How to Make Chicken Starter Feed

Homemade chick starter is a safe alternative to commerical feeds.
Homemade chick starter is a safe alternative to commerical feeds. (Image: Chicks image by Remlap from

Chickens are no longer seen as just farm animals. They are easy to care for and have docile temperaments that have increased their popularity as pets. Even the most novice bird enthusiasts can raise baby chickens, as they need very little to thrive. Chicken starter feed is an essential part of raising chickens, and making your own starter feed allows you to control what your chickens are eating.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 lbs. cracked corn
  • Large coffee grinder
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 1/2 lb. rolled oats
  • 1/2 lb. alfalfa hay
  • 1/2 lb. fresh soybeans
  • Mixing spoon
  • 1 lb. fish meal
  • 1/4 lb. poultry vitamins
  • 2 lbs. wheat bran
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • Cookie sheet
  • Oven
  • Plastic storage container

Place 2 lbs. cracked corn in a large coffee grinder and grind until the corn is mainly powdered. Small, pebble-sized chunks of unchopped corn is fine, as the chicks will still be able to digest it. Pour the corn into a large mixing bowl.

Add the oats, alfalfa hay and soybeans to the grinder, and process until smooth. The oats add fiber, while the soybeans and hay add vitamins and proteins essential for proper growth. Scoop the mixture into the bowl with the corn.

Pour 1 lb. fish meal into the bowl, along with 1/4 lb. powdered poultry vitamins. Mix the items in the bowl with your hands to combine. Fish meal adds protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids to the starter, while poultry vitamins round out the starter and add some nutrients that might otherwise be lacking in the mixture.

Add 2 lbs. wheat bran, 6 whole eggs and 3 cups milk to the bowl and mix until the mixture resembles thick oatmeal. Use your hands to combine the mixture, as this distributes the ingredients more evenly than a spoon would.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and pour the starter mix in thin layers onto cookie sheets, with each layer no more than 1-inch thick. Leave each cookie sheet in the oven for a minimum of 3 hours, or until the starter cracks when tapped with a spoon.

Remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool completely on the counter. Break the starter into small chunks with your hands, then place the chunks in the grinder and pulse them to turn the starter into small crumbles. Transfer the crumbled starter to a plastic storage container and store in a cool, dry place between feedings.

Tips & Warnings

  • All of the ingredients in this chick starter can be purchased at either a farm and ranch store or a vitamin shop.

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