NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: what do you feed your chickens?  (Read 26167 times)


  • Joined Mar 2008
what do you feed your chickens?
« on: March 31, 2008, 01:58:16 pm »
Hello, I've had about 5 chickens for the last year.  I've just been feeding them poultry grain, but when I was reading a smallholder magazine recently I noticed that quite a few people writing in were giving their chickens layers pellets.  I've no idea what the difference is and couldn't find any detailed advice in my poultry book.  I also realised that I should be worming them as they are on the same patch of ground all the time.  I bought some flubenvet but there was contradictory advice about egg disposal on the packet and in the magazine.  It also made me wonder if there is anything else I'm not doing that I should be.
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2008, 02:28:12 pm »
This is an easy one to answer!

Corn is great for fattening birds as its high in carbs and therefore good for a treat and good for slowly fattening birds. However if you want eggs they need a higher protein diet, which if they were totally unconfined they could probably find for themselves from worms grubs etc but in most environments even electric fenced free range they will need extra so feeding layers pellets is the answer....they are a complete feed and have everything included!
If under point of lay growers pellets help them develop well and if meat birds grain and fattener pellets

Good luck and lots of eggs!!

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2008, 09:01:09 pm »
We use The Organic Company's Layer Pellets for the hens, their chick crumbs for chicks(!) and their Grower / finisher pellets for you birds for meat or laying. To be honest, the hens don't eat all that much since they free range but the Hubbards are confined and eat LOADS. The hens get a few handfuls of mixed corn at breakfast time and at bedtime. Seems to work OK - eleven eggs from eleven hens today!!

We use VERM-X herbal wormer for the hens (and sheep but not the same formulation, obviously). The wormer is liquid and is fed for three days each month. We soak bread in the liquid and give it to the girls, trying to make sure they all get some. Not sure yet how well it works.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2008, 09:46:22 am »
I feed my chooks in a similar style to Rosemary. Layers pellets seem to be a good allround feed for layers, growers and even my geese. too much maize for layers may slow down egg production as the extra fat can block up the works, so to speak. free ranging hens need less food as they help themselves to all the different things they need. i give little treats on occasion just to keep them friendly, like cooked pasta, fruit, veg, bread and a little cod liver oil on their pellets. i also put cider vinegar in the water sometimes, to clear their gut. They lay well and are healthy.


  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2008, 12:31:23 pm »
Thanks everyone.  That is really clear - why can't someone have written that in one of my books?  This may explain why a couple of my chickens aren't laying - too much corn, maybe?  Can you still eat the eggs after giving VERM-X?  Anyway I'll try giving them a few handfuls of layers pellets twice a day and see how we get on.


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 02:41:48 pm »
VERM X is a natural product with no need to avoid eating the end product. I have tried it and am still uncertain as to how much each hen gets dosage wise. some people use similar herbal treatments such as garlic, shredded carrot and cider apple vinegar, which is supposed to make the gut un friendly to parasites.
(can't do much harm any way).

chicken licken

  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2008, 05:25:38 pm »
I found this question & replies helpful - thanks.  I'm a total beginner, and live in Greece where getting info from the locals isn't always easy with my limited Greek & their dialect, as well as some pronounced differences in attitudes to animals.  So I'm trying to glean what I can on the web.  Trouble is that I don't know what "layers pellets" might be called here, or what they look like.  But I'll find a way, I'm sure.

No.1 embarrassing question: does the "layers" in "layers pellets" mean "hens who are laying eggs"?  Please don't laugh - I thought it had something to do with the food being layered!  You can see what you're dealing with, can't you?  Poor chickens!

I'd also like to ask what vegetable leftovers can be given to them, & in what state.  I've got the impression that most of you COOK stuff like potato peelings.  We're inundated with broad beans now but I've been told the pods aren't any good for the chickens.  I'm completely confused about what veg they can't eat AT ALL, and what should only be given to them if COOKED.  Ours have a good space to roam in freely and are producing an egg each so I shouldn't worry, perhaps, but would really like to know.  Any help appreciated!


  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2008, 12:05:56 am »
hi chicken licken im a newbie here but have been keeping a few hens for eggs in my backgarden for a few years.
i wasnt sure at first what veg or fruit i could give them and my first 2 hens use to turn down raw potato peelings but loved any cooked peelings which i used to make stock. my new girls are not so fussy and will eat cooked or uncooked peelings with garlic and ginger chopped up with it along with layers pellets and a treat of corn later in the afternoon. i also give them oyster shell for calcium in their diet (for the egg shells) and any fresh greens like lettuce, cabbage,kale which i put in an old hanging basket and this keeps them occupied. the hens have a 6ft by 6ft run to scratch around in and im hoping to finish making the bottom part of my garden safer as neighbours dogs keep getting thru the hedge (funds permitting) then they can roam about abit more though need to protect the veggie plot from them!
they love leftovers like mashed swede or potatoes, dandelions,young nettles,toms,leeks and onions and grass but seem to leave anything poisonous like foxgloves which OH accidentally tried to give them once thinking it was borage! they also like melon,apples.pears strawberries and blackcurrents but dislike citrus fruits. i dont give them any meat leftovers but when i come across any slugs or snails they have them (spoilt chooks!)
hope this helps :)
 :chook: i also give them cooked egg shells to boost calcium in their diet (i was advised by another hen keeper this was ok but if it isnt can someone let me know!)

chicken licken

  • Joined Mar 2008
Re: what do you feed your chickens?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2008, 06:46:27 pm »
Been away for a few days so have only just seen your response, tankgirl.  Thanks so much - it's a great help. 
We're still getting a large egg from each hen every day, and they appear very healthy.  I'm presuming they find grit in the soil as they scratch around, as we haven't given them any. 

Is it right that fresh veg should be chopped into smallish pieces rather than thrown in whole (eg broad bean, leek etc).  I've also had conflicting advice about garlic/onions flavouring the eggs!


chicken feed what do you feed your chickens?

Started by calamityjane

Replies: 9
Views: 3345
Last post August 23, 2011, 08:11:57 pm
by manian
How much to feed chickens?

Started by The Relic

Replies: 9
Views: 3709
Last post April 12, 2009, 09:30:09 pm
by MiriMaran
is it ever OK to feed chickens dog or cat food?

Started by Perris

Replies: 12
Views: 1459
Last post February 06, 2018, 04:20:26 pm
by sabrina
chickens eating goat feed

Started by DavidandCollette

Replies: 9
Views: 3958
Last post January 12, 2016, 06:01:15 pm
by landroverroy
Feeding quail feed to chickens as treat?

Started by gogogarden

Replies: 3
Views: 1070
Last post February 16, 2015, 12:14:56 pm
by Clansman

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2020. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS