If you are new to raising backyard chickens, there is a lot to learn. You must be able to provide for their shelter, protection, food, water, and egg laying needs. So what do chickens eat or like to eat? Here is some information on chicken feeds and other tips for you.
Depending on the stage of life your chicken is in, it will have different nutritional requirements. Chicks and pullets (immature chickens) need more energy to fuel their rapidly growing bodies.
Some people will want to skimp on the amount of feed at this time, hoping to save money. But this will backfire in the long run, because smaller or underweight pullets will not produce at optimum rates when they begin to lay eggs. So be sure to use the proper feed for your animals.
Chick starter is fed up to 8 weeks of age, followed by growing diet up to 20 weeks. After that, if you are raising laying hens, feed them a laying diet. If not, you can use an all-purpose feed. Each of these is already formulated with the correct balance of nutrients.
Your chickens will also need some form of grit in their diet. This is essential for digestion to occur. The grit grinds up the food for them. You can purchase grit to supplement their diet. If they are free range chickens, they should have access to pebbles and the like for this purpose.
Chickens love bugs. You can supplement their diet with any bugs you have. We always give them any grains or other pantry foods that we have with bugs in it, such as rice or flour, beans, tea, cereal, etc.
Feed stores carry various grains you can add as treats. Ours enjoy oats and love rice whenever they can get that.
We also collect cockroaches we find. Since roaches are nocturnal, and your chooks are diurnal, they do not often meet. We kill or capture the roaches and hold them in a jar until the next morning. The chickens come running in mouth-watering anticipation of these juicy morsels. Gross!
They will also happily devour other insects, like termites, grubs, and worms. They enjoy hanging around when I turn over the compost pile, because they have access to roaches, worms, and centipedes. They slurp those down like spaghetti. Disgusting but much appreciated!
Those are just some of the things you can feed your backyard flock of chickens. Use this knowledge about chicken feed, and the other tips, and provide a good diet for your chooks. They will thank you for it.