Whether you’re just getting started in learning the ropes or if you’ve been in the business of raising chickens for a while, it’s important to always choose the best chicken feed to ensure the health of your chickens.
However, finding the best feed takes a lot of research as well as good knowledge of what ingredients are good for boosting the health of your chickens. In an effort to help you create fulfilling mealtimes for a consistent nutritional source that your chickens can depend on, we have researched and reviewed 10 of the best feed options that are available today.
We have also included a handy buying guide as well as an FAQ section to help you determine all the important factors that you need to consider before making a choice that is right for you and your chickens. So without further ado, here are the top 10 products on the market.
Best Chicken Feed Review:
1. Naturally Free Organic Feed
This organic layer feed is soy free and corn free. It’s also non-GMO project verified. Made using organic whole grains, Naturally Free organic layer chicken feed contains at least 16% protein and is specifically formulated to give your flock a perfectly balanced and nutritious diet.
It contains calcium to help ensure that your hens produce sturdy eggshells, which means that it should only be fed to those hens that are laying as well as those that will lay in the very near future. This is one of the healthiest natural products that you can get for your laying hens these days.
Grown through sustainable farming in the Pacific NW, this product’s manufacturer is dedicated to buying only from farmers they know to support local agriculture.
If you are searching for the best organic chicken feed for birds over 20 weeks of age, this could very well be the ideal option for your hens. It can be fed to chickens, ducks, and geese – it’s suitable and ideal for all waterfowl. The feed has an extensive shelf life and it also comes in minimal packaging which helps to ensure a smaller carbon footprint.
- Soy free and corn free feed that comes at an affordable price
- Complete feed for chickens, ducks, geese, and various other waterfowl
- USDA certified organic, non-GMO project verified
- Unprocessed whole grain for optimal nutrition
- Grown through sustainable farming
2. Prairie’s Choice Grower Feed
When given a choice, a lot of chicken keepers choose non-GMO feed because it’s more nutrient dense and is, therefore, easier for the chickens to digest. In addition to being balanced, safe, and nutritious, this feed is made from soybean meal that is not chemically processed.
This means that if you are interested in providing your chickens with the best feed to ensure their optimal health and strength, this could be the ideal choice for you. Purchasing this product will help you ensure that your flock is happy and well fed. Grown and packaged right here in the US, Prairie’s Choice backyard chicken feed is the total package when it comes to the health and nutrition of growing chickens.
This high-quality product is undoubtedly the best poultry feed that you’ll get for the money, and very few other chicken feed products on the markets provide quite the same amount of value. Of all the popular chicken feed brands, this is one of the firm favorites of a lot of backyard chicken keepers.
Ingredients include protein, fiber, calcium, fat, phosphorus, and salt. This feed also contains added nutrients such as vitamins, folic acid, and so on. It comes in convenient 25-pound bags.
- Contains a great mix of vitamins that chickens need
- Non-GM all, none chemically processed
- Grown and packaged in the US
- Total nutrition offers everything for healthy growing chickens
- High-quality, nutritious feed from a well-known brand
3. Kaytee Chicken Supplements
This chicken feed supplement provides backyard chickens with the types of nutrients that aren’t available in traditional scratch. It contains a lot of valuable supplements such as calcium which helps to ensure strong bones as well as strong egg shells. It also has omega-3 fatty acids which are great for nutrition, and probiotics which help to support the chicken’s digestive health.
Kaytee Chicken Supplements provide the ultimate in nutrition with every bite. If you are concerned about your chickens getting all the vitamins and nutrients that they need, then this is a great supplement to add to their diet of the best chicken feed.
In addition to helping prevent diseases caused by poor nutrition, adding a high-quality supplement like this one to their diet will help reduce the danger of poultry stress which leads to health problems and can even cause the death of your chickens.
A nutrient-rich diet also helps to prevent your flock from becoming undernourished and susceptible to issues such as weight loss, immune suppression, low egg production, loss of feathers, and various other conditions.
