Choosing the best feed for your chickens
What’s the difference? Is there a nutritional difference for chicken pellets versus crumbles? Is one better for the nutrient requirements of my egg laying chickens?
You’ll be able to answer these questions (and which one you should choose) by the end of this article.
Are pellets good for chickens?
YES, chicken pellets are definitely good for chickens!
For both farming and backyard companions, chicken pellets are usually the primary source of chicken food. They help meet all the chickens’ protein and mineral requirements and make it easy for you to give out.
Even if chickens are free range and have access to plenty of gardens and paddocks, it is important for them to have daily chicken feed. This also applies if you are feeding them food scraps as this doesn’t always have high levels of digestible nutrients for them .
High quality poultry pellets contain essential vitamins and minerals for egg development, as well as protein like blood and bone meal for healthy growth and development throughout the different stages of their life.
The main determining factor in whether chicken pellets are good for chickens is
- The quality of the ingredients (levels of protein, calcium etc), and
- The age of the chicken
You might see both chicken pellets and chicken crumble available, so we are going through some of the main differences below.
Difference between pellets and crumbles feed
There are two main choices when picking the best chicken feed: pellets or crumble.
Pellets are small, solid chunks of chicken feed whereas crumble is a lot more broken and mismatched.
Nutritionally, chicken pellets and chicken crumble are almost identical. Therefore, it comes down to some other factors to decide between the two.
Your chooks normally aren’t picky about how food is served. They’re omnivores that will eat just about anything!
However, if for example you are feeding them pellets and they aren’t eating all of it, they might prefer the texture of crumble more (and vice versa).
If they have plenty of water and aren’t consuming around 120 to 140 grams per chicken per day, you might want to experiment with different feed textures.
Both pellets and crumble are made up of the same basic ingredients, but with a slightly different manufacturing process. Crumble is actually made from pellets, where manufacturers break it up even further. This can sometimes increase the price of crumble.
Pellets are hard and uniform in shape and can be easier to scoop, clean and store than crumble. In comparison, crumble can sometimes lead to more wastage.
In most cases, pellets and crumbles won’t have a massive taste variance. If your chooks show a preference for one or the other, it’s probably more to do with texture. For example, the varied shapes of crumble can make it more interesting to scratch for.
Chicken crumbles and chicken pellets are basically the same thing in different forms. The cost usually comes down to the quality of the chicken feed, not the shape. You may find that crumble is sometimes more expensive, but it is more important to keep an eye on how much your chickens are leaving uneaten on the ground.
When can chickens switch from crumbles to pellets?
Once chickens mature, they can switch to either crumbles or pellets. Both will provide the nutrients they need to produce.
Chickens start laying eggs from around 18 weeks old, so they will need pellets or crumble from around that time.
To encourage new laying hens, you can use chicken layer crumble to transition them into mash-based food if you have any chooks that are resistant.
At five weeks, most chickens are big enough to transition to pellets or crumble, however they will need a “grower” ration as they don’t need the same level of protein and calcium as layer hens.
Making a choice: crumbles or pellets?
The simple answer is that it is up to you! You can make a decision based on cost, efficiency, and the individual eating habits of your flock.
Pellets are usually easier to manage and usually create less waste, whereas crumble adds an “interest” factor for scratching chickens.
Rely on Sharpes farm feeds for the best chicken pellets and crumble
Looking for the best chicken feed for your flock? Sharpes have got you covered from chick to layer!
Our Hi-Lay Pellets and Hi-Lay Mash are a balanced and complete feed for maximum growth, health and egg production. We use meat and bone meal as an excellent source of protein, as well as a high quality combination of grains and minerals every chicken needs for optimal laying performance. It is perfect for all chicken strains including free range chooks and can be started as soon as they start laying.