what do you prefer for feed?

family flock

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 9, 2014
Massachusetts, USA
soon to be first time owner!

what you you prefer to feed your hens? pellet or crumble?

i am limited to the feed at tractor supply and i am looking at either DuMor or Purina "layena". the purina has more calcium but i was planning on getting some oyster shells to mix with the food (thats ok to do right? and is grit better than oyster shells?)

this will be a coop shared among the families and the plan, hopefully, is to have a tall fenced in free ranging area. i was thinking about getting a bag of Purina "scratch grains" for when/if i have to call them in, just for a treat and something different from the normal feed. is this an ok plan?

any other feeding/ free ranging ideas or advice? :)



5 Years
Feb 22, 2014
Owosso, MI

Congratulations on taking the first steps towards getting your own flock!!!

As the owner of 10 hens I have had the opportunity to use both DuMor and Purina brand feeds. Other than price I have not noticed any difference in either brand name of feed. Honestly, they both look the same, smell the same and are consumed at the same rate by any/all the chickens I have ever owned. The only difference I have noticed is the difference in price. At my local Family Farm and Home and TSC stores the cost for Purina is about 25% more and is actually a smaller size bag when compared to DuMor. With this said, I would save yourself the money and go with DuMor brand feed.

Secondly, I would suggest that you use oyster shell with either brand of feed as a supplement. I would, however, add slightly more to the DuMor feed as it does have a lower calcium level. Whenever you have hens who are laying I would suggest adding some supplement, such as oyster shell, to enhance the shell strength of the eggs being laid. This is perfectly safe to do and a norm for most egg laying producers/back yard owners....To save money (a lot over the course of several months) I like to purchase one 100 lbs bad of grower feed, one 50 lbs bag of layer feed and mix together. I then add oyster shell to supplement the calcium level of the feed for better egg laying. Since I can purchase this amount of grower feed for about $20.00 (compared to $50.00 for layer feed) I save about $15.00 per month on my feed cost.

Thirdly, you should throw a small handful of grit onto the open ground every few weeks. Grit helps chickens breakdown food as they consume it and promotes healthy digestion. Free range chickens will get most of the grit they will need to survive...but it is a good choice to supplement grit just to make sure (its also very cheap)...

Lastly, if you are looking for a treat older chickens (about 8 weeks or older) love to have cracked corn. They will go crazy over this feed...which should only be given as a treat. It is a little costly so you might want to only have it for a sometimes food. I like to have it available for when kids come to visit as the chickens will instantly come to whomever has their treat...Furthermore, this treat can be useful in getting chickens back to their coop in the evenings. I would, however, suggest that you simple use a light to attract the chickens when it begins to get dark out.

I hope this helps...and if you have any additional questions please ask...

P.S. What breed of chicken are you looking to get?


11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
I don't mix the oyster shell. I throw a handful on the ground for five girls in run once a week. The feed I use is an all flock type (actually a game bird/turkey finisher) that doesn't have the added layer calcium. It's all it takes and their egg shells are good.


9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
I just have a cup nailed to the wall with oyster shells in it. For the feed it really doesn't matter. I notice they eat less with pellets so that is what I feed. I guess going out to look for a juicy grasshopper is more interesting than eating a pellet? With crumbles it seems some gets wasted when they flap their wings or such. Some is fine and gets blown way by them or the wind.

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