- Contains calcium for stronger bones and eggs
- Omega-3 fatty acids enhance hen’s nutrition
- Probiotics help to support digestive health
- Offers maximum nutrition with every bite
- Very affordably priced chicken supplements
4. Manna Pro Crumble Feed
This chicken feed contains everything that your baby chicks need to survive and thrive. It comes in crumble form for easy intake which makes your job of feeding the young chickens as easy as it can be. Suitable for chicks between zero and 16 weeks, this crumble comes fortified with all the necessary vitamins and minerals that they need to grow.
This medicated chick starter is designed to enhance their development of immunity to coccidiosis, a disease that is one of the leading causes of death when it comes to young chickens. At this stage of their lives, your little chicks’ survival depends mostly on prevention. This chicken feed is also extremely high in protein and calcium to ensure the strong growth of your little chickens.
It provides them with everything they need to gain weight, develop muscle, and grow feathers. If you are searching for the best chick starter feed, this is the product you definitely need to consider. In addition to being medicated to help prevent diseases in young chicks, it also increases their rate of weight gain while improving feed efficiency for replacement chickens.
- Medicated complete crumble ideal for chicks between zero and eight weeks
- Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for healthy growth
- Designed for the development of immunity to coccidiosis
- Contains 18% protein for fast muscle development and weight gain
- Comes in convenient 5-pound bags
5. Nutrena Country Feeds Layer Pellets
This layer pellet feed is available in 50-pound bags and offers complete nutrition to cater to all the needs of laying hens. With 16% protein as well as fortified vitamins and minerals for the promotion of health and egg production in your hens, this is a complete layer feed that requires no supplementation.
For anyone looking for a feed that has the proper balance of vitamins, minerals, and protein that hens require to stay healthy and strong as well as to produce high-quality eggs, these could very well be the best chicken feed for layers that you will find anywhere on the market these days.
According to the tons of reviews online from satisfied customers, this product offers amazing value at a great price. Your chickens are going to absolutely love this scratch, and you’ll soon find that they start to produce even yummier, more delicious eggs on a consistent basis.
- Offers complete nutrition needed by laying hens
- Contains 16% protein for healthier muscle and bone development
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals to promote egg production
- Complete layer feed that requires no additional supplements
- The 50-pound package offers the best value for money
6. Small Pet Layer Feed
This locally sourced chicken layer feed offers the premium option for ensuring the optimal health of your birds. You have the peace of mind of knowing that you are getting the best value for your money, or your money back thanks to their 100% satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.
All the ingredients used in this product are from the Pacific Northwest and they are totally soy and corn free, as well as non-GMO. This feed contains a healthy nutritious mix of everything that your flock needs. It combines high protein pellets with grains and seeds together with a light coating of omega-3 oil from vegetables.
This feed formula ensures the best combination to provide all the essential nutrients in a protein meal that is not only healthy but tasty too. Always store this feed in a cool dry place to keep the packet closed when starting use. Ingredients include peas, wheat, millet, oats, triticale, and sunflower seeds, among many others. If you are looking for the best feed for laying hens, be sure to check this one out.
- Contains all-natural ingredients sourced from the Pacific NW
- Soy-free, corn free, and non-GMO
- Contains high protein levels, omega-3 oils, herbs, and seeds
- Comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Available in convenient, affordable 25-pound bags
7. Brown’s Layer Booster Feed
This chicken feed is nutrient dense thanks to its use of natural plant proteins as well as the freshest, most wholesome sun-ripened grains. You can be sure that your birds are absolutely going to love eating this meal.
In addition to using only high-quality ingredients, Brown’s brand ensures that the formula of this feed has everything that hens need to grow strong healthy and produce strong shelled eggs that have rich yellow yolks.
