How to Make Chicken Feed at Home for Broilers and Layers

How to Make Chicken Feed at Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating homemade chicken feed is a viable option for poultry owners who want to have better control over the ingredients and quality of their chickens’ diet. It’s an economical and personalized way to meet your flock’s specific needs.

1. Understand Nutritional Requirements:

Before you start, you must know the essential nutrients your chickens need. These include:

  • Proteins for feather and muscle development
  • Carbohydrates for energy
  • Minerals like calcium for strong eggshells
  • Vitamins for overall health

2. Choose Ingredients:

Opt for high-quality, natural ingredients. Common options are:

  • Corn for carbohydrates
  • Soybean meal for protein
  • Calcium carbonate or crushed eggshells for calcium
  • Vegetable scraps as a supplement

3. Measurements and Ratios:

The exact ratio of ingredients will depend on your chickens’ age, breed, and purpose (egg-laying, meat, etc.). For a simple laying hen mix, you might use:

  • 60% Corn
  • 30% Soybean meal
  • 8% Calcium carbonate
  • 2% Vegetable scraps

4. Grind Ingredients:

Use a chicken feed grinder or a heavy-duty blender to grind ingredients into a fine, uniform texture. This enhances the digestibility and mixing process.

5. Mixing:

Ensure the ingredients are well-mixed to create a homogeneous feed. You can use a large container or chicken feed mixer for this.

6. Quality Check:

Before feeding it to your chickens, make sure the feed:

  • Has a consistent texture
  • Is free from mold and contaminants
  • Smells fresh

7. Storage:

Store the homemade chicken feed in a cool, dry place. Use airtight containers to prevent moisture, which can lead to mold growth.

8. Trial and Monitor:

Start by offering small amounts and closely monitor your chickens for any changes in weight, egg production, and overall health.

9. Adjustments:

Based on the observations, adjust the ratios or ingredients as needed.

10. Consult a Veterinarian:

If you notice any health issues or you’re uncertain about the nutritional balance, consult a veterinarian for professional advice.

how to make chicken feed at home for broilers and layers laying hens

Why Make Your Own Chicken Feed?

Quality Control and Customization

One of the most compelling reasons to make your own chicken feed is the level of quality control and customization it offers. With store-bought feed, you’re often at the mercy of the manufacturer’s formula, which may include fillers or low-quality grains. When you make your own feed, you know exactly what goes into it. You can select high-quality grains, proteins, and supplements to ensure your chickens are getting the nutrients they need. Additionally, you can tailor the feed to meet the specific needs of your flock, whether you’re raising layers, broilers, or a mix.


Buying commercial feed can be expensive, especially if you have a large flock. Making your own feed can be a more cost-effective option in the long run. By purchasing raw materials in bulk, you can save a considerable amount of money. Moreover, the ability to customize the feed means you can make adjustments that optimize the feed-to-growth ratio, potentially reducing the amount of feed you need.

No Unwanted Additives

Commercial feeds often contain additives, preservatives, and sometimes even medication that you may not want to give to your chickens. Making your own feed allows you to keep these unwanted additives out, ensuring a more natural diet for your poultry.

Freshness Guaranteed

When you make feed at home, you’re guaranteed a fresh product. Commercial feeds can sit on store shelves or in warehouses for months, losing nutritional value over time. Freshly made feed ensures that your chickens are getting the maximum nutritional benefits, which can lead to better egg production, faster growth rates, and overall healthier birds.

Environmental Benefits

Making your own feed can also be more sustainable, especially if you source local ingredients. This not only supports local farmers but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting commercial feed over long distances.

Educational Value

Last but not least, the process of making your own chicken feed can be educational. It allows you to understand the nutritional needs of your chickens better and gives you a greater sense of involvement in your poultry operation. You’ll learn about different grains, proteins, and supplements, and how they impact the health and productivity of your flock.

how to make chicken feed for broilers at home

What are the Main Ingredients in Chicken Feed?

Chicken feed is a combination of several core components, each serving a specific purpose in the diet of the bird. Let’s delve deeper into the primary chicken feed ingredients and their roles:

Grains: The Energy Source


Corn is rich in carbohydrates and provides the energy chickens need for daily activities and growth. It is often the primary grain used in many feed mixes due to its high energy content.


Barley is another grain rich in carbohydrates but has less energy content compared to corn. It can be used as a partial substitute for corn and is often cheaper.


