Best chicken feed

Best chicken feed is allowing them to range freely for your organic eggs.

Research done at Penn State university found that the eggs of chickens raised on grass pastures, with clover and alfalfa, all had about three times the omega-3 compared to those in cages on a typical corn diet.

Of interest to chiropractors like Dr Bernard Preston, eggs and chicken meat rich in omega-3 means less inflammation in the body; fewer painful joints and muscles.

To the heart surgeon it means less angry, red blood vessels; and to the rheumatologist fewer auto immune disease patients.

Prevention is the name of the game; before you get nasty diseases like type I diabetes or lupus.

The incidence of these serious conditions continue to soar despite medical and chiropractic interventions.

Corn in flower is in itself a miracle to behold; it will provide most of the feed for chickens, both commercial and free range.

Corn on the plant

This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 4th January, 2023.

Vegetable protein-rich alfalfa was the best for the birds with 25 percent more omega-3 than those on grasses alone, but the latter still far exceeded the corn fed caged hens.

In addition, those free range chickens had twice as much vitamin E.

And 40 percent more vitamin A; hence the brightly coloured yolks.

I like to toss our young but mature maize on the cob to our hens; that is definitely not the same as the food that corn fed caged birds get.

How to grow corn is an important subject if you are interested in best chicken feed. Every summer at least half the veggie garden is taken up by mealies, as we call them in South Africa. Right now it is midsummer and they are in full flower. We have at least 600 plants; notice how many have two and even three cobs forming; enough for us and the birds.

Corn in flower

Depression and anxiety

What on earth has best chicken feed to to do with depression and anxiety you may well ask.

Plenty say the researchers. Dr Karen Swartz, director of the mood disorders clinic at Johns Hopkins university states that low levels of omega-3 has been associated with depression and anxiety. Eating more fatty fish and free range eggs is part of the solution; freshly ground flax seeds too.

Best chicken feed

Best chicken feed for brightly coloured yolks should ideally include legumes like alfalfa and clover; if they spy your green beans you can be sure they will not hesitate to sample them. Rich sources like these of choline are important for the best eggs.

Of concern for the gardener, your free range chickens just love the green beans and peas in your veggie patch. Again, it is the vegetable protein that they are enjoying, and of course are passing the benefits of that on to you via their eggs.

The simple solution is to grow pole beans in the garden; they are less likely to hack them.

Eggs are the fourth highest protein source in most Western countries and so naturally, ensuring that the omega 6 to 3 ratio is low is vitally important to reduce inflammation in your body. Moving to nutritious choice foods means less pain and fewer doctors' bills.

Corn is rich in omega-6 so the typical egg from a battery has a very bad 6/3 ratio.

It is high in omega-6 and low in 3.

If you watch your hens in the typical vegetable garden, you will soon notice that as far as they are concerned the best chicken feed is to be found in the mulch under your plants.

They just love the grubs, worms and snails that are lurking there, scratching vigorously and pecking at tiny often unseen bugs; their eyesight is a good deal keener than ours, thanks in part to the lutein and zeaxanthin that they have much better access to than we do. They need the protein. 

Corn to supplement their scratching for food is also a good thing naturally. Those who know how to grow maize will add the odd cob, or better still slice the pips off as they tend to trample the whole ear in the mud.

So, in summary, your best chicken feed for golden-orange yolked eggs, high in omega-3 should include a starch such as corn, wheat or barley, a vegetable protein such as alfalfa, plenty of grass and the insects found in every garden.

Many of these bugs damage your vegetables, so keeping your own hens is an excellent way to harmonise with nature, allowing you to avoid the use of toxic organic sprays; despite the best will in the world, those poisons certainly find their way into your body.

The organic gardener uses zero of these organophosphates that are so toxic to the birds and bees, and also to us.

The other great benefit, of course, is that your chickens will fertilise your garden with their droppings.

Chicken tractor

The chicken tractor gives you more control over your birds, allowing you to make sure they do not attack your precious salad vegetables, and that they clean up after a crop; natural pest control.

