What Do Chickens Eat?

In this 10 minute video by Becky’s Homestead┬áthe subject of what to feed your chickens is discussed.

If you want to watch the video, then please go ahead but if you prefer to read a full transcript of it then please find it below.

Start of Video Transcript

In this episode I’ll be showing you what I feed my hens so I get good tasty eggs. Also I’ll be reading a letter from one of my viewers. Stay tuned.

Hi I’m Becky. I moved to the country and built a log cabin of my dreams. And now I enjoy the simple life. This is the life of making things, growing a garden, raising animals, connecting with my community and making a home. This is Becky’s homestead.

Today I’m going to show you what I feed my hens. We love our eggs and we like steady production from our chickens and I have found in order to get that, you have to feed them really well. So here are some of the foods that I feed my hens so they lay good eggs.

We love our eggs and we like to try to get a steady supply. I found the best way to do that is to feed your hens really well. I’m going to start with this on right here, this is just the typical egg layer, you can buy it in the store that’s already put together for you. It’s ground up and there’s different vitamins in that if you read the bag. And it literally looks just like cornmeal. It’s kind of just powdery cornmeal and the chickens do like that and they eat that up nice. So I’m going to put this back, let me show you the next one.

Well actually I’ll leave a little on here so you can see the difference between all of them. Okay so here’s a little pile of cornmeal, it’s called chicken layer. Now some layer comes in pellets and some layer comes in crumbles and different things. I like this one it just seems more natural.

I try to go with whole real foods to feed my chickens. I just think they get better nutrition that way. This here is called steamed rolled barley and that’s what it looks like, it kind of looks like oatmeal, it’s smaller than oatmeal though and it’s a little darker in color than oatmeal. Steamed rolled barley chickens love it, so they’ll peck that up.

The next one is steamed rolled oats. I’ll put that on this side, and as you can see it’s whiter than the barley. Slightly, I mean I’m not sure if that’s clear but they look really similar. You can wet these 2 if you wanted to soak them a little bit and they would absorb the water and it would be more like oatmeal. And they like it either way, wet or dry.

And then what I do, oh let me just show you this last corn and then we’ll talk about price. And what I do also which the chickens like, is I just buy whole corn and some people buy cracked corn but chickens like whole corn just fine. They’ll just get that whole piece and gulp it down there.

They have no problems with it at all. Of course if it’s a little chicky baby it’s not going to be able to eat the whole corn so you might want to start out with cracked corn. The reason I chose whole corn is it’s cheaper. It’s less expensive. Now I’m going to tell you the price of some of these feeds that I just showed you at the picnic table and I’m going to show you the bags they come in and how much they cost.

We’ll start over here with the whole corn. This is a 50 pound bag of whole corn. It costs around 8 dollars right here where I live. And I mean that is a lot of food for 8 dollars. The cracked corn is more expensive. My suggestion would be just get the whole corn unless you’re feeding the little chicky babies.

Next we have the steamed rolled barley. Again this is a 50 pound bag of the steamed rolled barley. Same stuff I showed you on the table and this cost 16 dollars for a 50 pound bag. Once again that is a great price for a lot of food.

Down here, I have used part of this, but this is also a 50 pound bag and this is the chicken layer. It comes like in that crumbled stuff so you squeeze that, that was 9 dollars for a 50 pound bag.

And then here is a 50 pound bag of steamed rolled oats. The oats are the most expensive out of all these feeds that I’m feeding my chickens. The oats are 18 dollars for a 50 pound bag. You can shop around and there might be a very slight difference in price, but on average that is how much they cost.

18 dollars for the rolled steamed oats, 9 dollars for 50 pounds of the layer, 16 dollars for the steamed rolled barley 50 pound bag and 8 dollars for a 50 pound bag of whole corn.

I like to feed all these to my chickens that way it keeps them healthy and it keeps the eggs coming on a continual basis. Okay let’s go feed the hens and see if they laid any eggs. I like to throw some food out here in the yard because I think it gives the hens something to do during the day.

They like to pick and scratch around and I think it makes the little hen life interesting. The best part of the chickens is when I come and collect the eggs. My girls are afternoon layers so I’ll get more later. Our ducks are very happy in their little triangle chicken coop.

I’d like to give you a little ducky update. She’s still sitting on her nest and from my calculations they should be hatching any day now. Mr ducky comes to the bucket entrance and protects her now so she calls him over. They’re very, very protective of their nest at this point. I’m so excited I can’t wait to see a little duck pop out of there.

Now I’m going to read you a letter. This one is from Safie. Success. My chickens, bantams, have laid eggs. We are very happy, but we have discovered a rooster so we will be getting him out right away. If we don’t get rid of our rooster, are the eggs still safe to eat? We are new to chickens and will need some help with eggs and such. So could you give us some advice?

Okay. It doesn’t matter if the rooster is in there. You can eat fertile eggs which is from a rooster, or non fertile eggs if you keep just hens. Either way the eggs are edible. When there’s a rooster in the pen the eggs will be fertile and your hens might want to sit on them and lay them. So the only difference would be make sure you collect your eggs everyday or two.

This next one is from Donna. And she writes, I’ve been watching your podcasts for quite some time. After watching your podcast on how to harness your donkey, and the beginning driving lessons, I had to drop you a line to let you know how much I enjoy the information. In fact I have enjoyed all of your podcasts.

This particular one brought back memories for me. When my kids were young we had Quarter horses. But I wouldn’t let them ride by themselves. So I brought them a very gentle little Welsh Shetland mix pony. And we had such wonderful times on our pony cart rides. Several times I picked them up at school in the cart and spent an extra hour giving their class mates pony rides around the block while all of the parents waited patiently until their kids got their ride. That’s been so many, make that many, many years ago.

And I had forgotten exactly how to harness up for a cart until I saw your podcast. I always wanted a donkey but never did get one. Your Doodles looks like a very sweet little guy. You must have put in a lot of time with him for him to be so easy to handle. Thanks so much for your podcast, I look forward to seeing you hooked to the cart. Donna. Well that’s nice Donna and Doodles is a very nice little donkey, we treat all our animals nicely but we expect them to behave.

I’m also looking forward to hitch him to the cart which will be soon. Stay tuned. Thanks for watching, please email me with any questions or suggestions. Happy homesteading.

Bye bye. You can tell they’re well fed, they’re not very interested. You’re supposed to act like you’re staving and this is delicious. You can’t step on those it’s going to hurt your feet silly. Are you sliding? You’re sliding. Lay down. He’s sliding. Are you sliding? Well lay down. Lay down you won’t slide. Lay down. Oh there you go perfect.

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