What do chickens like to eat?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What do chickens like to eat?” and provide information on what wild and domesticated chickens eat, which foods should not be given to them, what baby chicks eat, which veggies, herbs as well as perennials are eaten by them.

What do chickens like to eat?

Chickens eat grains, veggies, corn, and insects. Chickens would eat anything that they can hold using their beaks. However, they can be a bit picky sometimes.

There are many foods that chickens primarily eat. Grass, insects, grains, worms, weeds, seeds, fruits, reptiles, veggies, insects, and small amphibians are some foods that they consume. 

What do wild chickens eat?

Feral chickens use their senses to typically survive in the wild as they are prone to be attacked by predators. Chickens can eat grasses, plants, and weeds. Occasionally, wild chickens can also feed on termites, clovers, buckwheats, dandelions, scorpions, spiders, and bluegrass.

Chicken can eat caterpillars and their larvae too. Apart from this, it can consume small animals. Mice, lizards, snakes, and frogs can be eaten by them. They can even feed on eggs of other birds including chickens. Sometimes, chickens can feed on carrion too.

What do domesticated chickens eat?

The diet of domesticated chickens varies depending on the foods given to them. Chickens raised in captivity have a more varied diet. Formulated chicken feed can be given to them.

Chicken feed can consist of a mixture of soybeans and canola. Chickens raised for meat are called Broilers. Broilers are given a diet high in protein.

Chickens raised for eggs are called Layers. Layers are given a diet high in calcium. Chickens raised in a pasture can look for insects, grasses, weeds, and seeds.

Some foods that can be fed to chickens are cooked rice, cooked pasta, cooked veggies, fruit, eggshells, milk products, fruits, crackers, and bread. They can be fed with fish too but do not give fish bones to them. The meat of other animals (excluding chicken) can be provided.

Which foods should not be given to chickens?

Some foods should not be given to chickens. These include chicken scraps, chocolate, soda, coffee, avocado, processed foods, and moldy food.

Avocado skin or pits can be quite toxic. Do not give them raw or undercooked beans as they contain hemagglutinin which can cause indigestion in them. 

Do not give rhubarbs to them either. This is because rhubarbs have anthraquinones which can act as a laxative. 

Do not give decomposed, high sodium, or moldy foods. This is because the feces excreted by chickens can become toxic.

What do baby chickens eat?

Chicks are able to walk in just one day. However, for 6 weeks, they walk close to their mother. Hens carry food in their mouths to feed to the chicks. Sometimes, they might drop food on the ground which can be pecked at and eaten by baby chickens.

Small chickens can also search for weeds, worms, insects, seeds, and grasses. Apart from this, they love eating grasses, fruits, and veggies. Do not feed chocolate, soda, chicken scraps, or processed foods to baby chicks.

What are some veggies that chickens can eat?

Chickens can eat veggies like lettuce, carrots, kale, broccoli, swiss chard, cucumber, and pumpkins. Leafy greens are a favorite among chickens. 

If a chicken eats more dark leafy veggies, the yolk of eggs can become darker too. Turnip greens are eaten by chickens as well.

Do chickens eat herbs and perennials?

Yes, chickens can feed on herbs and perennials too. Some herbs that a chicken eats are lavender, oregano, mint, cilantro, parsley, basil, and thyme. Perennials that can be eaten by them are roses, ferns, daisies, hostas, daylilies, and coneflowers.

What to look for while buying chicken feed?

While buying chicken feed (18 weeks and older), make sure to check whether there are essential amino acids present in them. The protein present in feeds should not be less than 16 percent.

Look for trace minerals. Minerals like magnesium, calcium, etc are important for the strong shells of eggs.

Check whether there are vitamins and other minerals present. Both prebiotics and probiotics have to be added to the feeds as well. 

A 90 percent complete chicken feed  has to be given to them if you want to obtain eggs that are better in quality.  A 90 percent complete chicken feed can ensure a balanced diet.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What do chickens like to eat?” and provided information on what wild and domesticated chickens eat, which foods should not be given to them, what baby chicks eat, veggies, herbs as well as perennials eaten by them.




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