First Ingredient in Feed


Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Apr 10, 2016
Santa Cruz Mountains, California
How important is the first ingredient in a complete feed? My girls like the feed at Costco, which has a first ingredient of wheat, but it’s only 16% protein and is a layer feed (some girls were taking a laying break due to molting), so I switched them to a 22% grower feed from my feed store. They’re doing better on the high protein feed, but I recently realized the first ingredient, milo, is considered a low quality grain. I find this surprising since milo (sorghum) is a high protein grain. I pay over twice as much for it and it is corn free and soy free. Wondering if I should look for something with a different first ingredient. Both the Costco feed and the milo feed are organic, non-GMO crumbles. Thoughts?

Folly's place

10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
southern Michigan
Your choices will be limited because you want organic, and of course need to get what's fresh (by mill date) at the store. Ask on the California thread; some feeds are sold nationally, and some are more locally produced.
If you insist on no corn or soy in the feed, that limits your choices even more, and drives up the price.
I'm not willing to pay for organic feed for my chickens, and while trying to buy organic produce for myself, certainly eat plenty of non-organic stuff myself. It's a choice, and it's fine to do it either way. My birds eat Purina Flock Raiser, 20% protein, and do great on it. The ingredient list works out for me too, not being allergic to corn or soy myself.
The nutritional assay should be pretty accurate as printed on the bag of feed, regardless of what ingredient is first on the list by weight. The company has made up the protein as listed with other ingredients.

Cindy in PA

13 Years
Jul 8, 2008
Fleetwood, PA
I was told by a feed company at one time that the ingredients in feed are not listed like human food, in that the first ingredient is not indicative of that being the most in the mix. They are just listed randomly. Don't know if that is still the case.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
It isn't a requirement to list in order of the weight/quantity for animal feed but by convention, feed mills list them that way.
What companies are trying to achieve is a balance of all nutrients chickens need so it doesn't matter what the ingredients are as long as they have the right mix of vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids.
Even though there is a combination of grains and legumes as the primary ingredients, there will still be a dearth of some essential amino acids that need to be supplemented synthetically due to the fact that the feeds are vegetable based.
You can't get sufficient levels of things like methionine, lysine and others without supplementation or animal protein sources.


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