Feed and nutrition for back yard poultry

Back yard poultry requires a well-balanced feed. The feed formulation might change according to the age and the production stage of the bird.

Be aware that chickens cannot lay good quality eggs on a poor-quality diet. Feed your birds good quality, well-balanced pellets or mash feed from a reputable supplier. The nutritional state of your birds will influence their resistance to common disease-causing agents, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Note that some layer feeds are high in calcium, which is good for layers but can cause kidney damage in young growing birds or chicks, so buy chick or grower feed for the young one.

While you can supplement the birds' diet with some kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetables, be aware that solely kitchen scraps are a non-sufficient diet for layers or young, growing birds.

The common problems with backyard poultry fed on kitchen scraps are:

  • Calcium deficiency, that might cause poor bone growth.
  • Protein deficiency, which causes the chicken to drawing on its reserves to produce eggs.
  • Energy deficiency causes poor growth, weight loss and poor egg production.
  • Vitamin A deficiency with poor skin and feathering.
  • Leftover scraps encourage vermin.
  • Kitchen scraps may contain bacteria and viruses that affect poultry.

Never feed your birds:

  • Raw green potato peels contain a toxic substance called Solanine.
  • Anything real salty can cause salt poisoning in small bodies such as chickens.
  • Citrus (oranges, lemons) as too much citric acid &/or Vitamin C may cause feather plucking in some sensitive chickens.
  • Raw, or dry beans, contain a substance that is toxic to birds.
  • Avocado skin and pit skin have low levels of toxicity.

Supplement the birds’ diet with grit such as crushed oyster shells to grind food.

Page last updated: 19 Feb 2024