxic. I don’t see that in this article.
    Is that not true?

  73. I’ve had my Australorp x RIR girls for 4 months. They’re eating well and I’m now getting 4 eggs a day. However, I am a bit concerned that they are going to be effected by all the smoke from the extensive bushfires this summer. Can anyone suggest ways to protect them or make sure they stay healthy?

  74. Apple seeds will NOT harm your chickens. On the farm, chickens eat tons of apples with seeds. They also enjoy cherry pits = another form of grit. You will also find that they prefer to drink out of mud puddles rather than clean water troughs. Don’t over-think. I’ve been raising chickens for 50 years and this site has some useful info, but as long as you take care of the basics your chickens will do well. Enjoy

  75. My 3 Silki Brahma cross girls have just started laying, today we had our first shell-less egg. We feed layer pellets, fruit veg scraps, mealworms and mixed corn as treats. They have access to a bowl of crushed oyster shells and grit. 4 days they are completely free range with 3 days in the run (while I work), on free range days the pellets go untouched. Is this likely to be the cause of shell-less egg?

  76. My girls live pasta, they don’t get it often. If we have salmon I cut the skin up into tiny pieces and they get that. In the summer they live watermelon rind. In the winter here in VT I sometimes cook rice or oatmeal as a warm treat. A couple of the girls will run right out & stand in it. They sure can be entertaining!!

  77. My girls love pasta, they don’t get it often. If we have salmon I cut the skin up into tiny pieces and they get that. In the summer they love watermelon rind. In the winter here in VT I sometimes cook rice or oatmeal as a warm treat. A couple of the girls will run right out & stand in it. They sure can be entertaining!!

  78. Kalmbach Feeds Organic Layer Feed : It s USDA organic and contains a proprietary blend of prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes to support digestive and immune health. When you feed your hens this omega-3 rich chicken feed, it may increase the amount of healthy fats and vitamin D in the eggs your chickens lay. Prairie s Choice Non-GMO Backyard Layer Formula : This all-natural egg layer formula is 100% non-GMO and grown and packaged in the USA. However, it is not organic.

  79. I throw a half watermelon out at night and by morning the only thing left is the extreme outer skin. I have 20 hatch chicks between 4 and six weeks and couldn’t get get to the tsc to get crumble. Is it ok to give them plain wheat for one day

  80. I have about 250 chickens. My chickens will only eat laying mash or scratch. And table scraps. They would die of hunger before they would eat anything in PELLET form..I don’t know why ?

  81. We have a dozen hens and one fantastic rooster named Woodwick. We have a garden with a fence around it and a few of our lil’ ladies manage to make it into the garden occasionally. Once they’re in they go straight for their favorites… kale, cabbage, blueberries, cherry tomatoes and several herbs (oregano and nasturtium blossoms mainly). We just shoo them out and make it a point to share a bit of the bounty. Their all time favorite treat hands down is a dallop of unsweetened plain yogurt in the bottom of their treat pan as well as crayfish from our creek! They all LOVE it! Makes us feel good to treat them to something special for all they do for us! Turning compost,Tick/Bug and pest control, Entertainment and Healthy/Delicious Food! We’re Blessed For Sure!

  82. Dear Happy Chicken Coop,
    Whilst I was reading your website one ad kept popping up again and again, multiple times – “20 years chicken cage factory – manufacture 2000 sets a week”. Your site is “the happy chicken coop”, how can you allow factory farming promotions on your site. Chickens kept in the type of cages advertised live short miserable panful tortured lives. I’m really distressed to see that ad on your site even once, let alone many many times.
    Yours sadly,
    Louise

    1. I feel that a lot of the time, it is not the site that controls what ads are on their webpage. Often times, the ads you see are affected by your browsing history (unless you have that setting turned off). I could be wrong though, so don’t quote me on that!
      On a separate note – please everyone use proper punctuation and grammar! Nobody can help you if they can’t read your question!
      Louise, this has nothing to do with you at all, your comment had some of the best grammar I’ve seen in awhile.

  83. will grapeskins and or grapeseeds , hurt chickens ,they sure love it . my chicks are ca. 5 weeks old , and i have four . in a backyard ca. i did not let them out yet , but plan to fence in my vege garden , and allow them late in the days acess . good idea or what? new at this. tommy the egg man.

  84. If you and your family are concerned about the pesticide and GMO status of the food you personally eat, you may want to consider what you re feeding your chickens. Feeding your chickens GMO products, then eating their eggs, may not align with your own values and health concerns. Kalmbach Feeds Organic Layer Feed : It s USDA organic and contains a proprietary blend of prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes to support digestive and immune health. When you feed your hens this omega-3 rich chicken feed, it may increase the amount of healthy fats and vitamin D in the eggs your chickens lay.

  85. You are all supposed to be happy chicks!
    No need to be snarky on one side and passive-aggressive on the other.
    Treat everyone with dignity, respect and when possible….kindness.
    Now lets go lay some eggs girls and leave the pecking order to the birds.
    Hen admirer

  86. What did I do wrong? Why was my content blocked? I was trying to support being a good person in response to the post content which was getting personal from what I saw was posted when all I’m looking for is chicken-feeding advice for my flock..
    What can I do to modify my post to meet your standards?
    I’m not trying to be negative in any way….only positive and light-hearted as I thought my post reflected. Please explain further on how I can pursue that message through your style?. Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Robert A.

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