What To Feed Chickens To Make Them Lay Eggs?

Hey there, chicken enthusiasts! If you’ve ever wondered what to feed your feathered friends to boost their egg-laying prowess, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of chicken nutrition and explore the best feed options to maximize those egg-cellent results. So, grab a cup of coffee, get cozy, and let’s crack this egg-citing topic wide open!

Now, we all know that chickens are natural-born egg layers. But did you know that their diet plays a crucial role in the quantity and quality of eggs they produce? It’s true! Just like us, chickens need a balanced and nutritious diet to thrive and reach their full egg-laying potential. So, whether you’re a seasoned chicken keeper or a newbie in the poultry game, understanding what to feed your feathered flock is key to a bountiful egg harvest.

So, cluck along as we explore the world of chicken feed. From protein-packed treats to essential vitamins and minerals, we’ll uncover the secrets to keeping your hens happy, healthy, and laying eggs aplenty. Whether you have a small backyard coop or a bustling farm, this article will provide you with the knowledge and tips you need to become a master at feeding chickens for egg production. So, let’s dive right in and discover the best-kept secrets to keeping those eggs rolling in!

What to Feed Chickens to Make Them Lay Eggs?

What to Feed Chickens to Make Them Lay Eggs?

Chickens are delightful creatures that provide us with fresh eggs. If you’re a backyard chicken enthusiast, you probably already know that a healthy diet plays a crucial role in ensuring your hens lay eggs consistently. In this article, we will explore the best foods to feed your chickens to maximize their egg-laying potential.

1. High-Quality Layer Feed

A well-balanced layer feed is the foundation of a chicken’s diet when it comes to egg production. Layer feeds are specifically formulated with the right blend of protein, vitamins, and minerals to support a hen’s reproductive system. Look for a feed that contains around 16% protein and is specifically labeled as “layer feed” or “egg-laying feed.” This ensures that your chickens are getting the necessary nutrients to lay healthy and abundant eggs.

It’s important to note that layer feed should be introduced when your chickens reach the point of lay, which is typically around 18-20 weeks of age. Before that, a starter or grower feed should be provided to support their overall growth and development. Additionally, ensure that the layer feed you choose is fresh and free from any signs of spoilage.

Benefits of High-Quality Layer Feed

Using a high-quality layer feed has several benefits for your chickens. Firstly, it provides them with the necessary nutrients to support egg production. The protein content in the feed aids in the formation of eggshells, while vitamins and minerals contribute to overall reproductive health. Secondly, layer feeds are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of laying hens, ensuring they receive all the essential nutrients in the right proportions.

Tips for Feeding Layer Feed

When feeding layer feed, it’s essential to ensure that your chickens have constant access to fresh water. Layer feeds can be fed in crumble or pellet form, depending on your preference and the size of your flock. Make sure to follow the recommended feeding guidelines provided by the manufacturer to avoid overfeeding or underfeeding.

2. Calcium-Rich Supplements

Calcium is a vital mineral for egg production, as it is the main component of eggshells. To ensure your chickens have enough calcium, you can provide them with supplemental sources such as crushed oyster shells or ground eggshells. These can be offered in a separate dish or mixed directly into their feed. Offering calcium-rich supplements alongside a balanced layer feed helps prevent calcium deficiencies and ensures strong, durable eggshells.

Benefits of Calcium-Rich Supplements

Supplementing with calcium-rich sources provides the necessary raw materials for hens to produce strong eggshells. Without sufficient calcium, eggshells may be thin, brittle, or misshapen, making them more prone to breakage. Additionally, calcium is also important for maintaining the overall health and vitality of your chickens.

Tips for Feeding Calcium-Rich Supplements

It’s crucial to offer calcium supplements separately from the layer feed to allow chickens to regulate their intake based on their individual needs. This prevents overconsumption, which can lead to health issues such as kidney damage. Keep the calcium supplement in a separate dish and monitor the consumption to ensure your chickens are getting the right amount.

3. Fresh Greens and Vegetables

In addition to their regular feed, chickens greatly benefit from the inclusion of fresh greens and vegetables in their diet. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce are packed with vitamins and minerals that support overall health and egg production. Vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes provide additional nutrients and serve as a source of enrichment for your flock.