Oats are rich in fiber and can be included in smaller proportions. They are less energy-dense than corn and barley but add valuable nutrients and improve digestion.

Proteins: Building Blocks for Growth

Fish Meal

Fish meal is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids. It is highly digestible and promotes muscle development, making it particularly useful for broilers.


Soymeal is a plant-based protein source that is commonly used in chicken feed. It is less expensive than fish meal and is rich in essential amino acids.

Minerals: For Strong Bones and Eggshells


Calcium is crucial for laying hens as it helps in the formation of strong eggshells. It is often supplied through crushed oyster shells or limestone.


Phosphorus works in conjunction with calcium to build strong bones and produce high-quality eggs. It is usually present in most grains and protein sources but may be added separately for balance.

Vitamins: Boosting Immunity and Overall Health

Vitamin A

Essential for vision, growth, and immune function. It is usually supplemented in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate.

Vitamin D

Vital for calcium absorption, it ensures that the chickens develop strong bones and lay eggs with robust shells.

Vitamin E

An antioxidant that helps in preventing diseases and boosting overall immunity.

how to make chicken feed last longer time

Specialized Feeds: Layers vs. Broilers

Poultry farming often involves raising different types of chickens, each with its own specific nutritional needs. The most common types are layers, which are raised for egg production, and broilers, which are raised for meat. Let’s explore how the feed for these two categories differs:

Specialized Feed for Layers

Layers have unique nutritional requirements that differ from those of meat-producing chickens. Here’s what you need to know:

Higher Calcium Content

Calcium is crucial for eggshell formation. Therefore, layer feed often contains a higher percentage of calcium, usually sourced from crushed oyster shells or limestone.

Moderate Protein Levels

While layers need protein, they don’t require as much as broilers. A protein content of around 16-18% is generally sufficient.

Added Micronutrients

Layers benefit from micronutrients like manganese and zinc, which help improve eggshell quality. These are often included in specialized layer feeds.

Lower Fat Content

Layers are less active than broilers and, therefore, require less fat in their diet. A lower fat content helps prevent obesity, which can affect egg production.

Specialized Feed for Broilers

Broilers have a faster growth rate and therefore have different nutritional needs:

High Protein Content

Broilers require a higher protein content to support rapid muscle growth. The protein level in broiler feed is usually around 20-22%.

Energy-Dense Diet

Because they grow so quickly, broilers need a more energy-dense diet. This is often achieved by including more corn or other high-energy grains.

Added Amino Acids

Certain amino acids like lysine and methionine are essential for muscle development and are often added to broiler feeds.

Nutritional Phasing

Broilers often benefit from phased feeding programs, where the nutrient content is adjusted as the bird grows. For example, younger broilers may receive a starter feed with higher protein content, followed by a finisher feed that is more energy-dense.

how to make chicken feed layers and broilers

Extending Feed Shelf Life

One of the challenges that come with making your own chicken feed is ensuring that it stays fresh and nutritious for an extended period. A feed that has gone bad not only loses its nutritional value but could also pose health risks to your birds. Below are some effective strategies for extending the shelf life of your homemade chicken feed.

Use of Preservatives

Natural Preservatives

Natural preservatives like vinegar or citric acid can be used to extend the feed’s shelf life. They act as antimicrobial agents that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi in the feed.

Chemical Preservatives

Chemical preservatives like propionic acid or ethoxyquin can also be used but may not be suitable for those aiming for an all-natural feed.

Proper Storage Conditions

Airtight Containers

Storing your feed in airtight containers can significantly prolong its life by preventing moisture and pests from contaminating it.

Cool and Dry Environment

Moisture and heat can accelerate spoilage. Therefore, it’s crucial to store your feed in a cool, dry place. Basements or specialized feed storage rooms are often ideal for this purpose.

Ingredient Quality

Fresh Ingredients

The fresher the ingredients used to make the feed, the longer the feed will last. Always check the expiration dates on any supplements or ingredients you’re using.

Dry Ingredients

Using dry rather than wet ingredients can help extend shelf life. Wet ingredients can introduce moisture into the feed, which can lead to mold growth.

Periodic Quality Checks

Perform regular checks on the stored feed for any signs of spoilage such as mold, off smells, or pest infestation. Remove any contaminated feed immediately to prevent it from affecting the rest of the batch.

