Category: Chicken feed

What kinds of table scraps are safe for chickens?

Food scraps for chickens

Did you know that grass and insects can make up about 20% of a chicken’s diet in the summer months? Unfortunately, cooped-up chickens don’t have access to that same scrumptious feast. But you can fill in the gaps with chicken scraps of nearly any sort.

Although some websites report that certain human foods are bad for chickens (notably dried beans, avocado stones and skins, green potatoes or tomatoes, and chocolate), I have my doubts that a non-starving chicken would even attempt to eat something hazardous. (Except possibly chocolate — but why are you throwing chocolate out?! Oh, and rotten meat — Harvey Ussery learned the hard way that dangling a corpse above the chicken coop in hopes maggots would drop in for free food wasn’t as clever as it seemed at first.)

The food scraps I actually consider hazardous in the chicken coop fit into an entirely different category. Anything high nutrient and tasty is likely to attract vermin (raccoons, opossums, rats) that will stick around and nibble on your eggs and/or flock. Specifically, I sincerely regretted giving fresh sweet-corn cobs to our flock because it jumpstarted a raccoon infestation that lingered for several months.

In the end, I recommend using your best judgement. If your flock has plenty of laying pellets around and the coop is tight enough to keep out critters, you might get away with tossing in anything at all.

Grazing chickens with cows

Chickens cleaning up spilled feed

What’s the recipe for ultra-low chicken feed costs? In the spring, at least, our neighbor’s flock barely wants to touch anything other than high-energy (and cheap) scratch feed because they have so much greenery and so many bugs to harvest out of the wild.

Feeding the cows

It doesn’t hurt that she also keeps cows, who sometimes spill a little feed, always have hay handy, and attract lots of worms to their patties. The goal is for the chickens to at least pay for themselves, and in the spring I’d say they definitely do.

Buying Chicken Feed Online

The traditional way to buy feed for your farm animals is to hop in the car and go to your nearest farm supply and pick up a bag. But with the convenience of online shopping nowadays, have you ever considered purchasing your feed online as well?

Here are a few points to think about to help decide if this is something you should try.

How much do you need? The bigger the bag the more shipping is likely to cost the company so you’re probably going to pay a little more. Many sites like Amazon offer free shipping on many products so this may not even be an issue depending on where you choose to purchase the feed. This 5lb Chick Starter is included in Amazon Prime and may be all you need at one time. Larger farms may however find the shipping on 50lb bags too much to swallow.

What kind of feed do you need? I have found that rabbit feed seems to be about the same price or even less online as when I buy it in the store. Chicken feed, however, always seems to cost a little more than I’m used to paying.

Is your current feed store too inconvenient? Buying feed while out and about may not be a major deal to you if you can just pop in while running other errands. However, if, like me, you have to go out of your way to buy feed, then online may be the way to go. Another advantage of buying online when you notice you are running low, you can just click a few times and be done with it instead of trying to remember to buy more feed on your next outing.

So if you can find the product you need within your budget, why not give it a shot and see if it makes your life on the farm a little easier?