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Pellet vs Crumble; Feed Brands

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

In doing some research on the route to take regarding food for our incoming birds, I was wondering what you all prefer. I keep reading that chickens tend to prefer the crumble types, but that they waste much easier, thus I'm leaning more toward a pellet. I've noticed starter feeds seem to mostly come as a crumble, has anyone had issues beginning this way then moving to a pellet as they age?

I am also looking for insight on quality food brands. For personal reasons, I do not feed any of my animals Purina brand anything, so I won't treat my chickens any differently. I am not necessarily looking for strictly "organic" (but I am open to it), I am primarily looking for something considered a bit more natural, & I'd prefer unmedicated. My main concern is no unnecessary fillers, etc. I visited my local Rural King the other day & found their selection to be lacking, which surprised me a bit! Have you all started with 1 brand as chicks, & stuck with that brand, or is it ok to switch it up? I am unsure how sensitive chickens are to this, as we have other pets that have been!

Thanks so much!!


post #2 of 5
I think it depends on how much you want to spend. I use New Country Organics. Its a soy free whole grain chicken feed. Its expensive though. A 50# bag of broiler feed is 28.50. I have to have it shipped though because no storestores sell it around here. That brings the total to $48 per 50 # bag. Scratch and Peck is similar but I have found it to be even more expensive with shipping. Its a shame but the feed mills in my area don't make whole grain chicken feed. I use whole grain because I feel like its easier to ferment. We go through about 5 lbs of feed per day. It is a lot when a 50# bag of pellets at factor supply is $20 (organic). since were feeding chickens that in turn feed us its worth it IMO. Welcome to BYC and while you're researching chicken feeds, do a search on fermented feeds (FF). I think FF is great for chickens and also helps to reduce waste.
Edited by mich9510 - 1/10/17 at 8:08am
Mommy to 14 Jersey Giants, 1 mystery rooster, 3 Svart Honas, 2 Ayam Cemanis, 1 Araucana, 1 Pekin, 1 Cayuga, and two incubating emu eggs.
Mommy to 14 Jersey Giants, 1 mystery rooster, 3 Svart Honas, 2 Ayam Cemanis, 1 Araucana, 1 Pekin, 1 Cayuga, and two incubating emu eggs.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Awesome info, thank you! I'll read up on FF. I noticed our local TSC carries organic brands, but most of my online research into natural feeds is yielding results for feed brands not typically carried in stores, so I'm facing shipping charges as well. I'm ok with it, however, because I figure what they eat is in turn what me & my family eat!

post #4 of 5

It shouldn't be a problem going from one form of feed to another, though expect a little confusion for a day or two when you switch.  Chicks generally get crumble (since it's tiny).  I wanted grower in pellet form but was unable to find organic grower pellets so I went to a mash (Scratch & Peck).  Now I'm on Payback organic layer pellets - they don't like it nearly as much as the mash but chickens aren't like reptiles where they'll starve themselves, so after a day of protest they're eating like normal again, just with a lot less mess (they were throwing everything from the mash that they didn't want, onto the floor). 


Once it warms up again I'll resume using the mash for fermented feed and the pellets as the free choice feed.

post #5 of 5



If you are getting incubator hatched chicks to rear in a brooder, you would be best advised to get medicated chick starter. It is only medicated with a anti coccidiostat, which basically helps to prevent them from getting coccidiosis....which is a killer. Broody hen hatched and reared chicks will usually be fine with none medicated starter because their system is exposed gradually and they start to pick up resistance to coccidia from day one. Chicks brooded indoors are much more at risk from it, so medicated is better. In my opinion it is better to prevent an outbreak of coccidiosis than have to deal with one, as it can kill many and quickly. If you really don't want to use medicated starter and your chicks are not going to be raised by a broody hen, then I would advise that you keep some Corid in your first aid kit, so that you have it ready to use at the first sign of coccidiosis. I have a small bottle that was designed for treating pigeons (normally it is large cattle treatment containers of it in the USA I believe) 


Chicks are started on crumb because pellets are too large for them to eat. I use a pelleted feed once they are 6-8 weeks old. You can ferment it if you wish or feed it dry. The advantage over a mash is that there is much less waste. In my opinion, there is no point feeding them a formulated feed in mash form if they are just going to pick their favourite bits out and waste the rest. You will lose a lot of the nutritional value like that. Yes there will be some powder left in the bottom of the feeder when they have eaten all the pellets but this can be added to the fermented feed bucket or just mixed to a paste with water and fed back to them as a treat, so no waste at all with it. Not only do I hate waste around the feeder just because it is waste but it also attracts rats and wild birds that can spread diseases. Feeding a mash usually leaves an area of wasted fine particle food around the feeder that gets trampled in and sometimes starts to mould in damp climates.


You can also ferment chick crumb, so in essence, if you ferment they will not be any noticeable difference when you switch to grower or layer. The basic components of all are the same, just the proportions like protein and calcium are slightly different. You can even keep them on grower their whole lives and just provide a source of calcium (like crushed oyster shell) on the side for them to help themselves to as they need it.


I have too many chickens and too low an income to be able to feed organic...and as you will find there is much less choice when it comes to organic, but my chickens usually get to free range my yard and paddocks and muck heap daily (we are on lock down for avian flu at the moment so currently no ranging and my girls and boys are not happy!), so I figure that offsets it a bit.


Good luck with your chicks when you get them. I'm sure you will love keeping chickens. So many people under estimate how attached you can get to them.


Best wishes



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