What to feed your chickens

A natural and varied diet will help your chickens lead a long and healthy life, but it also keeps things interesting for them. Your chickens will thrive on a diet of layers pellets combined with mixed corn. They will need access to the food throughout the day, but take it away at night to discourage pests.

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Ex-commercial hens are fed a slightly different diet on their farms. If you rehome one directly from the farm, start them on a softer feed known as mash or crumb. You can then gradually wean them on to layers pellets and mixed corn. It’s also a good idea to feed them in a tray for the first few days, since they may not recognise a feeder.

If you notice any of your chickens are not eating, they can be fed ‘crumb’ soaked in water. Boiled potatoes will also help them put on weight.

Chickens’ favourite treats include carrots, corn on the cob, plain popcorn, strawberries, tomatoes, and grapes. Your chickens will love it if you lift a log and let them forage for bugs! Be aware that EU legislation states that it is illegal to feed your chickens kitchen scraps.

Provide your chickens with water in a suitable chicken drinker to prevent it from being knocked over and contaminated. Clean the drinker weekly and give them fresh water daily.

Collecting your chickens’ eggs

Wear gloves when collecting eggs from your chicken. If this is not possible, you should always wash your hands before and after collecting them.

Make sure you don’t wash the eggs – this is part of EU legislation. The eggs have a natural, protective layer on them which helps to keep out bacteria, and washing the eggs removes that.