I don't want to hurt my birds. FEED QUESTION.


9 Years
May 15, 2010
I realize that some folks might not like this... I'm on a hunt for some facts here though.

I read recently that the feed that is available to us for our backyard birds is the same that is used by the commercial chicken industry. I can't find that darn online article and have been searching endlessly for it. Anyway, it mentioned that the feed was developed to have birds grow as fast, as big, and produce as much as possible in the least amount of time. It implied that it forced them to grow and produce at a rate that wouldn't otherwise be natural for them - putting a strain on them and potentially causing them injury, illness, and a shorter lifespan.

Now, I do understand that chickens, in general, are here for our consumption, and not everyone feels love for them - TO EACH HIS/HER OWN HERE AND I'M NOT JUDGING THOSE THAT FEEL DIFFERENLTY ABOUT THIS... However, for our family, our chickens are with us for company, pets, entertainment, pleasure, and some eggs would be great. We don't need an egg a day from each of them to justify their presence at our home though.

I would love to hear from the folks out there that have some experience and/or insight into these thoughts on feed - preferably based on some sort of legitimate research and/or personal experience.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and reply!


10 Years
Mar 21, 2010
Hi! I did read something about that, too. In one of the books I read, unfortunately, I can't remember which one, it suggested adding up to 50% oatmeal to the traditional feed around 3 months to laying time to lower the protein intake ans slow the un-naturally fast growth rate. This passage was in with some information on culling the flock by checking molt patterns. Anyone familiar with the book? I did add oatmeal to my grower, but not any where near the 50%. I am WAY too new at this to do something quite that drastic! Well, good luck! I also would like to hear what others have learned!


10 Years
Aug 21, 2009
They do have feed available that won't make them grow so fast. Once you raise them on chick starter than switch to a grower /developer with only 16 % protein when they are about 10-12 weeks or so of age and then layer feed at 18-22 weeks (or when they start laying if sooner than 22 weeks). Slow maturing laying hens have less problems with prolapsed vents and hemorrhagic liver. Keeping them from getting overweight is also important so lots of room and encouragement to exercise (low fat goodies tossed around for them to scratch, meal-worms as a treat, non fat organic yogurt, etc.) is important. You can even have the waterer further away than the feed to make them walk to it (not in hot weather--have more than one close to them in shade). You should feed less than 10% of the diet in treats in order to not upset the nutrition they receive.

We also have our chicks (now 8 1/2 weeks old) for pets and handle them and talk to them every day. We hope for lots of eggs but will NOT give them artificial light to encourage laying throughout the winter. This allows them to rest as Mother Nature intended. We will be taking flock fecals to the local Avian Center every 6 months and will not feel weird taking them there if they get ill just like we would if it were our dog. They are wonderful pets as they give us such joy watching them be, well, chickens! They are so funny, have distinct personalities and are so beautiful too.

FYI--they should have grit available if they eat anything other than chicken feed and oyster shells after laying!

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