I like to run the chicken tractor along the bean fence where devastating Mexican bean beetle larvae are lurking once the crop is over, waiting to attack your legumes again next spring; it has been partly successful and we have had a reasonably normal bean crop again. 

This is one chicken tractor design, but there are many that will be satisfactory for you; they must be easy to make; our first was rather heavy to move; the later model has much lighter steel. The question to focus on is whether you want your hens to live permanently in the tractor; we did that first, and believe it was a mistake. 

The tractor enables you to maximise on the best chicken feed whilst minimising the damage the birds might cause to your garden. Actually we have been very pleasantly surprised just how little havoc they have caused.

They trample on a few seedlings, take a peck here and there but on the whole prefer the weeds to your veggies; that's not entirely true; right now our kale is under the beak.

We have a clover patch growing in the garden where the chooks like to harvest extra vegetable protein. So too the purslane plant, rich in omega-3 that the hens love.

A chicken tractor is a fine instrument but in our experience not a substitute for simple chicken coops; you need one of them too to keep marauders and the elements out.

Every garden needs nitrogen; one hen will provide enough from its poo to a 5 square metre garden in a month. Four chickens will do it in a week. Grow some legumes every year, and you really don't need inorganic nitrates.

Chicken tractor land

This is what your land will look like once the tractor has been hauled over it. The roughage has been raked up and will taken to the compost heap; it's rich in chicken manure and perfect for making humus.

There was corn here prior to moving the chicken tractor in; now we will plant peas.

Of course it is not only we who love corn, green beans and peas; we will be sharing them with the hens, in exchange for their beautiful omega-3 rich eggs. That means less inflammation in the body, and fewer painful joints and muscles.

Starting a compost pile is for every organic garden, and contributes greatly to protein in best chicken feed. The hens will spend hours pecking away for grubs and worms.

Worm farms

The wonder of worm farms is a topic that harmonises with best chicken feed; the hens just love a gourmet meal when you clean out the tank. Their eyes can pick out tiny grubs that we have missed; and cutworms too.

This is natural pest management at its best.

hens enjoying a gourmet wormfarm meal

If you plan to keep your hens in the chicken tractor then my advice is never to let them out; once you see the birds foraging in the garden, you're less likely to cage them again, at least on a permanent basis.

We do keep them in the chicken tractor periodically when there are vulnerable seedlings in the garden; or hawks looking for their breakfast.


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The plus is that they will not scratch out your seedlings; the downside is that you will have to feed them more and they will not enjoy the rich variety of food in your garden.

We have come to a compromise; the area is now split by a fence with a gate. The one side is actively gardened, and the other belongs to the hens. Once the seedlings are established, we'll swap.

In general with the exception of green beans, kale and broccoli, the chooks don't seem to attack your veggies with a vengeance; but they will scratch out the seedlings in search of worms in the compost you have planted them in. Well, that is what I thought initially. Once winter sets in and there are fewer vegetables available, they will eat anything, including your cauliflower and lettuce. 

Today I opened a compost heap; just look at them tucking in; this is their best chicken feed as they forage for earthworms.

Hens in the compost heap

Chickens need greens

Like us, the hens need greens too. I am not expert in best chicken feed but what strikes me is how they absolutely adore little creepy crawlies like snails, worms and grasshopper; but they love spinach and kale too.

You can keep them caged in as the chicken industry does, and your tractor too, but if you let your hens out they seem to know that broccoli and kale are the queens of the greens.

You can pretty much feed your chickens anything you would eat, except maybe junk food. They do not need that any more than you do.

- Justin Rhodes

Actually these are cauliflower and broccoli, I'm not sure which is which. Clearly the caged hen, is a deprived chicken. It is little wonder that our truly free range eggs are so wonderful. They are just one more reason why we can enjoy a life without medication.

However we first had to split our veggie garden in half, and now in five; three for the hens, and the other two for us. Once the corn is established, then we swap pens. We're still on a learning curve; they are welcome to share our greens, but not to have it all. The caged bird has zero access to fresh greens.