Feed Rotation

Always use the oldest feed first and add new feed to the back of your storage area. This rotation ensures that feed is used before it has a chance to spoil.

chicken feed broilers formulation

How to Make Chicken Feed Pellets

The pelleting process not only makes it easier for chickens to eat but also reduces waste and improves nutrient absorption. While making chicken feed pellets requires an initial investment in machinery, the long-term benefits can be significant. you can use a chicken feed pellet machine. Here’s a detailed guide on how to go about it:

Why Opt for Pelleted Feed?

Pelleted feed offers several advantages over traditional mash or crumbled feed:

  • Reduced Waste: Chickens are less likely to scatter pellets, minimizing feed waste.
  • Improved Digestibility: The pelleting process can make some nutrients more bioavailable to chickens.
  • Convenience: Pellets are easier to handle, store, and transport compared to mash.

Equipment Needed

The most crucial piece of equipment you’ll need is a pellet mill. Pellet mills come in different sizes and capacities, from small models for home use to industrial-grade mills. Here are some other essential tools:

  • Grinder: To grind ingredients into a fine powder before pelleting.
  • Mixer: To thoroughly mix all the ingredients.
  • Scales: For precise measurement of each ingredient.

Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Grind and mix your ingredients according to the feed formulation you’re using. Ensure a consistent, fine texture for better pelleting.

Step 2: Moisture Content

Check the moisture content of your mix; it should be around 12-15% for optimal pelleting. You can adjust the moisture by adding water or drying the mix.

Step 3: Feeding the Pellet Mill

Slowly feed the prepared mixture into the pellet mill. The machine will compress the feed into pellet form.

Step 4: Cooling and Drying

Freshly made pellets will be hot and soft. They need to be cooled and dried before they can be stored or fed to chickens.

Step 5: Storage

Once cooled, store your pellets in a cool, dry place, preferably in airtight containers to prevent moisture ingress.

how to make chicken feed at home

How to Make Chicken Feed Mash

Chicken feed mash is a type of feed that is neither pelleted nor crumbled but rather a fine, loose powder that can be fed directly to chickens. It’s an option for those who may not have access to a pellet mill or prefer a simpler feeding regimen. you can use a mash feed plant. Here’s how you can make your own chicken feed mash:

Advantages of Chicken Feed Mash

Before diving into the process, it’s important to understand why you might opt for mash over other feed forms:

  • Ease of Production: Making mash is straightforward and doesn’t require specialized equipment like a pellet mill.
  • Digestibility: Mash is easy for chickens to digest and can be particularly useful for younger birds that may struggle with larger pellet sizes.
  • Cost-Effective: Because you don’t need to invest in a pellet mill, making mash can be more cost-effective, at least initially.

Required Ingredients and Equipment


The ingredients remain the same as for other types of chicken feed, including grains like corn, barley, and oats; protein sources like fish meal and soymeal; and essential vitamins and minerals.


  • Grain Mill or Blender: To grind your grains and other ingredients into a fine powder.
  • Mixing Container: A large container to mix your ingredients.
  • Scales: To accurately measure your ingredients.

Step-by-Step Process

Step 1: Grinding

Use a chicken feed crusher to grind all your ingredients into a fine powder. The finer the grind, the easier it will be for your chickens to digest the feed.

Step 2: Mixing

Once all the ingredients are ground, transfer them to a large mixing container. Mix thoroughly to ensure an even distribution of nutrients.

Step 3: Nutrient Additions

If you’re adding vitamins and minerals in powdered form, this is the time to mix them in.

Step 4: Storage

Store the feed mash in a cool, dry place, preferably in an airtight container to prevent moisture from spoiling the feed.

how to make chicken feed mash

How to Make Chicken Feed Last Longer

Ensuring that your homemade chicken feed lasts as long as possible without losing its nutritional value is vital for effective poultry management. The following are strategies you can employ to make your chicken feed last longer:

Optimal Storage Practices

Controlled Temperature

Feed should be stored in a location where the temperature is controlled and remains relatively stable. Fluctuations in temperature can cause condensation, leading to mold growth in the feed.

Low Humidity Levels

High humidity can spoil chicken feed by promoting the growth of mold and bacteria. Consider using dehumidifiers in the storage area.

Use of Antioxidants

Adding natural antioxidants like vitamin E can help preserve the quality of the fats and oils in the feed, extending its shelf life.

Regular Inspections

Perform regular checks on your feed to look for any signs of spoilage like mold, clumps, or an off smell. Remove any feed that shows these signs to prevent it from contaminating the rest.

