two chickens looking for something to eat

Ever wonder what do chickens eat? The truth is, a chicken's diet can be as varied and diverse as our own! But feeding chickens isn't just a matter of chucking leftovers into their pen. It's a science, an art, and a little bit of instinct.

Overview of Chicken Diet

Chickens are omnivores, much like us humans. They eat a blend of vegetables, grains, fruits, and even small insects and worms. But providing a balanced diet to your chickens is crucial to their overall health and productivity.

Natural Foods for Chickens

Let's break down the natural foods that chickens eat:

Insects and Worms

Think of chickens as your personal pest control. They love scratching the soil in search of tasty critters such as beetles, grubs, and earthworms.


Chickens adore greens! They'll happily peck at grass, leaves, and garden scraps. These provide vital nutrients and keep your chickens occupied.

Grains and Seeds

A chicken’s favourite dinner? Grains and seeds! They're an excellent source of energy for your feathered friends.

Commercial Feed for Chickens

While natural foods are crucial, commercial feeds ensure your chickens receive a balanced diet.

Types of Chicken Feed

Here are the key types of commercial chicken feed:

Starter Feed

This high-protein feed is for chicks up to 6 weeks old, aiding their rapid growth.

Grower Feed

For pullets (young hens) until they start laying eggs, providing them with the necessary nutrients for growth.

Layer Feed

Layer feed has the essential calcium that hens need for strong eggshells.

Feeding Chickens Table Scraps

Leftovers? Chickens can have them, but be careful. Not all human food is chicken-friendly!

Safe Scraps for Chickens

Vegetable peels, cooked rice, pasta, and bread are safe and loved by chickens. Just avoid giving them mouldy or rotten food.

Dangerous Foods for Chickens

Foods like chocolate, avocado, and coffee grounds can be toxic to chickens. When in doubt, look it up before throwing it in the coop!

The Importance of Grit

Chickens need grit (small rocks) to help grind their food in their gizzard, an important part of their digestive process.

Chicken Hydration

Water is just as vital as food. Chickens need constant access to clean water for digestion and egg production.


So, what do chickens eat? A healthy blend of natural foods, commercial feed, safe scraps, grit, and water! Keep this in mind, and your chickens will stay clucking happily.


  1. Can chickens eat dairy products? Yes, in moderation. They enjoy yogurt and cheese, but too much can cause digestion issues.

  2. What fruits can chickens eat? Chickens can eat most fruits like apples, berries, and melons. But avoid giving them citrus fruits.

  3. Do chickens eat at night? No, chickens generally eat during the day and sleep at night.

  4. Can chickens eat raw potatoes? No, raw potatoes can be harmful to chickens. Cooked ones are safe.

  5. How often should I feed my chickens? Chickens should have access to food all day. You can supplement their diet with scraps and treats.

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