Is “Chicken feed” necessary?


Feb 21, 2018
Brandon, Florida
What I mean is, do I have to feed them commercial feed? I know that it’s very important that the chickens get enough protein and obviously commercial feed would be the easiest way to ensure that they are getting what they need. But is there a more natural approach? Obviously I will use chick starter, but when they transition to layer feed, are there other options? We are planning on giving the chickens veggies and fruits and herbs and flowers, etc., they will be in a large run most of the time and can forage for bugs and worms, but I can also supplement with mealworms and eggs for protein, right?I’d like for their feed to be as free from commercial grain as possible, is that even an option for backyard flocks? Please forgive my ignorance LOL We are new to this (we will be getting chicks the second weeks of March) and I’ve been doing a massive amount of research lol , but haven’t found a lot of information on this. Alternatives to commercial feed that will still ensure they get all the protein and vitamins they need?


Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
South Park, Colorado, USA
Free ranged birds with access to adequate resources can balance their diet. It becomes far more difficult with penned birds.
I'd add to this that free range birds will find more of their own food if you live in a climate that offers an extended growing season. A free range bird in Florida probably does better year round than a free range bird in Alaska.

AllenK RGV

Chicken Addict
Premium member
Jul 23, 2017
Deep South Texas Laureles,TX 10A
Free ranged birds with access to adequate resources can balance their diet. It becomes far more difficult with penned birds.
Depending on Flock Size and year round access(to grass and insects) I would think 1/4 acre would suffice for the most part as a run in(Depends on where) Florida. Bonus points for making a Black Soldier Fly Larva(BSFL) feeder with your compost and a food grade 55 gallon drum or two.


If you look around on youtube if you never freeze you can do mealworms with compost as well. Best of luck! compost=food


Slow hands & an easy touch
Premium member
11 Years
Oct 20, 2008
Right here; north-central MD
ground oyster shell yes. there are other sources as well. some folk grind up there breakfast egg shells and offer them on the side.
We feed all our egg shells, just as they are; always have. They're usually the first choice over anything else in the bowl.
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