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The 7 Best Chicken Feeds

Chickens as pets are simple to care for, full of personality, and they keep your yard free of slugs. Moreover, fresh eggs! Feeding your hens high-quality food is the first step in maintaining their health and happiness. "Most chicken feeds incorporate a variety of grains and seeds, as well as a protein source—often fishmeal—to provide a formula with 15 to 16 percent protein and around 3.5 percent calcium," explains Lisa Steele, a fifth-generation chicken keeper and founder of the popular website Fresh Eggs Daily. This gives the chickens with the nutrients they need to remain healthy and lay eggs with sturdy shells. Forms of chicken feed include whole/cracked grain, pellets, and crumbles. In addition to expert opinions, we assessed ingredients, sourcing quality, and manufacturer openness to identify the best chicken feed for the majority of birds. Scratch & Peck Organic Chicken Feeds are manufactured with USDA-certified organic, non-GMO, and sustainably sourced ingredients; they are our top pick. Here are BestForPets' (bestforpets.org) best chicken feeds for enthusiasts and caretakers.
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Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)


The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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Organic Scratch and Peck Chicken Feeds

Scratch and Peck Feeds Organic Layer Mash Chicken Feed

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What We Like

  • USDA-approved organic
  • Non-GMO Project provenance
  • Produced, sourced, and cultivated sustainably in North America
  • Without fillers

What We Don’t Like

  • Some food is lost due to dust.

Our preferred chicken feed offers balanced nutrition, high-quality ingredients, and comes from a reputable producer.

Scratch and Peck provides eleven varieties of organic chicken and duck feed in addition to a variety of poultry treats, vitamins, and kits. Their original Naturally Free Organic Layer Feed is ideal for the majority of poultry owners.

In addition to the organic grains, flax meal, and other vital vitamins contained in their organic feed, Scratch and Peck obtain their protein from black soldier fly larvae, sometimes known as grubs.

This protein-rich substance contains minerals, vital amino acids, and sufficient calcium to fortify eggshells. The combined formula includes 16 percent protein, a proportion suitable for egg-laying mature chickens (age 20+ weeks), particularly those requiring additional protein during molting.

Scratch & Peck maintains high levels of openness, including recognition as a B Corporation, which establishes stringent requirements for corporate responsibility, philanthropic giving, and supply chain transparency.

Even the protein grubs are developed in a sustainable manner, with the larvae fed on pre-consumer food waste that would otherwise be disposed of in a landfill. Each bag of feed prevents the disposal of pounds of pre-consumer food waste.

Scratching and Pecking Ducks, geese, and other waterfowl may also consume Organic Chicken Feed. It is available in 10-, 25-, and 50-pound shipments, and subscribers receive a 5 percent discount.

Manna Pro Organic Starter is Chicken Feed Crumbles.

Manna Pro Organic Starter Crumble Complete Feed

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What We Like

  • USDA-approved organic
  • Pesticide-, drug-, and genetically engineered substance-free.
  • Compatible with mixed poultry flocks

What We Don’t Like

  • Largest variety of fragments
  • Slightly more costly than conventional feeding.

Chicken beginning feed is formulated for day-old to eight-week-old chicks. Typically, it includes more protein than grower, layer, and broiler diets.

Manna Pro Organic Starter Crumbles Chicken Feed has 19 percent protein and is nutritionally complete, so it’s the only feed you’ll need for the first eight weeks of your hens’ life. Ensure that they have plenty amounts of clean, fresh water and that their feeding schedule is complete.

Manna Pro Organic Starter Crumbles contain organic maize, soybean meal, barley, wheat middlings, and soy oil as ingredients. In addition, it contains all important vitamin and mineral supplements, such as folic acid, niacin, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamins D3, A, E, and B12.

Manna Pro sells 5- and 30-pound bags of medicated and non-medicated versions of their starting crumble.

Small Pet Select Layer Chicken Feed

Small Pet Select Chicken Layer Feed

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What We Like

  • Non-GMO and devoid of maize and soy
  • Made in Washington, United States

What We Do Not Enjoy

  • Not biological

Layer feeds are formulated to give a nutritious, balanced diet that also yields excellent eggs. They typically include somewhat less protein than starter and growth meals, but contain more calcium for eggshell strength.

