Chicken Feed Rumors Debunked

No evidence points to altered chicken feed being the cause of backyard hen egg production losses; rather, farmers blame improper nutrition, parasites and stress as contributors.

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Tractor Supply sells two white-label brands produced by Purina Animal Nutrition (which is owned by Land O’Lakes), Producer’s Pride and Dumor. Both companies deny that any changes have taken place in formula.


Grower/Layer Feed

Establishing new flocks is both rewarding and daunting; building the coop and selecting appropriate feed can seem like an enormous task. Chickens have different dietary needs at various points in their lives, so stores stock starter, grower and layer feed in order to supply your flock with all the nutrition it requires for optimal health.

Chicks require high-protein starter feed (at 20-24% protein content) until six weeks old, when you can switch them over to grower food with increased levels of calcium and protein for rapid development up until they reach 20 weeks (around four and half months of age), when they should then switch over to layer food.

Some backyard chicken keepers are concerned that big box stores are selling low-quality feed that contains too little protein and other essential nutrients to support healthy egg laying. There have been reports that big store brands such as Producer’s Pride and Dumor have added Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) to their feed, which stops hens from laying eggs.

Starter Feed

Numerous reports state that their chicks stopped laying eggs after feeding TSC brand feed made by Purina (owned by Land O’Lakes). Rumors swirl about this feed containing Ribonucleic Acid, or RNA, that prevents them from laying. This speculation is completely baseless and the feed should be safe for consumption.

Check the guaranteed analysis of any feed you purchase to see its levels of protein and amino acids like DL-Methionine and L-Theanine; higher protein contents mean faster chick growth rates.

Also keep in mind that commercial egg shortages caused by avian flu are increasing egg prices at grocery stores due to supply and labor issues; not due to an altered feed formula. Experts indicate that improper nutrition, parasite infection and disease are likely more likely causes for reduced production than the feed itself.

Layer Booster

Facebook and TikTok were abuzz with claims that chicken feed companies were altering products to stop backyard hens from laying eggs, driving up prices. Poultry science experts promptly disproved this claim by noting various factors – improper nutrition, infection and stress can stop eggs being produced; additionally, commercial egg shortages have occurred due to avian influenza epidemic deaths affecting millions of birds globally.

Some individuals claim their hens stopped laying for several months after changing brands of feed or creating their own, yet big box manufacturers such as Land O’Lakes (parent company of Purina Animal Nutrition – one of the major feed providers named in these claims) has denied any formulation changes and instead stressed that regular laying requires being at a certain weight and having 14 hours of light daily.

Broiler Feed

People have made allegations that chicken feed sold by major box stores such as Tractor Supply and Land O’Lakes (which is owned by Purina), is laced with Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), which prevents hens from laying eggs – and that this conspiracy explains rising egg prices.

Agriculture experts and fact-checkers have disproved these claims. Although small poultry flocks have experienced some laying losses, there’s no evidence to support a claim that feed was to blame. Hens may experience sudden drops in egg production for various reasons – management mistakes, improper nutrition for birds, parasite infection, disease or stress may all play a part.

There is currently a commercial egg shortage that is unrelated to feed. Instead, this shortage is caused by an outbreak of avian flu that has decimated large portions of the national chicken population and several major feed suppliers were targeted in these claims; they haven’t altered their formulas and the national flock is slowly rebuilding itself.