Making Your Own Chicken Feed: The Fundamentals

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

01 July 2014

Assorted grains for chicken feed

When it comes to your chickens, it is important that they are fed a nutrient rich and balanced chicken feed high in protein and calcium to keep them in tip-top shape, and allow them to produce nutrient filled fresh eggs!

Because some commercially produced chicken feed is often highly processed and cooked, it sacrifices a lot of the nutrients that is needed for your girls to stay at the height of their health and provide you with delicious eggs each morning. This means they must eat a larger amount of their chicken feed to keep them satisfied.

The idea of making your own chicken feed is becoming increasingly popular among many backyard chicken owners. By making your own chicken feed it allows you to know exactly what is in the chicken feed, so it can be easily altered to suit your chickens dietary requirements, and it can also be cost effective for those who have larger flocks. As real food is coming out of your chickens, only real food should be going into them!

Creating your own chicken feed is particularly important for those chickens who are unable to free range full-time, as you can easily supplement what they would generally eat as free-rangers with many grains and grasses.

While all chickens dietary requirements will differ, there are a few fundamental ingredients you should include in your home-made chicken feed to keep your chickens clucking. (it is best to research how much of each ingredient you should include in your chicken feed depending on the amount you wish to make. This will ensure your girls are getting the correct dose of each to be provided with the most nutrient rich meal).

  • Oats: this kitchen favourite is rich in protein, calcium and  fiber, they are great for immune system support and are also a treat for your chicks-they love them! You can use rolled oats, quick oats or steel cut oats.
  • Sunflower Seeds: another great source of protein for your girls, as well as magnesium and copper for strong bones. Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin B which is great for chickens cardiovascular health and Vitamin E as a super anti-inflammatory-so be sure to load up on these for your chicken feed!
  • Brewer’s Yeast: this is an important source of both protein and B Vitamins, be sure to buy the animal grade variety for your chicken feed to save you a pretty penny!
  • Kelp Granules/Kelp Meal: chock a block with vitamins, minerals and amino acids, kelp is a an overall health booster for your flock, and a must have addition to any homemade chicken feed. You can buy kelp from all good pet and farm supply stores, or alternatively from a health food store if you’re after a smaller supply.
  • Flax Seeds: these powerful little seeds are responsible for boosting omega-3 fatty acids in eggs, and are also rich in protein, B Vitamins and minerals!
  • Wheat: wheat is the number one energy source for your chickens. If possible, mix both hard red wheat and soft white wheat into your chicken feed for the best dose of nutrients.
  • Cracked Corn: while corn doesn't have the greatest nutritional value for chickens, it does contribute to those beautiful, vibrant orange egg yolks, is a great energy hit for your girls, and most chooks go crazy over it!
  • Lentils: these are a great source of protein for your chickens, so be sure to add lentils to your chicken feed if you want your girls to consistently produce big delicious eggs!

In addition to this protein packed chicken feed, you should also supplement your chickens with their favourite kitchen scraps-cabbage, carrot peelings, eggs shells (or shell grit), yoghurt, bananas, bread crusts etc. (do be wary of a number of foods that your chickens should not eat to maintain their health, a list can be found here.

With a few regular treats added in the mix your girls will be thriving in no time- and there will be no shortage of poached eggs for brekky!

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