What Type of Chicken Feed is Best?

Setting out on the adventure of raising poultry can be daunting, and choosing a suitable feed may prove challenging. Nutrition plays an essential part in raising healthy birds. Ensure your flock consumes high-quality feed for maximum benefit from their food sources.

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Hens require a balanced feed with protein, calcium, phosphorus, lysine and omega 3 fatty acids to produce nutritious eggs and ensure healthy bone development. Avoid offering treats or snacks which detract from their daily nutrition.



Pellets are small, hard cylinder-shaped biscuits designed for convenient storage and less messiness than crumble or mash feed. Chickens tend to consume both types of feed; their preferences will likely depend on individual animals.

The optimal feed for chickens should be non-GMO and tailored specifically to the needs of your flock. It contains grains, seeds and other natural ingredients designed to meet these requirements as well as essential vitamins and minerals that support strong egg shells – perfect for laying hens!

This feed is free from corn, soy and chemical fertilizers and pesticides. With its high protein content to promote healthy chickens and its abundance of linseed oil and kelp as sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In addition, prebiotics and probiotics support gut health for optimal chicken wellbeing.


Chicken owners may become overwhelmed by all of the various feed options and descriptions – from mash to grower and pellets, whether medicated or unmedicated – used to describe them. Making sense of it all may be intimidating for new and semi-experienced keepers alike.

Mash is a soft, soil-like food popular with baby chicks. When combined with hot water it makes an easy porridge that will keep your flock happy and full in winter months. Mash can also be fed to fully grown chickens as its digestibility makes it simple for them to pick up should their feeder be knocked over!

Crumble feed is a finely ground version of mash designed for easy consumption by chickens, making it simpler for them to pick up and swallow it. Some claim it to be more nutritious than pellets since its grains remain in their natural state without having been altered through steam and pressure pelleting processes.


Chicken scratch is an enjoyable way to add variety to the diet of your flock. Constructed of cracked corn and other grains that chickens adore munching up, this nutritious treat should only be fed occasionally as its lack of essential proteins, calcium, and vitamins found in standard feed is insufficient to meet their dietary requirements.

While developing and laying eggs, chickens require a diet high in proteins for peak performance. Broiler feed will supply your birds with all of the essential proteins for quick growth while chick starter blend offers all of the nutrition required during their early years of life.

Pellets, mash and crumble feeds have been carefully designed to supply poultry with the optimal ratio of vitamins and minerals. You should also provide shell grit to aid their digestion of their food more easily. Get help finding a feed suitable to their individual needs from one of our Co-op livestock experts.

Shell Grit

Grit is a type of limestone or granite gravel used to aid chicken’s digestive systems in breaking down food, while simultaneously increasing calcium levels which is crucial for maintaining healthy birds and strong egg shells.

Wild and free-range chickens often find enough grit for themselves, while those raised in coops fed only commercial feed require added grit to digest its larger particles. Shell grit can help your flock digest this mix more easily; adding shell grit is highly recommended.

Shell grit can be purchased online or from feed stores, but making your own can be just as easy. Simply bake some crushed and dry egg shells (made largely of calcium) in the oven before stirring into your bucket or container of choice. Always offer “free choice” so your chickens can consume it when needed to reduce overfeeding or deficiency as well as prevent “egg binding”, where an egg becomes stuck inside their digestive tracts and requires antibiotic treatment to resolve.