Benefits of Fresh Greens and Vegetables

Including fresh greens and vegetables in your chickens’ diet provides them with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients contribute to their overall well-being and can enhance the quality of their eggs. Additionally, offering a variety of greens and vegetables adds diversity to their diet and keeps them mentally stimulated.

Tips for Feeding Fresh Greens and Vegetables

When offering fresh greens and vegetables, ensure that they are clean and free from pesticides or harmful substances. Chop or shred them into small, manageable pieces to make it easier for your chickens to consume. Remember to introduce new greens and vegetables gradually to prevent digestive upsets, and remove any uneaten portions to prevent spoilage.

4. Protein-Rich Treats

Providing your chickens with occasional protein-rich treats can be beneficial for egg production. Treats such as mealworms, earthworms, or cooked eggs are excellent sources of protein that can supplement their regular feed. Protein is essential for muscle development and plays a role in the production of eggs.

Benefits of Protein-Rich Treats

Including protein-rich treats in your chickens’ diet can enhance their overall protein intake, which is necessary for egg production. Protein supports the growth and repair of tissues, including the reproductive system. By offering these treats, you ensure that your hens have access to additional protein sources that can contribute to healthy egg production.

Tips for Feeding Protein-Rich Treats

Protein-rich treats should be given in moderation, as they should not replace the balanced layer feed. Treats can be offered as a reward or as a source of enrichment, but they should not exceed 10% of your chickens’ daily diet. Remember to choose high-quality treats and avoid any that may contain harmful additives or preservatives.

5. Fresh, Clean Water

Water is a vital component of a chicken’s diet and plays a crucial role in egg production. Chickens should always have access to fresh, clean water throughout the day. Water helps with digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall hydration, which are essential for optimal egg-laying.

Benefits of Fresh, Clean Water

Providing fresh, clean water to your chickens ensures their overall health and well-being. Adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining egg production and preventing issues such as egg binding. Water also helps regulate body temperature and aids in the transportation of nutrients throughout the body.

Tips for Providing Fresh, Clean Water

Check your chickens’ water supply daily to ensure it is clean and free from any contaminants. Clean and refill waterers regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria or algae. During hot weather, consider providing additional water sources or adding electrolytes to support hydration.

Additional Considerations for Optimal Egg Production

In addition to their diet, there are several factors to consider for optimal egg production from your chickens. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

1. Provide Adequate Lighting

Chickens rely on the presence of light to regulate their egg-laying cycle. Ensure that your coop or chicken run receives enough natural light during the day. If natural light is insufficient, consider installing artificial lighting to provide a minimum of 14-16 hours of light per day. This helps simulate longer daylight hours, which can stimulate egg production.

2. Maintain a Clean and Stress-Free Environment

A clean and stress-free environment is essential for healthy egg production. Regularly clean the coop to remove any waste or debris that can attract pests or harbor bacteria. Provide ample space for your chickens to move around and engage in natural behaviors. Minimize stressors such as loud noises or sudden changes in their environment, as stress can disrupt egg-laying patterns.

3. Practice Regular Egg Collection

Collecting eggs regularly not only prevents them from being damaged or soiled but also encourages your hens to continue laying. Leaving eggs in the nest for too long can prompt broodiness or discourage hens from laying in their designated nesting boxes. Aim to collect eggs at least once or twice a day to maintain a consistent laying routine.


Feeding your chickens a nutritious and balanced diet is key to ensuring optimal egg production. By providing them with high-quality layer feed, calcium supplements, fresh greens and vegetables, protein-rich treats, and access to clean water, you are setting the foundation for healthy, abundant eggs. Remember to consider other factors such as lighting, a clean environment, and regular egg collection to maximize your chickens’ egg-laying potential. With proper care and attention to their dietary needs, your chickens will reward you with delicious eggs for years to come.

Key Takeaways: What to Feed Chickens to Make Them Lay Eggs?

  • Provide a balanced diet: Chickens need a combination of grains, protein, and vitamins to lay eggs.
  • Include calcium-rich foods: Calcium is essential for strong eggshells, so feed them crushed oyster shells or eggshells.
  • Offer plenty of fresh water: Hydration is crucial for egg production, so ensure a clean and accessible water source.
  • Include greens and vegetables: Adding leafy greens and veggies to their diet provides essential vitamins and nutrients.
  • Avoid toxic foods: Keep chickens away from chocolate, caffeine, and avocado, as they can be harmful to them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are the essential nutrients for chickens to lay eggs?

