A lot of times people when they go to first get their chicks, they wonder, Well, what do you even feed them?
In this article, I’ll walk you through what to feed chickens in your backyard.
Now a little background, we actually have a chicken…sort of, she has kept coming to our yard for about six months now. And we just assumed it was somebody else’s chicken who would come and visit us.
We’ve since learned that the people that had the chicken have left and they left all of their chickens behind.
Now she’s our adopted chicken and we’re learning so much about them. So with all of that we of course did all the research for what do you even feed a chicken.
They can do quite a bit on their own because there are several things that they’ll eat right in the yard:
- Weeds and weed seeds
In fact, we’ll watch her going through our mulch, and all throughout our backyard.
And she’s just feeding away on any items there, including worms, grub worms and things like that she can find.
Now on top of that, we went ahead once we found out that it’s possible that she was left behind, we started to buy items and I’ll show you what we feed her now. But basically any kind of commercial feed that you can get at a feed and seed store will work well for them.
We got ours at our local Rural King, but any feed and store will have commercial feed for your hens.
And depending on whether you’re raising chickens for their eggs or not, you’ll want to get a variety that’s specific for that.
For instance, the one that we have is for handling and that’s simply because we did find out that she started to lay eggs
Some other items that you can feed them are from your kitchen.
For instance, any kind of vegetable peels that after you’ve cooked or after you’ve prepared dinner, you can feed them a lot of that they enjoy:
- pumpkins and pumpkin seeds
They absolutely love pumpkins and pumpkin seeds. You can feed them that in the fall. And the same with broccoli, they will eat broccoli all day long.
You can also make some porridge for in the winter months. And that was usually because they don’t have all the other weeds and things like that that they can feed off of. So you might want to save that for the winter months.
And then sometimes you can feed them so yogurt.
Some mealy worms along with the commercial feed that we have, we also got her a bag of worms and that’s just for an occasional use that you can do.
What to Avoid Feeding Your Chickens
Now, you can’t talk about what to feed them without also talking about things to avoid feeding your hands. So the items that you want to make sure that you avoid feeding them are things like garlic, onions, any kind of uncooked tomatoes or potatoes.
There’s an item in there that once it’s not cooked, there’s a toxicity for them any kind of uncooked grains or beans. It’s also something that they can’t process. If you cook it, that’s fine. They’re fine with eating that but anything uncooked Don’t do that.
Don’t feed them any chocolates or sweets. There’s toxicity in that as well. And then some items like avocado pits and skin, they can’t process that skin and that’s toxic to them. You also want to not feed them any citrus fruit. Now a couple of these are toxic to them, but some of them like the citrus fruit That simply lowers their egg production, which if you’re trying to have hens for growing for getting eggs, then you definitely don’t want to feed them such as for that.
And then things like garlic, it’s more because of how the garlic will make your eggs taste. And then you also want to avoid any type of fatty or salty items in feeding your hands. And that’s simply also for production of eggs. And also, you know, just like we are not supposed to eat a whole lot that is not good for them as well.
Now if you have them free ranging, you can put the feed out there but a lot of times people have coops and they have their chickens in a certain area.
If you have a chicken in a certain coop area, you will want to keep the feed that you give them in planters.
That simply keeps their food away from their feces or in their droppings, so that there’s not any kind of things that they might eat that’s not good for them like parasites.
If they’re eating a combination of their food with their droppings, so make sure you keep them in planters up.
Then once you’re done for the day for them eating, you also want to bring in the planters or remove the planters cover them unless simply to discourage or not allow any, like field mice or other rodents to come along at night.
We hope this article helped you with what to feed your chickens in your backyard. If you have furbabies, then you may also want to take a look at dog fence ideas if you don’t already have a backyard fence to put up.