The diet of your flock is essential to their health. Their development, feathering, eggs, and resilience to stress and disease simply depend on it.
And chickens have very specific needs; even a deficit in just one nutrient can have serious consequences.
Besides, food is energy – and these birds need plenty of it to support their welfare.
Carbohydrates, protein and fat; they need them all. But in the right quantities.
But there is a lot more to food than just energy; and chickens require a range of vitamins and minerals for everything to work, too.
And their needs change depending on their age. Young chicks should be fed very differently from laying hens, for instance.
Nevertheless, getting a premium and high-quality feed for your flock across all life stages is vital.
One that is nutritionally balanced and complete.
So, if you have a flock that consists of laying birds, you may be wondering what feed should make up the majority of the diet.
Well, the recommendations below are only the very best options currently available.
This is the kind of layer feed you should be looking to provide, for optimal health and welfare.
Best Layer Feed For Chickens
Layer Feed Details
- Complete Feed For Chickens And Ducks - A 16% protein mash feed formulated with organic whole grains, sustainable grub protein, essential oils, vitamins, and minerals to help your flock grow strong muscles, healthy bones, and fluffy feathers.
- Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ensures your flock is receiving the healthiest quality feed available. Soy-Free, Corn-Free, and Non-Medicated ensures that allergens and unnecessary ingredients do not wind up in your chicken feeder.
- Feed Dry or Fermented - It's all about options! Dry is great for flocks who peck their feeder clean which ensures they receive complete nutrition. Fermented is great for picky flocks as it doesn't let them pick out their favorite ingredients.
- Tasty and Nutritious - Innovative GRUB protein is fabulous for flocks and Mother Earth. Grubs save pre-consumer food waste headed to landfills by upcycling into a premium, sustainable nutrition high in protein and energy. Grubs are a flock favorite.
- Grown and Milled in North America - All of our feeds are made in the USA and our ingredients are sourced from North America (USA and Canada). We are committed to supporting farmers and keeping business local.
- ORGANIC: Certified USDA Organic for fresh, organic eggs.
- NON-GMO: These complete pellets are crafted with non-gmo ingredients.
- EGG PRODUCTION: Manna Pro Layer Pellets are crafted with 16% protein to support optimal egg production.
- PELLETS: Your flock will love this pellet form for easy intake & waste reduction.
- Locally Made In The Pacific NorthWest
- A Great Layer Feed At A Great Price.
- An All In One Feed, Contains All Necessary Vitamins, Minerals, Nutrients Your Flock Needs To Thrive.
How Much Layer Feed Should My Chickens Eat?
Your chickens should have constant access to food during the day. Chickens are instinctive eaters; only eating as much as they need to. At the same time, its essential that your chickens go to sleep with a full crop. This will provide them with the energy throughout the night to produce eggs.
Your average chicken will eat between 4-6 ounces of layer feed per day (or 0.5-0.75 cups/120-150 grams).
Although it does depend somewhat on the age and size of the bird, along with the season and any other access to food they may be getting.
Nevertheless, it is vital you routinely check the feeders each day to ensure they are full.
Getting several feeders, placed in different areas (such as inside and outside of the run) is advised.
This will allow all of your flock to eat and prevent the more dominant chickens from preventing those at the bottom of the pecking order from being able to do so.
How Long Does Layer Feed Last?
Layer feed should last between 3-4 months, depending on how much is purchased, how many birds you have, and how effectively the feed is stored.
The only exception is freezing. Frozen layer feed will last several years, so long as it is sufficiently stored and sealed.
The key to ensuring that a chicken feed does not spoil is to keep it dry.
Any moisture that gains access to the food will cause it to spoil.
At the same time, you will need to keep the stored food cool and sealed.
To get a complete estimation of how long a particular feed will keep, you can always contact the manufacturer directly.
When Should I Start Giving My Chickens Layer Feed?
Chickens should begin consuming layer feed around 18 weeks of age, which is when they will start laying eggs.
Therefore, it comes advised to purchase a layer feed when your birds are around the 15-16 week age range. Giving you some time to prepare.
You will want to transition your chickens over to layer feed over the course of a week, with no overnight and sudden change. This will prevent digestive upset.
Before then, your chickens will likely be consuming a ‘grower’ feed – which is a somewhat different formulation for this phase of their development.
Around the age of 18 weeks, however, the needs of a chicken change as they begin to produce eggs.
This requires a different abundance of nutrients, with calcium and protein being perhaps the main ones to note here.
As such, layer feed should be comprised of the 38 nutrients these birds need to produce eggs. In the right quantities.
Well, at least the better brands.
When it comes to the transition of food, be sure to mix grower feed with layer feed in a 50/50 split for the first 4-5 days.
After that you can offer layer feed exclusively.
This slow adjustment should ensure your flock takes to the new feed. Just be sure to keep existing feeding routines in place.
Layer feed is only bad for chickens that are non-laying. For instance, layer feed would be bad for chicks, and chickens between 4-16 weeks.
This is because the nutrient profile of layer feed is designed for the increased needs and resources of egg-laying.
Younger birds would not do well with the increased levels of calcium and protein, and would even find the quantities toxic. Growth and development issues could also occur.
That being said, chickens of egg-laying eggs should be fed layer feed.
For them, this type of feed is essential and very healthy for them.
Ultimately, its about providing a diet that is conducive to the age and needs of your birds.
Feeding your chickens does not need to be difficult. But it can be without a proper appreciation and understanding of the need of your birds.
Simply put, your birds should be fed in relation to their age.
If they are of egg-laying age, then a premium layer feed is the way to go.
And with the importance of diet; choosing a nutritionally balanced and high quality brand should be the priority.
Thankfully there are a few reputable brands that you can choose between.
But I for one, would not look any further than the Scratch and Peck Organic Layer Feed. And getting it from Amazon ensures you get the best price and a swift delivery.
And lastly, be sure to store your food correctly to increase its longevity.
Feeders that prevent rats and other predators from being able to access the feed is also strongly advised, but that’s a story for another day.
Looking for other products for keeping chickens? My following guides could be of help:
- What Can Chickens Eat?
- Best Chicken Feeder To Prevent Rats
- Best Chicken Run Flooring
- Best Heated Waterer For Chickens
- Best Calcium Supplement For Chickens
- Best Bedding For Chicken Nesting Boxes
- Best Nest Boxes For Chickens
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.