Chickens require a balanced diet to produce high-quality eggs consistently. The essential nutrients for egg-laying chickens include protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Protein is particularly important as it supports egg production and feather growth. You can provide protein to your chickens through sources like soybean meal, fish meal, or even dried insects.

In addition to protein, chickens also need carbohydrates for energy. Common carbohydrate sources include corn, wheat, and oats. Fats, on the other hand, help in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and provide energy. You can incorporate fats into the diet by including vegetable oils or animal fats.

2. What should I include in the diet to boost egg production?

To boost egg production, you can include certain ingredients in your chickens’ diet. One such ingredient is calcium. Chickens need calcium to form strong eggshells. You can provide calcium to your chickens by offering crushed oyster shells or providing them with access to a separate container of calcium supplements.

Another important component to consider is omega-3 fatty acids. These are known to improve the nutritional value of eggs. You can feed your chickens flaxseed or fish oil to increase the omega-3 content in their eggs. Additionally, ensuring a consistent supply of fresh water, a clean and stress-free environment, and regular exercise can also contribute to improved egg production.

3. Can I feed my chickens table scraps to encourage egg-laying?

While chickens can consume some table scraps, it’s important to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Table scraps alone may not provide all the necessary nutrients for optimal egg production. However, you can supplement their diet with occasional table scraps that are safe for chickens to consume.

Ensure that the table scraps are free from any harmful substances such as excessive salt, spices, or foods that are toxic to chickens, like avocado or chocolate. It’s best to stick to healthy options like vegetable peels, fruit scraps, or cooked grains. Remember to offer table scraps as a treat and not as a primary source of nutrition.

4. Should I offer my chickens additional supplements?

In general, if you are feeding your chickens a well-balanced diet, additional supplements may not be necessary. However, there are certain situations where supplements can be beneficial. One example is during molting, when chickens require additional protein to support feather regrowth. You can provide them with a high-protein supplement during this period.

Another instance where supplements may be beneficial is when there are specific deficiencies identified in your flock. In such cases, consult with a veterinarian or poultry nutritionist who can recommend the appropriate supplements to address the deficiencies.

5. Can I feed my chickens solely on grains?

While grains are an important component of a chicken’s diet, feeding them solely on grains may not provide a well-rounded nutritional profile. Grains are high in carbohydrates but may lack sufficient protein and other essential nutrients. It’s important to offer a varied diet that includes a balance of grains, protein sources, fruits, vegetables, and supplements.

A diet solely based on grains can lead to nutritional deficiencies and impact egg production. By providing a diverse range of ingredients, you ensure that your chickens receive all the necessary nutrients to lay healthy and abundant eggs.

What to feed your chickens so they lay eggs year round.

Final Thoughts: The Key to Getting Your Chickens to Lay Eggs Lies in Their Diet

When it comes to getting chickens to lay eggs, the old saying “you are what you eat” couldn’t be more true. The diet you provide for your feathered friends plays a crucial role in their egg-laying capabilities. In this article, we’ve explored various factors that affect egg production and discussed the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet for your chickens.

To optimize egg production, it’s vital to ensure that your chickens receive a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of nutrients. Incorporating high-quality protein sources, such as soybean meal or fish meal, can help meet their protein requirements, which are essential for egg development. Additionally, providing an ample supply of calcium-rich foods, like crushed oyster shells or ground limestone, promotes strong eggshells and prevents calcium deficiencies. Don’t forget to add in some fresh greens and vegetables to supply essential vitamins and minerals, and ensure that your chickens have access to clean water at all times.

Remember, a happy and healthy chicken is more likely to lay eggs consistently. So, along with a nutritious diet, make sure your chickens have plenty of space to roam, access to natural light, and a clean and comfortable coop. By taking good care of your feathered friends and providing them with the right nourishment, you’ll be rewarded with a bountiful supply of fresh eggs.

In conclusion, understanding the importance of a well-balanced diet for chickens is the key to ensuring optimal egg production. By providing your chickens with the right nutrients, you can support their overall health and encourage them to lay eggs regularly. So, go ahead and give your feathered friends the best diet possible, and enjoy the satisfaction of collecting delicious, farm-fresh eggs straight from your own backyard.

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