The ideal formulation of this feed contains 18 percent protein and 2.5 percent calcium. These pellets, grains, seeds, and herbs are delicately basted with a vegetable oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Small Pet Select Chicken Layer Feed is formulated to be nutrient-dense, eschewing fillers such as soy and maize. Peas are the principal component, followed by wheat, oats, millet, triticale, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, and fish meal as a source of protein. The producer takes pleasure in using ingredients acquired locally.

New Country Organics’ Traditional Layer Feed

New Country Organics Soy-Free Layer Classic Grind for Laying Hens

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What We Like

  • North American organic grains sourced
  • Soy-free
  • Probiotics for digestive health

New Country Organics ‘ best-selling product, Classic Grind Layer Feed mash, is now available as pellets, crumbles, and corn-free and wheat-free choices. It is prepared from organically certified grains and has an ideal 17 percent protein and 3.5 to 4.5 percent calcium.

The NCO Classic Grind Layer Feed is a cracked and milled grain enriched with organic kelp and alfalfa, with added calcium to strengthen eggshells. The omega-3 fatty acid content of eggs is increased by organic flaxseed.

Certified organic by the USDA-accredited certifier SCS Organic Services, New Country Organics places a premium on the use of freshly produced feed and cultivating ties with small organic farmers. Their online courses are an excellent resource for developing an organic plan for your own poultry.

Buyer's Guide

The Frequency and Quantity of Feeding

“Chickens must be fed daily in the morning. According to Steele, author of “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook,” there are many chicken layer feed brands to pick from, but part of the decision is based on personal preference.

In general, chickens prefer grazing over eating everything at once. By feeding them in the morning, you ensure that they will have access throughout the day. In addition to feed, chickens require constant access to clean water, which should be refilled daily.

Ingredients and Nutrition

Although opinions vary, aim for around 19 to 24 percent protein in starter meals for 1-day-old to 8-week-old chicks. Meat bird and pullet grower diets for birds 8 to 20 weeks old should contain 16 to 19 percent protein and less calcium than layer diets.

Growers who consume an excessive amount of calcium might get renal illness. When laying begins, around 20 weeks after hatching, transition to layer feeds containing 15 to 17 percent protein and approximately 3.5 percent calcium for firmer eggshells.

Steele adds, “If organically feeding a flock is essential, then organic feed is the logical choice.” There are non-GMO or corn- and soy-free feeds available for individuals who choose to avoid GMO crops and fillers.

The pudding is the proof. Steele continues, “Ultimately, you’ll know whether you’re feeding a quality brand because your hens will have gorgeous feathers and bright eyes, lay beautiful eggs with thick shells, and hatch healthy babies.”

Feed Storage and Administration

“Feed should be stored in a cool, dry location that is inaccessible to rats and other animals, and utilized before the expiration date on the package,” advises Steele. “Wet, clumpy, or moldy feed, as well as feed containing insects, should be removed.

Consider contacting the manufacturer to inquire about any recent feed recalls or even switching types of feed if your flock experiences health or medical difficulties. And subscribe to Google alerts for poultry feed recalls.”


How much food do chickens need?

“An adult chicken consumes around half a cup of feed every day, but this amount varies with the season. “During the summer, if the flock is allowed to graze on grass and eat weeds and insects, it will use less food,” explains Steele. ”

It may be slightly greater in cold areas throughout the winter, as hens waste energy attempting to remain warm. Chickens will not overeat and will only consume enough food to meet their daily nutritional and energy requirements.

Can ducks consume poultry feed?

“Ducks may consume and flourish on chicken feed, but because ducks require more niacin (vitamin B3) than chickens for strong legs and bones, niacin must be added to the chicken feed. “Brewer’s yeast is one of the most frequent niacin supplements,” notes Steele. “It is necessary for ducks and good for chickens.

Since niacin is water-soluble, meaning that the body does not store it, it must be supplied daily to the diet. In addition to peas, peanuts, whole wheat, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds, peas, peanuts, whole wheat, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds are healthy sources of niacin for ducks.


For the best chicken feeds, BestForPets (bestforpets.org) choose Scratch and Peck Organic Chicken Feeds because they are developed responsibly and contain high-quality ingredients, such as regeneratively grown grubs for maximum protein.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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