Feeding Vegetables to Backyard Chickens

Feeding Vegetables to Backyard Chickens

Best Vegetables for Healthy Chickens

Most backyard chicken farmers provide their chickens with pre-ordered chicken feed which is fast and easy, providing your chickens with the nutrition needed to grow and flourish. However, to keep your chickens in prime condition, maintain healthy egg production, and flourishing plumage, we recommend adding some vegetables to your chicken's diet. Once your chicks reach two months of age, they will develop an appetite for vegetables, and  will eat many common vegetables, although a few stand out as favorites which are preferred by most chicken breeds. The list below provides the best vegetables to maintain healthy backyard chickens:

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds have been shows to increase growth performance for young chickens as an ideal dietary supplement addition, helping them to reach full maturity and weight. This holiday season, consider pumpkin seed supplements for your chicken's diet, which will help to maintain weight and will serve to insulate, especially during the winter months in colder climates. 


Adding spinach greens to your backyard chicken's diet will boost their supply of Vitamin A and Vitamin C which are antioxidants essential for promoting healthy skin and immune system functions. Additionally, spinach will provide your chickens with essential folic acid, calcium, and iron. Many backyard chickens will eat spinach whole, although you can also chop up spinach to add to your chicken feed.


Cabbage provides antioxidants and selenium to your chickens to boost their immune system. Cabbage is an all-time favorite for most chicken breeds! In fact, studies show that selenium from cabbage is highly bioavailable and may improve chickens immune system. 


Broccoli is an excellent antioxidant for your chicken's diet, serving as an favorite vegetable for your chickens, which can be served whole or chopped. Additionally, broccoli extract may effect the antioxidant response element in broiler chickens, which may serve to reduce oxidative stress and improve the health of farm animals. 

Red Pepper

For backyard farmers looking for extraordinary egg yolk color, red pepper dietary supplement may help to improve egg yolk color quality. This is important for backyard chicken owners that produce eggs for personal consumption, as red pepper supplement for chicken diet may improve the egg yolk colorant quality of your eggs. 

Read More
How to Raise Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions

How to Raise Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions

How to Raise Happy Chickens- Frequently Asked Questions

A chicken egg a day keeps the doctor away! Depending on your breed, your chickens will behave differently. More broody and guarding chicken breeds tend to be more stubborn and reluctant, such as the cochin, orpington, brahma and Sussex. While other breeds are more friendly and docile, such as the rhode island redeaster eggerblack australorp, and jersey giant. Depending on your desired egg quality and production, we recommend selecting a chicken breed that meets your interest. Here are a few helpful answers to some frequently asked questions to guide you through chicken breed selection.

Can I Have Chickens if I Have a Dog and Cat?

Yes! Although you will need to keep your chicks separate from family pets until they are adults, many proud backyard chicken owners also have dogs, cats, horses, llamas, cows, and more! Although we do recommend that you keep dogs on a leash when introducing them to your new backyard chickens, a slow process until they recognize each other will help to reduce social anxiety.

Can chickens ship safely?

Yes, day old chicks ordered through californiahatchery.com are shipped via USPS and are shipped with packaging to survive for several days to anywhere in the continental United States. Believe it or not, day old chicks thrive in warmer temperatures, so you don’t need to worry if the summertime temperatures are high, you’re chicks will be just fine during transit. Additionally, we include instructions for your local post office to call you when you’re chicks arrive, so you can pick them up immediately. We advise that you provide them with sugar water upon arrival, as this really helps them rejuvenate after their journey.

Is it hard to raise chickens?

Raising backyard chickens requires a small time commitment, to anything from feeding, watering, and cleaning, although the work is worth the effort. In the end, the health benefits from fresh backyard eggs goes way beyond the work. In the morning, you will need to let your chickens out of their coop, and provide them with fresh water and feed. At night, we recommend that you lock your chickens inside their coop to protect them from predators. We highly recommend cleaning your chick bedding from their coop once a week, and also that your rinse their feed and water dishes as well.

How much does it cost to have chickens?

Believe it or not, chickens are less expensive than most typical household pets. A 50 lbs. bag of chick layer developed feed costs $65 (including shipping) through californiahatchery.com, which provide enough feed for six chickens for one month. Chicken maintenance is fairly easy, as long as you provide your chickens with shelter, food, and water, you can enjoy fresh chicken eggs every morning. By far, the biggest investment will be your chicken coop, which is more affordable when you build on your own, or you can purchase a chicken coop for as low as $200. On rare occasions, you may need to provide veterinary care to your chickens (a listing of avian vets can be found on tillysnest.com). 

Do I need a rooster?

No, you do not need a rooster for your hens to lay eggs. Generally, you will only need a rooster if you want your eggs to hatch. However, if you’re looking for the morning ‘cock a doodle doooooo’ at sunrise, then you may want a rooster to have a traditional farm experience. Fortunately, we offer a guarantee when you select the sex of your breed, so you can be assured that 99% of chicks shipped are sexed accurately.

How Many Days do Backyard Chicken Eggs Stay Fresh?

