Chickens are omnivores with diverse dietary preferences. They require a balanced diet to be healthy and productive. The center of their diet is typically commercial chicken feed. This feed typically consists of grains such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. These feeds are formulated to provide essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. The right combination is necessary for growth, egg production, and overall well-being. Generally, chicken feed should be 16-20% protein for egg-laying chickens. There are various types of feed available, including starter, grower, layer, and broiler feeds, depending on the stage of life and specific nutritional requirements.

For suggestions of commercial feed, see our Chicken Supply List.

Along with their commercial feed, chickens benefit from a variety of supplementary foods that contribute to their nutrition and offer enrichment. Scratch grains such as oats, barley, and millet provide energy and dietary fiber. Fruits and vegetables offer vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Common kitchen scraps such as leftover fruits, vegetables, and bread can also be fed to chickens in moderation. Avoid giving chickens bell peppers, fruit pits and seeds, avocado, bread, raw meat, potato, onion, and garlic. Protein-rich treats such as mealworms, earthworms, and dried insects serve as valuable sources of protein. Extra protein is particularly beneficial during molting or periods of increased nutritional demand.

Access to fresh water is essential for chickens to stay hydrated and healthy. Clean water should be provided at all times. It is especially important during hot weather or when chickens are laying eggs. Watering systems should be checked regularly to ensure cleanliness and proper functioning. Contaminated water can lead to health issues such as dehydration, digestive problems, and decreased egg production.

A well-balanced diet consisting of commercial feed, supplemented with grains, fruits, vegetables, and occasional treats, ensures that chickens receive the nutrition they need to thrive and lead healthy, productive lives.