Portion Control

Only take out the amount of feed you will use in a short period. This reduces the chance of the feed getting wet or contaminated while it’s outside the storage area.

Quality of Ingredients

The quality of the ingredients you use will directly affect how long the feed lasts. Always use fresh, high-quality ingredients, and be cautious of the expiry dates on any supplements or additives you include.

Vacuum Sealing

For long-term storage, vacuum-sealing portions of the feed can be an effective way to extend its life. This removes air from the packaging, slowing down the oxidation process.

Feed Rotation

Always use the oldest stored feed first and add newly made feed to the back of your storage system. This “first-in, first-out” approach ensures that feed is used before it has a chance to spoil.

how to make chicken feed homemade at home

Nutritional Analysis: Homemade vs. Commercial Chicken Feed

When it comes to feeding your chickens, choosing between homemade and commercial feed involves a variety of factors, including convenience, cost, and nutritional content. This section aims to provide a detailed nutritional analysis comparing homemade and commercial feeds.

Homemade Chicken Feed

Nutritional Flexibility

One of the most significant advantages of homemade feed is the ability to tailor the nutritional profile to meet the specific needs of your flock. Whether you have layers, broilers, or both, you can adjust the levels of proteins, vitamins, and minerals accordingly.

No Fillers or Additives

Homemade feed is often free from fillers, artificial colors, and preservatives. This means that every ingredient serves a nutritional purpose.

Nutrient Composition (Average)

  • Protein: 16-22% (depending on the target, e.g., layers or broilers)
  • Fat: 3-5%
  • Fiber: 4-6%
  • Calcium: 2-4% (higher for layers)
  • Phosphorus: 0.45-0.9%

Commercial Chicken Feed

Consistent Nutrient Levels

Commercial feeds are formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of chickens at different life stages and are consistent in nutrient levels.

Additives and Preservatives

Commercial feeds often contain additives for better shelf life, and sometimes medicated feeds include antibiotics or other medications.

Nutrient Composition (Average)

  • Protein: 16-24% (depending on the type, e.g., starter, grower, finisher)
  • Fat: 2-6%
  • Fiber: 2.5-7%
  • Calcium: 0.9-3.5% (higher for layers)
  • Phosphorus: 0.45-0.9%

Comparative Analysis

  1. Protein Content: Both homemade and commercial feeds can meet protein requirements, but homemade feed allows for more control over the source of protein.
  2. Mineral Content: Homemade feed can be tailored to provide precise levels of essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus, especially beneficial for layers.
  3. Additives: Commercial feed often contains additives and preservatives that extend shelf life but may not be desirable for all poultry keepers.
  4. Cost: Homemade feed can be more cost-effective, especially if ingredients are bought in bulk, but requires time and effort to prepare.
  5. Convenience: Commercial feed is more convenient and saves time but may be more expensive in the long run.
how to make homemade chicken feed

Step-by-Step Recipes: Tailoring Your Chicken Feed

Chicken Layer Feed Recipe

IngredientAmount (lbs)
Soybean Meal25
Alfalfa Meal5
Fish Meal5
Calcium Carbonate (Oyster Shell)4

Chicken Broiler Feed Recipe

IngredientAmount (lbs)
Soybean Meal30
Fish Meal5
Bone Meal3
Vitamin and Mineral Premix1

Cost Analysis: Homemade Feed vs. Commercial Feed

The cost of chicken feed is a significant expense in poultry farming. In this section, we’ll analyze the approximate costs of making homemade feed compared to buying commercial feed. It’s important to note that these are general estimates and actual costs can vary based on location, supplier, and market conditions.

Homemade Feed Cost Analysis

Feed TypeCorn ($)Soybean Meal ($)Oats ($)Alfalfa Meal ($)Fish Meal ($)Calcium Carbonate ($)Bone Meal ($)Salt ($)Vitamin and Mineral Premix ($)Total Cost for 100 lbs ($)
Layer Feed20.006080240400125010001025.00
Broiler Feed16.675000400026710010001833.67

Commercial Feed Cost Analysis

Feed TypeCost for 50 lbs ($)Cost for 100 lbs ($)
Layer Feed3060
Broiler Feed3570

These tables provide a straightforward way to compare the costs involved in preparing homemade feed versus purchasing commercial feed. Keep in mind these are general estimates, and actual costs may vary based on location, quality of ingredients, and current market prices. but it should be cheaper to make your own chicken feed than buying chicken feed.

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