We recommend that you collect your backyard hens eggs daily, although the eggs should be considered fresh even after several days. After you wash chicken eggs, we recommend that you refrigerate them immediately.

Happy Chickening!


Read More

Vitamins and Electrolytes for Day Old Chicks and Chickens

One of the most common questions customers ask is how they can rejuvenate their day old chicks after they arrive. We typically recommend that our customers provide their day old chicks with some sugar water, as this will give them some energy after their journey to your local post office. However, to ensure they receive top notch care after delivery, our customers now have the option to add a chick energy vital-pack to their order that can be sent along with their chicks. This will ensure that you can immediately provide your young chicks with an optimal blend of vitamins and electrolytes as soon as they arrive, and you can continue to provide them with these nutrients throughout adulthood (following directions for use). The chick energy vital-pack comes in a powder form that is added to water at a concentration of 1/10 teaspoon per gallon of water. The chick energy vital-pack will include enough powder to make approximately 250 gallons of vitamin/electrolyte solution. 

What are the Benefits of Vitamin Supplementation for Chicks and Chickens?
Vitamin A- Lack of vitamin A in a chick's diet may increase the chances of poor appetite, poor growth, and overall weakness. In adult chickens, lack of Vitamin A may lead to decreased egg production. It is always a good idea to supplement your chicken's diet with sweet potatoes, broccoli, spinach, and tomatoes to provide an additional source of vitamin A. Additionally, because day old chicks are not yet accustomed to these foods, it is always a good idea to mix their water with the chick energy vital-pack, to ensure they receive adequate vitamins and electrolytes. (Click "Read More" to continue to full article)

Read More
Feed and Nutrition for Ducks

Feed and Nutrition for Ducks

Feed and Nutrition for Ducks Young ducklings require water, carbohydrates, and protein in order to survive before and after they are delivered to you. In order to provide proper nutrition for your ducklings during shipment, we recommend orderering Gro-Gel which we will include for your ducklings to eat while in transit.

What is Gro-Gel?
Gro-Gel is a special formula that has a jello-like consistency with a vibrant green color, designed for day old ducklings to enhance the development of their immune and gastrointestinal systems. It is prepared and attached to a plastic trough during shipment, so that your ducklings can receive proper nutrition during shipment. Gro-Gel will hydrate and provide nutrition to your ducklings during shipment. Gro-Gel contains grains, proteins, fish-by products, vitamins, and amino acids. Gro-Gel will reduce the stresses of shipping and travel for your ducklings.

Gro-Gel can be added to your order of ducklings during checkout. We recommend ordering 1 pack for every six ducklings in your order.

What to Feed Day Old Ducklings?
After your ducklings arrive, feed them duck starter feed to provide proper nutrition. Duck starter feed should contain the right amounts of proteins and vitamins. Plan on ten ducklings eating about a pound of duck starter feed per day. Make sure to always provide water for your ducklings as well.

What to Feed Young Ducks?

After your ducklings are 4 weeks old, we recommend transitioning to duck maintainer feed. Duck maintainer feed should be slowly added to duckling starter feed for the first week to make the transition from duck starter to duck maintainer feed. Duck maintainer feed should be fed to your ducklings until they start laying eggs, once your ducklings start laying you should transition to duck mash feed.

What to Feed Adult Ducks?
Duck mash feed should be fed to your ducks as soon as they start laying eggs. You may also supplement duck mash feed with calcium or osyster shell supplement depending on the density of the egg shells your ducklings are laying.

Duck feed for ducks of all ages can be purchased at californiahatchery.com!

Read More
What to Feed Chickens

What to Feed Chickens

Chickens require different kinds of feed at different stages in their life. Chickens are omnivores, which means they will eat just about anything from worms, vegetablkes, fruits, flowers, and grass. However, you should consider feeding your chickens feed with the proper amount of protein and nutrients designed to keep your chickens healthy.

To get started, we have listed the kinds of feeds to provide for your chickens at different stages in their lives:

Chicks- Should be fed organic chick starter feed with at least 20% crude protein, and other ingredients to include lysine, crude fat, crude fiber, calcium, phospohorus, and salt. Other ingredients in chick starter feed may include corn, soybean meal, dicalcium phosphate, diatomaceous earth, lime, potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, kelp, dried lactobacillus fermentation product, zinc sulfate, manganese sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, calcium carbonate, ferrous sulfate, folic acid supplement, copper sulfate, niacin supplement, and Vitamin B12 supplement. Chick starter feed should be fed to your chicks up to 14 weeks of age before transitioning to chicken layer developer feed.

Chicken layer developer feed contains the same ingredients as chick starter, except it should have less protein- generally around %17 crude protein. Chicken layer developer should be fed from 14 weeks of age until your chickens start to lay eggs, at which point you should switch to Organic Layer Mash Feed, or Organic Layer Pellet Feed. Organic Layer Mash Feed and Organic Layer Pellet Feed should contain about %16 crude protein and various amounts of other minerals. It should be fed to chickens that are laying eggs in order to provide the right amount of nutrients for your chickens!
Read More