Knowing how to store chicken feed is important, whether you keep a small backyard flock or run a larger chicken operation.
Constantly filling feeders and purchasing single bags can be time-consuming, so storing bags (or bulk feed) is an important thing to get right.
In this article, we discussed the different damages that happen to chicken feeds if not stored properly.
We also provided a couple of container options you can get to put your bird feed in.
You can also check out our top 5 tips summarized at the end for easier recall!
How to Store Chicken Feed To Prevent…
1. Insect Damage and Loss
Certain insects are considered normal and tasty treats for chickens and ducks, but some insects do more harm than good.
The blister beetle is one harmful bug you want to keep out of your feed containers (and your chicken’s beaks!).
Weevils, moths, and some beetles can put a dent in your feed and contaminate the feed while they’re snacking.
2. Rodent/Animal Damage and Loss
An easy-to-access chicken feed can carry many rodents, such as mice and rats, through winter and into the summer months when food becomes more plentiful.
Larger animals like raccoons and skunks can feast on your unsecured chicken feed, costing you money and putting your chickens’ lives at risk.
Rodents carry many diseases, which are excreted into an open chicken container as they work their way through the bag.
3. Fungal Damage with Humidity
Occasionally, when opening a bag of feed, a small chunk of moldy feed will be present.
This isn’t anything to be concerned about as it’s bound to happen and, when removed, will not continue spoiling the rest of the bag.
If the majority of the bag is moist, a fungus (that creates mycotoxins) will give your feed an off-taste as well as poison your chickens.
Humidity is one of the toughest things to avoid when storing feed.
Excess humidity in packaging or during the storage process must be avoided if you want to limit spoilage and fungal growth.
4. Rancid Feed
Rancid feed is easy to sniff out.
The smell created by fats in the feed oxidizing and spoiling is noted by you and your birds.
Not only does the feed smell, but if offered to chickens, it tastes bad, leading to feeding avoidance.
How to Store Chicken Feed: Where to Put Them
Whether you choose to buy bulk feed in a large tote or container, single bags, or pallets of bags, you’ll need to store the excess.
Containers to Store Feed—Which is Best?
To keep feed clear of rodents and their excrement, metal containers are the best option to prevent a mouse from stealing your feed.
Mice, rats, squirrels, and other rodents have been known to chew through wood bins used to store feed.
Many chicken keepers opt for metal containers with a ceramic liner or food-safe paint to store their extra feed.
Bears, if attempting to steal a snack, are startled by the banging and clanging of a metal feed bin and have a harder time busting them open.
For added security, you can use relatively inexpensive large metal waste bins secured with bungee cords or chains.
Wood containers are a great choice for those building a custom storage option, but not so great for those of us with open barns.
Ensuring the wood storage bin is made with safe lumber will keep your bird’s feed from becoming contaminated. However, wood is easily chewed by rodents and other vermin.
Plastic containers can work but are usually no match for a determined raccoon, skunk, or bear.
We’ve lost a number of plastic garbage bins full of feed to a soon-to-be-hibernating brown bear.
Plastic, if kept in partial sun, can also be prone to “sweating,” which can increase condensation and mold.
So keeping your plastic container out of the sun with small air holes may help prevent spoilage.
How Do I Keep Chicken Feed Safely Secured?
As mentioned above, several pesky rodents and critters are vying for your chicken’s tasty grain. Therefore, metal bins with tamper-proof handles can deter any unwanted disturbance.
Bears are exceptionally crafty at sniffing out and dismantling any safeguards put in place.
Storing your feed in a secure shop, barn, or garage can act as an extra line of defense.
Feed, especially in bags, should be stored off the ground to ensure no moisture seeps in from the ground below.
Where is the Best Place to Store Chicken Feed?
Chicken feed is prone to mold if it becomes wet or moist, so ensuring a covered space completely out of the elements is paramount to not spoiling your feed stash.
As convenient as it may seem to keep your feed inside the chicken coop, this is often discouraged for many reasons.
One is that chickens are incredibly determined when it comes to finding extra feed. As are rodents and critters, some may decide to eat more than the feed that first enticed them. (Look out, hens!).
Two, it’s important that chickens do not poop on the bins or bags of feed as it introduces bacteria and moisture, causing spoilage.
In order to mediate feed loss, frequent cleaning and refilling of feeders in the coop will ensure your birds are getting the feed before any rodents!
If you keep waterfowl with your chickens, they are far messier with water, so keeping the feed away from flapping wings and soaking bills will also save on moisture damage.
5 Best Practices for Storing Chicken Feed (and Saving on the Feed Bill):
- Keep chicken feed in tamper-proof metal containers in a secure location like a shop or garage.
- Store feed, especially in bags off the ground, to prevent ground moisture from damaging the contents inside.
- Keep in a well-ventilated area out of the weather.
- Frequently clean and refill your feeders to ensure rodents do not have a free food source or defecate in the feed.
- Keep feed away from waterfowl or chicken waterers to prevent splashing and accidental soaking.
How to Store Chicken Feed – FAQs
How long does chicken feed store for?
If kept in an appropriate container or storage option, chicken feed should keep for approximately 6 months from the date of manufacture.
Can chickens eat moldy feed?
No, hopefully, this article will prevent you from ending up on the wrong end of a bag of moldy feed.
But if you’re currently looking into a bag with moisture and mold and trying to decide whether it’s safe, the answer is probably no.
It’s better to be safe than sorry!
How to Store Chicken Feed: Storage Options That Work For You
The option that works best must suit your farm and setup.
Some rodent and weatherproof buildings can accommodate a less secure bin, while other bins that are left out but under cover will require a slightly more advanced storage option.
By putting these measures in place, buying bulk (usually saving money) can be an option for your farm and feathery friends!