Chicken layer feed choice experiment

At Tractor Supply last month I made a terrible mistake. Acting on the advice of another customer who seemed to know a lot about chickens, I bought a bag of Producer’s Pride Layer Feed Mini Pellets instead of Dumar’s Layer Feed Pellets, the brand I’d been giving my flock for over a year. As I soon learned, chickens hate change and refused to eat the new offering. But I wondered, would they dislike all new offerings? Or did I have to go back to their original feed? So I made another trip to Tractor Supply and bought five additional varieties and did the experiment.

To provide the different feeds to the chickens I constructed mini feeders out of tonic water bottles, then filled them as follows (going from left to right in photo below):

  1. DuMor Layer Pellets
  2. DuMor Organic Layer Crumbles
  3. DuMor Layer Mini Pellets
  4. Producer’s Pride Layer Mini Pellets
  5. Flock Party Egg Layer Pellets
  6. Purina Layer Pellets.

Below are photographs that show levels remaining in the bins for 10 days.

My five hens strongly preferred DuMor Organic Layer Crumbles. They consumed it so quickly that it will be the only feed I buy in the future, though I will definitely give the non-organic ($5-cheaper) version a try. The only drawback, as many customers point out on reviews, is that a portion of the bag is powderized and thus wasted. If the bag has been handled a lot the waste is apparently substantial. Here’s a photograph showing the remaining power:

DuMor Layer Mini Pellets, Purina Layer Pellets, and Flock Party Egg Layer Pellets (ranked #2, 3, and 4) were acceptable to the chickens but clearly not something they were super excited to eat.

They clearly disliked their original feed, DuMor Layer Pellets, which I found surprising. I feel awful for giving it to them for years.

Finally, they absolutely refused to eat the Producer’s Pride Mini Layer Pellets, choosing instead to forage on the ground for spilled pellets from any of the other 5 options. I was curious whether they’d eat the feed before starving to death but in the end decided to end the experiment early. It turns out that this was the cheapest feed, too.

The other big surprise in writing this post is that I couldn’t locate similar experiments to reference. If you know of any, please leave a comment.

If you want to see my chicken coop, here’s a blog post with details.

1 thought on “Chicken layer feed choice experiment

  1. Kathy Kling

    Just looked at the BlogPost about your chicken coop and it reminded me of a great book – mostly about building a chicken coop – Chickens, Gin, and a Maine Friendship: The Correspondence of E. B. White and Edmund Ware Smith

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