Hell hath no fury like a woman who has had her plants attacked by your hens.

Chickens need greens too

We've taken this a step further; a third and fourth chicken run, the largest of which is a thousand square feet.

One of the beauties of the green life is the learning of new skills; it's meant learning how to put up a proper vegetable garden fence. For that I needed to purchase a puller to get the wires properly tight; you could do it too.

Steel gate design and fence

It is amazing that you can put up fifty metres of fence, and the poles and gate for less than a hundred dollars; well, I did have to learn to weld too along the way. That also does not need a diploma in higher mathematics. The chickens love to lie in this corner in the winter sun; it is the best life and the eggs are amazing.

Hens need yellows

Hens need yellows too; it is interesting their very choicest foods are legumes and kale, but yellows like papaya, tomatoes and butternut and carrots are high on their agenda too; the latter have to be cooked.

Best chicken feed is a highly scientific business in large scale farming, but like humans given access to widely divergent coloured foods they will get what they need for optimum nutrition; far better than our best science can do.

I find it interesting that our four-year old hens, raised on best chicken feed from our garden, many colours but not scientifically formulated, are still laying at least four eggs a week in their dotage. In barns they are slaughtered at a year as their egg laying falls off.

Lutein best chicken food


The chicken industry cheats by adding yellow colouring to the feed of their hens to fool us that they are free range. But varied foods are important, both for their eyesight and ours; the macula of the eye is where colours and fine discrimination are detected; it's where two vitally important phytochemicals called lutein and zeaxanthin are found in very high concentration.

They are found in the brightly coloured vegetables like kale, fresh corn and zucchini squash.

If you have ever weeded with a hen in the garden, you soon realise they can see tiny creatures that are beyond our eyes.

The macula of the eye is where a very rich supply of that carotene called lutein is found; it absorbes the damaging high frequency blue light entering the eye, giving the macula its yellow colour.

A deficiency of lutein means almost certain macular degeneration and cataracts; the best source by far is kale, but also greens like broccoli, spinach and the yellows like butternut; and egg yolks.

There are five million Americans needlessly blind from a dietary lutein deficiency. Enjoying eggs from hens that can range freely is vital for our eyes; interestingly it is the kale and broccoli in our garden, cooked butternut and squash, and the legumes, that the chickens love most; I mustn't forget the cockerel. 

Read more about how you can avoid lutein macular degeneration, and cataracts too.

Hens love reds

Baby tomatoes are one of our best chicken feed loves; well, for some reason, Boomer is not much interested, but hens love reds. They grab a fruit and beetle off so none of their feathered friends can steal it; it's cute to watch.

I have not seen any research that best chicken feed that includes tomatoes increases the beta sitosterol in the eggs; that is the phytosterol that reduces a prostate malignancy by 50 percent in men who enjoy the fruit every day. But I would be surprised if it does not.

There is strong research by the way. Ladies, if you want your man around when you are old and grey, make sure he gets a tomato every day; cooked is even better apparently. If you do not want him around, and he refuses to eat the mushrooms, then deprive him of tomatoes!

Tomato prostate is a topic every housewife should be well versed in. Find it using the site search function in the navigation bar on your left.

They almost certainly prevent tumours in women too, but there is just no research proving it, or which kind.

Wheat for your hens

Wheat corn mash for hens

Wheat for your hens will give their best chicken feed a leg up; unlike corn, it is an excellent source of choline and betaine and I'm sure you know that eggs are the best.

Hens deficient in good choline food sources are of course also not going to produce the best eggs. The growing chick, and the baby human foetus, are utterly dependent on this very important vitamin for normal neural tube and brain development.

There is some choline in the alfalfa which is usually added to the commercial feed, but free range hens have access to all the other greens; read more about choline food sources.

Wheat corn mash bowl

Little doubt they approve, eh.

Hens need choline and betaine just as humans do.

