Helping to support Chicken Encyclopedia

Join the Banner Rotation




Quality Health, Quality Performance 

So many foods and everyone has there own idea...Hopefully this will help you figure out when and if your chickens get each of these items.

Feed is very basic in the beginning, Starter Mash for everyone...





the question is Medicated or Non-medicated:

Medicated Chick Starter has a mild Coccidistat, and that's all. It supplies complete nutrition for growing chicks.  Some things are very beneficial. There are some supplements on the market that may improve growth and health, kind of like vitamins humans take, makes the poultry feel better, become more fertile, lay better and more often...the list goes on, but you have to discover what is right for you..
You can feed Pullets the Starter/Grower Mash right up until they are 18 weeks old, alternately once they are feathered out you can feed them a maintenance feed until they are 18 weeks old.
Once Pullets reach 18 weeks old you need to put them on a Laying (mash or pellets) feed.  
Keep in mind once you start feeding them scratch or cracked corn you also need to add a supply of grit for digestion. As you have guessed chickens do not have teeth, without getting to technical, the grit is stored in the chickens gizzard and as the food they eat passes through the gizzard it is ground up.
A good way to check out the gizzard is after you have given you new chickens grit pick one of them up the next day and feel the base of her neck, you should feel a lumpy pocket that is the gizzard.
Greens is another favorite, you may notice if you let your chickens free range, they will keep the weeds down.. and everything else growing in you garden and yard.

The things chickens should NEVER get: 

Large amounts of salt, raw potato peels, chocolate and the biggest NO NO of all, do not ever feed beans of any kind to a chicken ( they can't expel the gas and it will get ugly so please do not try it) 


Table scraps may or may not be good for them, but they sure do love them!


Winter extras that we use: 

Bread is a great additive it adds a bit of fat for warmth

Cat food is another extra for the protein but only in the winter.

Did You Know?
Ripe Bananas, Apples, grass, and other green vegetables (mine love collards) make good treats for poultry.


Note: Adequate storage is needed for the feed to keep it dry -- a large galvanized can or a Rubbermaid tub is ideal. 

Return To Top

More stuff: from the University of AZ

Poultry are sensitive to abrupt diet changes. When necessary, changes should be made gradually. Start by mixing small amounts of the "new" food with larger portions of the "old" food and gradually, day by day, increase the portion of the new food while decreasing the portion of the old food.

All feed must be stored in cans or bins which have tight fitting lids to prevent contamination by insects or other vermin!

Poultry must have continuous access to clean drinking water. Any method of delivery using levers or valves will require time for the birds to learn to use it. During this time of adjustment, you MUST supply water pans until all birds know the new water delivery system!

Return To Top


Feeding Chart

Type of Food                                      Age to Start
Start & Grow Crumbles Non-Medicated             0-4 weeks
Start & Grow Crumbles Medicated                      0-4 weeks
Meat Builder/Finishing Mash                               Roosters only from hatch to maturity
Layer Crumbles/Pellets                                       Hens Only 18 weeks and older
Oyster Shell                                                            Hens Only 18 weeks and older
Whole/Cracked Corn                                             I usually start around 6-8 weeks
Scratch                                                                      I usually start around 6-8 weeks
Grit                                                                            As soon as you start feeding grains
Note:...If you use Layena (Purina laying mash/pellets) or ManaPro Laying Feed you do not need to feed Oyster shell.
Return To Top

Types of Feed


Feed comes in 3 forms: mash, crumbles and pellets

If chickens are being fed whole grains such as Scratch Grains or if they are outside on the range, then grit should be fed to aid in grinding up feed in their crop. In this situation, grit should be fed at 1 pound per 100 chickens twice per week. It can be fed free choice or mixed with the regular feed.

**Keep in mind Oyster shell is NOT Grit

Oyster shell is sometimes fed to chickens because it is an excellent source of calcium. Purina complete feeds which include Start & Grow , Layena® or Meat Builder®  are formulated to meet calcium requirements so supplemental oyster shell is usually unnecessary. However, for older hens in hot weather, particularly those laying larger eggs, extra calcium may be beneficial. In this instance, a small amount of oyster shell can be fed at 1 pound per 100 hens daily. Over-supplementing with oyster shell should be avoided since too much calcium in the diet can lead to the same symptoms as a calcium deficiency and include weak or soft shells and reduced egg production.


Return To Top



It is felt that kelp meal is so valuable that you can start feeding it as soon as the baby chicks arrive and keep up the ration right through to slaughtering time. Kelp is a complex natural product high in vitamins and minerals. Its most valuable attribute is its richness in trace elements-organic minerals that are both safe and potent. One characteristic of kelp as an animal feed, is The fact that kelp modifies the intestinal flora or bacteria of livestock may be the chief cause for the great results.

When used as a feed additive, kelp increases production and improves performance. It strengthens appetite and enhances digestion. It promotes healthy plumage, and helps to regulate heat cycles, increases the number and durability of sperm. improves conception rates, and increases the percentage of normal healthy births. In general, kelp improves the overall health of the birds. After adding kelp to poultry feed you can expect brighter plumage, increased weight gain and enhanced general alertness. There will be a marked increase in iodine content in eggs. The yolks will be a deeper color, with better pigmentation, improved hatchability, reduction of blood spots, reduced incidence of coccidiosis, less egg breakage and stronger shells. Your poultry will display better feed conversion and improved overall health, with fewer diseases.

As a chicken feed supplement, add kelp meal at a rate of 1 to 2 % of total grain rations. Feed at the higher rate when your stock is under stress, due to travel, disease, weather, reproduction or weaning.

Claims about Kelp :

Poultry - Layers and Breeders

Poultry - Broilers   

Return To Top


According to Fertrell's Poultry Program which is wonderful for your birds


A specialy processed as a nutritional suplement. It has shown significant improvement in health and performance.


A pre-digested form of CALCIUM, derived from seashell flour, it helps build stronger bones and egg shells

Crab Meal:

An inexpensive source of protein for livestock ad poultry. Essential for amino acid balancing


You will find Broiler production increases and average of 5-10%. Significant reduction of leg development problems. Layers hold production peaks longer and overall health is improved! We believe in this product and use it regularly!

Nutri-Balancer contains:

Kelp Meal for naturally chelated vitamins and trace nutrients.
Phosphorus for proper development. Amino Acids to enhance
protein structuring. B Vitamin Complex to support health and
relieve stress. Trace Minerals to ensure a compete nutritional supplement.


Return To Top

 Back to Home Page

The Chicken Encyclopedia™

Hosting by WebRing.