Chickens will eat a variety of things, they could be considered natures garbage disposal. You do need to provide them a complete feed, which is a source of food that has everything that they need to thrive. Most chicken feed has what they need. There are two general categories of food; grower feed and layer feed. Grower feed is what you need for your chicks for the first 4 – 6 months. This feed is concentrated with ingredients that allow them to grow and develop. The other type of feed is layer feed. This feed has additional ingredients that help them lay eggs. We recommend feed that is organic and is locally milled. Corn is the main ingredient in lots of chicken feed, but this is not the best for the chickens. Commercial feed will work fine if that is your only choice, but a feed milled from local grains and seeds work better for the health of your chickens.
Chickens are not dogs, don’t limit their feed. You need to have feed always available to them. Keeping their feeders full also means less work for you which is always a benefit. Some argue to only feed them so much a day, there are a few problems with this. First, the chickens might not get enough food. Second, it will be more demanding to have chickens. They are wrong, keeping chickens is easy. Chickens are not like fish, or even dogs. Chickens will never over eat, they will always eat what they need. Remember, you are not running a commercial operation, that tries to save a few cents off each bird. You want your chickens to be happy, or you would not be reading this.
Chickens are also great composting bins. A large amount of your kitchen scraps can be fed to your chickens. You don’t have to worry too much about them eating thing they should not. They know what is good for them and what is not. They love tomatoes, grapes, pears, greens, and tons of other things. You can even make them special treats ever now and again. My chickens favorite is oatmeal with yogurt, they go crazy, and eat every last bit.