Choline is converted to betaine, so the latter is not considered a true vitamin. It's essential however as an enzyme involved in the methylation of toxic homocysteine.

For their well-being both hens and humans need ample choline, or betaine in their food.

Hens are luckier actually; animal nutritionists make certain they are getting ample in their feed, whereas the average Western human get less than fifty percent of the required daily requirement. It is one of the many reasons why chickens are stronger than humans, and they have few birth defects.

I doubt any poultry farmers are reading this to improve their hens' diets but, if you are interested, these questions regarding choline in poultry diets are well answered.

Chickens in the garden are such fun; let us get started.

Hens corn wheat mash

Bernard Preston

Bernard Preston is a semi-retired DC with a passion for good living. Yes, it takes time and energy to grow your own vegetables and fruit, keep your own bees and be thinking about subjects like best chicken feed.

The benefits are enormous; getting back to nature is soothing to the spirit and very soon you will be able to dump those anti-inflammatory drugs; there is a strong inverse correlation between exercise and cholesterol, so the statins will with luck go too.

It is well over a year since either she who must be obeyed or I took drugs of any sort; not even an aspirin. A life without medication is a realistic possibility for those who focus on backyard permaculture.

It is interesting that eggs are once more being allowed in the heart-friendly diet.

Best crowned eagle feed

Crowned eagle juvenile eyeing best chicken feed

Every person who has live stock must consider predators; ours turned out to be a beautiful and rare raptor. A juvenile checked in for breakfast this week. We're sad about the loss of Snowy; but she made best crowned eagle feed; she was so visible on the landscape and a tempting feast.

Chicken catastrophe

That is all that is left of Snowy; now the hens are confined to quarters in the winter unless we are working in the garden. Her remains went to the worm farm; they I am sure rejoiced too.

Actually we've only lost hens to eagles in the winter months; this summer we have had no trouble.

A hen is in effect processed best chicken feed; we approved of her eggs. She herself made best crowned eagle feed.


Having to feed them more vegetables Helen and I pay weekly visits to the greengrocer; we bring home a mountain of best chicken feed for the hens; but quite a lot of it goes straight to the worm farms.

The hens particularly like over ripe fruit like tomatoes and melons.

A large part of the permaculture philosophy is activities like operation end waste; a quarter of the food grown is never actually eaten; much of it is tossed by the supermarkets, but is quite suitable for the hens and worms. In fact, Second Harvest reckons much of it is fine for us too.

According to the Gassamer foundation some 17 percent of the average family's trash consists of food; rather give it to the hens, they will eat almost anything, or the worms that will consume everything you toss at them.

Trust me, I am a worm farmer too.

Free-range eggs

Free-range eggs are of course what best chicken feed is all about.

I find it interesting that various sites state that you can expect about four eggs a week, yet we get a full house most days. That's because of worm farms, and plenty of greens and yellows, and corn on the cob.

I'm sure a low stress existence and a fulfilled sex life has something to do with it too!

Rooster as randy as Rhett Butler.

She also decided she had better start a "basse-cour.'" Have some fowls and a good masterful cock to keep them in order.

- For Love of a Rose

If you have not read it, get a copy; by Antonia Ridge. It is a simply wonderful read; cheap on Amazon.

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you ever need."

- Marcus Cicero, Roman politician, lawyer and orator

Plenty of omega-3 in your diet incidentally will help reduce the chances of you getting arthritis; that's why the chiropractor is so interested; that means you will not be needing to waste your time reading up on spinal stenosis explanation; or suffering from the pain it causes. 

choice foods

Nutritious choice foods must include free-range eggs and, if you are going to keep your own hens, then best chicken feed comes to the fore.

Eggs and particular those that are pasture-fed are the best source of the vitamin choline. A deficiency has a devastating effect on our wellbeing; the average American diet contains only 50% of our needs. It is part of the most important pathway to methylate homocysteine, a toxic protein breakdown product.

We either make the effort to obtain and consume nutritious choice foods, or we will spend far more energy and money consulting doctors every week; and dying long before our time.

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa