Chickens are omnivores that can eat nearly everything in sight. They’ll munch on plants, insects, veggies, fruits, and even your kitchen scraps. Chickens on a farm may sustain themselves on the spilled feed from other animals. They’ll even snack on fly larvae.

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two chickens with a small chick eating food on ground

What Do They Need?

small chicks on hay eating

Chickens require water, carbs, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins, just like us. When it comes to nutrition, start with clean water that is readily available.  Water can not only help with digestion, but also with temperature control.

There are automatic watering options available and different sizes of poultry founts (waterers).  The bigger the fount the less times you have to fill it up each week.  A large 5 gallon fount with 4 chickens will last a long time, verse 20 chickens may need it filled every couple days.  Regardless of fount size and type, check water every day to be sure it’s clean and available.

Chickens’ nutrition varies based on their stage of growth. During the first 18 weeks, you should consider feeding your chicken starter-grower feed. When your layer chickens are over 18 weeks old, you should consider a layer feed more suited for adult health and egg quality.

Starter-grower feed is typically high in protein, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and prebiotics to keep the little guys growing and healthy.

Layer feed usually has the same protein levels as grower feed but has more calcium to ensure your hens produce hard-shelled eggs.

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