With 16% protein content, this high calcium formula is ideal for top producing laying hens that are 18 weeks or older. It’s free of animal proteins and fats, containing only natural plant protein. The mix is also fortified with vitamins and minerals including calcium for optimal egg production.
This is among the best chicken feed for egg layers available anywhere for the price. Feedback from various chicken keepers shows that Brown’s natural feed is one of the most popular types of feed on the market right now – and with good reason. It’s been shown that the majority of hens produce more eggs on average when on this feed. For anyone looking to optimize their egg production, this is a great feed to consider.
- Contains 16% protein for optimal growth and strength
- Comes with high calcium content to ensure strong bones and eggshells
- Made from natural plant protein with no animal proteins or fats
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals for optimal egg production
- Very affordably priced in a convenient 20-pound package
8. Manna Pro Oyster Shell
This is a must-have whether you’re tending to a backyard flock or if your breeding show birds. Oyster shell is recommended for laying hens because it is a great source of calcium to help them produce strong eggshells. This oyster shell is also heat treated to ensure its purity, and it’s available in 5-pound and 50-pound bags for your convenience.
You can feed this oyster shell to either layers free choice in separate feeders or you can add a pound of oyster shell to 20 pounds of layer feed. You can feed it to pullets (young hens that are less than a year old) beginning at 18 weeks of age, continuing right through their entire lay period.
This is undoubtedly one of the best chicken feed supplements you’ll find and a great source of calcium that will ensure strong eggshells from your laying birds. However, it’s vital to always make sure that you avoid offering any feed that is moldy, spoiled, insect or rodents infested, or just abnormal in appearance, odor, or color is this may result in illness or death of your chickens.
- Great source of calcium for strong eggshells
- Pellet-sized for easy consumption
- Heat treated to ensure purity
- Recommended for all laying hens
- Available in 5-pound and 50-pound bags
9. Manna Pro Starter Crumble
This non-medicated starter feed is ideal for young chicks and contains everything that they need to thrive. The crumble form makes intake and feeding extremely easy and is fortified with every vitamin and mineral that your baby chicks must have to become healthy and thrive.
Because it’s non-medicated and contains no antibiotics, this chick starter is perfect for mixed flocks and can be safely fed to small chicks, ducklings, goslings, among other birds. With 18% protein mixed into this nutritious meal, you can rest assured that your chicks have everything they need for optimal weight gain as well as enhanced muscle development.
If you have any young birds that need proper care to grow into healthy adults, then this is undoubtedly the best chick starter feed that you can provide them with. It will ensure that they have all the protein, vitamins, and minerals that young birds need to grow healthy and strong, all without medications.
- The formula is ideal for mixed flocks
- Contains 18% protein for enhanced weight gain and muscle development
- Fortified with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for healthy growth
- Contains no added medications or antibiotics
- Ideal starter kit for chicks between zero and eight weeks old
10. Amazingly Tasty Organic Feed
This organic feed for layers and show birds is ideal for use just before the onset of laying and throughout their entire life. It has a unique formulation which includes loose grains that are non-GMO as well as tasty protein pellets that your chickens will really enjoy.
Amazingly Tasty feed is made by the manufacturer every other week, which means that it’s always fresh as opposed to warehoused feeds that might be sitting on the shelves for years before they are sold. Organic vitamins and minerals are included to ensure that your chickens are able to maximize their absorption in order to provide you with healthy, tasty eggs.
The fixed feed formula maximizes gut health as well as feed conversion and efficiency, all the while offering a wide variety of ingredients that ensure high quality, delicious eggs, and healthy chickens. With 19% protein content and oyster shells to create a complete feed ration, this is certainly one of the best chicken feed for layers you could get for your flock.
In addition to all the great ingredients, it also contains roasted milo which looks a little like popcorn, but it’s not! This helps to allow maximum nutrition absorption, which is a lot more than what is available in unroasted milo.
