What is the best food for chickens?

chicken food

Choosing the right feed for your chickens is essential for ensuring their health. Firstly, you need to consider the age of your chickens and what chicken food is appropriate for their life stage: 

Chick Starter Feed / Chick Crumb:

This should be given from day one up to around 6-8 weeks of age. It is high in protein (18-20%) to support rapid growth. Chick crumb is as it sounds, a crumble like texture to make it easy for small beaks to peck. At this stage, typical pellets would be too large for them to consume.  If your chicks are just eating chick crumb they will not need any grit at this stage as the feed is easy to digest. 

    Grower Feed:

    After the initial 6-8 weeks, you can transition to grower feed, which has slightly less protein (around 15-18%) but is still balanced for growing birds. This is usually fed until they are about 18 weeks old. Growers pellets tend to be slightly smaller than typical layers pellets. When your growers start foraging this is the time to introduce grit to help them break down grasses, seeds and herbage etc. It is important to offer only insoluble grit, sometimes called ‘chick grit’ as it is in small granules to suit their size. At this age they should not have mixed grit products as they do not need the extra calcium from oyster shell, and too much calcium could actually harm them. 

      Layer Feed:

      Once the chicks reach around 18-20 weeks of age and are close to laying age, you can transition them to layer feed. Layers feed has higher levels of minerals, including calcium for egg laying, and slightly less protein – usually 16 – 18%. Layers feed can be in the form of pellets, crumb or mash and the choice is your personal preference. Pellets tend to be less messy to feed, with less waste.  From 18 – 24 weeks your hens will be ‘point of lay’ and at this stage they will benefit from a mixed grit product such as Gastro Grit. Gastro Grit provides insoluble grit to aid digestion, along with oyster shells for calcium. There are also lots of other ingredients included to support the health of laying hens. 

        Providing the right feed at each stage of development is crucial for the health and well-being of your chickens. As your chicks transition from one stage to the next, make changes to to their diet gradually. As you move from chick crumb to growers pellets for example, allow about a week to gradually mix in the growers pellets to the chick crumb so they can adjust to their new feed. 

          Always ensure they have access to fresh water and feed appropriate for their age.