What Is In Chicken Feed: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a chicken owner, you’ve probably wondered what’s in the feed you’re giving your birds. So what is in chicken feed? Chickens, like all animals, have specific nutritional needs that must be met in order to keep them healthy and productive. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at what’s in chicken feed and why each ingredient is important.

You may also want to read about the best chicken feed.

What is in chicken feed:

What is in chicken feed? Most commercial chicken feeds are made up of a combination of grains, protein sources, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The exact composition of the feed will vary depending on the age and purpose of the birds. For example, starter feeds for chicks have a higher percentage of protein than feeds for mature birds.


Grains are a staple ingredient in chicken feed. Common grains used in chicken feed include corn, wheat, barley, and oats. Grains provide carbohydrates for energy and are also a good source of protein.

Protein sources

Protein is essential for muscle growth and egg production in chickens. Most chicken feeds contain a combination of plant and animal protein sources. Plant protein sources include soybean meal, cottonseed meal, and canola meal. Animal protein sources include meat and bone meal, fish meal, and dried whey.


Fats are an important source of energy for chickens and also help with skin and feather health. Chicken feed usually contains a small percentage of fat, often from sources like vegetable oil or animal fat.

what is in chicken feed

What is in chicken feed?

Vitamins and minerals

Chickens need a wide range of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Common vitamins found in chicken feed include vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and potassium are also important for bone health, egg production, and overall health.

Other ingredients

In addition to the basic ingredients listed above, chicken feed may also contain other additives and supplements. For example, probiotics can be added to chicken feed to support digestive health. Some feeds also contain herbs or other natural ingredients to support the immune system or reduce stress.

Understanding the types of chicken feed

There are several types of chicken feed available, each with a specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the most common types of chicken feed.

Starter feed

Starter feed is designed for baby chicks, from hatch until they are around 6 weeks old. This feed is high in protein to support rapid growth and development. Starter feed usually contains around 20-24% protein and is often in a crumbled or mashed form to make it easier for chicks to eat.

Grower feed

Grower feed is designed for young chickens that have outgrown starter feed but are not yet laying eggs. This feed has a lower protein content than starter feed, usually around 16-18%. Grower feed is designed to support muscle growth and development without promoting excessive weight gain.

Layer feed

Layer feed is designed for chickens that are actively laying eggs. This feed is high in calcium to support strong eggshells and usually contains around 16% protein. Layer feed may also contain added vitamins and minerals, such as omega-3 fatty acids, to promote healthy eggs.

Broiler feed

Broiler feed is designed for meat chickens and is high in protein and fat to promote rapid growth and weight gain. This feed is usually around 20-22% protein and may also contain added amino acids to support muscle growth.

Scratch grains

Scratch grains are a treat food for chickens and should not be used as a primary feed source. Scratch grains are usually a mix of grains like corn, wheat, and barley and may also contain sunflower seeds or other treats. Scratch grains can be scattered on the ground for chickens to scratch and peck at, providing entertainment and mental stimulation.

About the Author
The Poultry Feed Team

The Poultry Feed Team

I am Ehsan from The Poultry Feed Team. We all started out as poultry novices ourselves, so we know just how confusing it can be to try and figure everything out on your own. That's why we're here! We want to help you become the best caretaker of these lovely feathered animals.