- Soy-free, corn free, and non-GMO grains
- Made from plant and animal proteins
- Includes organic Fertrell Nutri-balancer for easy absorption
- Freshly milled products are never warehoused
- Contains roasted milo for greater nutritional value
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Select Chicken Feed
When it comes to choosing the correct feed for your chickens, they are quite a lot of things to consider. As their caregiver, it’s very easy to notice if you’re not giving your chickens the right feeds because they simply won’t be thriving as well as they should. But, careful consideration of the factors listed below will help you avoid such a situation so you have healthy, happy chickens from day one.
The main consideration when choosing the best chicken feed for egg layers is to ensure that it includes all the necessary nutrients that your chicken needs depending on what stage of their growth there at. Each stage of the chicken’s growth requires a different type of feed, and you will need to have complete knowledge and understanding of the various stages if you are to succeed in raising healthy chickens.
Stage of Chicken’s Growth
Starter Chicken Feed –
Baby chickens have a dietary requirement that is obviously very different from full grown chickens. Their diet needs to be dense in proteins (about 20-24%) which means that this should be your main consideration if you’re buying feed for baby chicks.
Grower Chicken Feed –
This feed is ideal for teenage chooks whose diet requirements are very different from those of baby chickens. At this stage of their lives, the chickens don’t need as much protein (about 16-18%) in the grower feed, and you also need to ensure that the feed doesn’t have unnecessarily minerals or vitamins to bombard the chooks.
Layer Chicken Feed –
For full grown chickens, you will need the type of feed that has the perfect balance of nutrients, including calcium, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. The protein level in layer feed is identical to that of grower feed, but it contains more calcium.
Type of Feed
This type of feed contains a chemical compound known as amprolium and is common among starters and helps to prevent fowl diseases such as coccidiosis in your flock.
Fermented feed is the best way of providing vitamins and enzymes that your chickens need to improve their digestion and neutralize toxins. Fermented feed also leaves your chickens feeling full for longer which means they won’t demand food all the time, effectively cutting down your feeding expenses as well as fewer droppings to clean up.
As previously mentioned, chickens require the right types of nutrients if you want to keep them healthy and productive. Some important considerations in this regard are the age and the other chickens that you have in your flock aside from the egg layers.
As with most other animals, chickens need carbs, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. So make sure that the feed you choose has a good combination of all these essential things. Some feeds come with coarsely broken oyster shells which provide extra calcium needed for chickens to produce eggs with stronger shells.
There are some people who prefer their chicken feed to be either organic, soy free, and corn free. This type of feed does exist, but it’s important to note that it’s not only difficult to find, but it’s also going to cost you significantly more than you would pay for regular chicken feed.
You may also come across labels stating that the chicken feed is vegetarian. This simply means that they aren’t any animal products in the feed, but keep in mind that chickens are omnivores. They will eat virtually anything!
Chickens have to eat several times a day. Before choosing the right brand or type of chicken feed for your needs, make sure that you will be able to afford the one you decide to go with. Chickens can be quite picky and if you switch the brand midway, it might affect their rate of growth. Fortunately, there are a lot of brands which offer a variety of high-quality, affordable chicken feeds to suit all budgets.
Different Types of Chicken Feed
For first-timers, making sense of the various types of chicken feed is often confusing and overwhelming. Even chicken keepers who are semi-experienced often find it a hassle to try and sift through all the jargon on the chicken feed menu. In this section, will try and help you to make sense of the different types of chicken feed available on the market today.
You are already familiar with the starter chicken feed, grower chicken feed, and layer chicken feed as well as medicated/unmedicated, and fermented feed.
Next, we have:
Mash – This is a loose and processed chicken feed version with a texture similar to potting soil.
Crumble – This is a course type of mash but it’s not as compact as pellets, and it has the texture of oatmeal.
Pellets – This variety of feed is among the most commonly available and comes in the shape of legal compact cylinders which have the benefit of not going to waste if the chickens accidentally knock the feeder over.
Shell Grit – This is the rich source of calcium source to help chickens lay eggs with strong, sturdy shells.
Chicken Scratch – This is unlike chicken feed, but more of a ‘treat’ for your flock made from cracked corn and various other grains that chickens love.
An important note when feeding chicks:
Baby chicks depend on you to ensure they are properly fed, particularly within the first few days of life. Make sure their feed is finely ground and contains no more than 18% of protein. The specialized baby chick feed needs to be administered for between 14 to 18 weeks prior to shifting them over to adult chicken food.
Also, make sure you don’t feed them any additives or products that promise to speed up or promote their growth. Such products are almost always used when growing meat birds, but the resulting spurt in muscle growth isn’t good for them.
FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions About Chicken Feed:
Q: What is the best source of protein for chickens?
A: As you well know, chickens will eat absolutely anything. This means that you don’t have to worry about searching high and low to find the best source of protein for your chickens. In addition to ensuring that you buy feed that has the necessary amount of protein, there are also other creative protein sources that you can use to save money on chicken feed, including mealworms, earthworms, fish guts, animal meats, and offal (organ meats).
Q: What is the best feed for chickens?
A: The best chicken feed depends on the types of chicken you have as well as their age, among other factors. You’ll have to choose the right feed for your chickens depending on whether you’re raising them for eggs or meat, as well as whether they are baby chickens, teenage chooks, or full-grown hens. Take a look at our buying guide to determine which is the best type of chicken feed for the flock you have.
Q: How much should chickens eat a day?
A: Chickens need to eat a few times that day. Typically, a normal sized hen will eat about a 1/4 to 1/3-pound of pellets each day. You can also give scratch feed, table scraps, vegetables, etc. in addition to the feed. Your chickens will also need constant access to chicken grit, which is essentially small rocks that are stored in the gizzard to help grind up food.
It’s also important to realize that while this is a valid question, depending on where you are getting your information, the answer will differ. For instance, if you were to ask a commercial egg producer or the manager of a meat bird facility how much they feed the chickens, they would probably be able to give you an answer that is precise to the exact gram of feed that each chicken is given every day.
However, if you have a small backyard flock, the answer to that question starts to get a little muddy as many factors impact the amount of feed your chickens need every day.
Q: How many times a day should I feed my chickens?
A: As a general rule, chickens will eat when they need to. They are fantastic foragers naturally, and if they’re free range chickens, they’ll love foraging for insects as well as greenery. But, if you want to keep your flock healthy so they lay lots of eggs and provide high-quality meat for you, you will need to give them extra food of the right type.
Make sure that the chickens have a supply of food that is constant throughout the day. At the time of going to bed, they should have a full crop because they need a lot of food to produce eggs. So this means you should be checking the feeders to ensure that they are topped up every day.
Also, make sure that you have separates feeders – one within the chicken coop run and the other outside the run (for free-range chickens). This helps to stop dominant chickens from preventing the less dominant ones from getting their fair share of food.
Q: Can you overfeed chickens?
A: If you are wondering if it’s possible to overfeed chickens, the answer is yes. Too much food and the needed nutrients won’t benefit your flock and in fact, it might actually have a detrimental effect. Most people love spoiling their chickens with homemade treats and kitchen scraps, but it might be doing them more harm than good.
Overfeeding chickens can lead to health issues such as obesity. In addition to that, some foods that humans eat, like avocados are actually poisonous to fowls and can do lots of damage.
When feeding your chickens, as long as you ensure that you tailor their diets for the needs of each specific stage of their lives, then you will ensure the optimal health. Being omnivores, they require balanced nutrition in order to keep them strong. In addition to having the right diet, you also may need to ensure that you find the proper supplements for your chickens.
So if you want to ensure that your flock is the healthiest and most productive it can be, simply follow all the tips and advice in this article to help you pick the best chicken feed for your flock. Once you’re sure which is the right type of feed for them, use our review list to help you choose from the top brands on the market.