Can chickens eat sweet feed?

It’s OK to add some sweet feed to your hens’ regular feed, but remember that chickens need a specific diet.

Chickens may get sweet feed sometimes, but it should be avoided as much as possible.

That’s why in this article I’ll go into the nitty gritty of chicken feed, why some people mix chicken feed with molasses, and how much sweet feed you should give your chickens.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

Sweet feed

Sweet feed for horses, cows, sheep and goats
Image credits – Shutterstock

You might be wondering, what is sweet feed?

Well, in short, molasses and a number of different cereal grains are combined to create textured meals (which is why it is often referred to as sweet feed).

A balancer pellet, which often contains minerals and vitamins, is typically included. Other components, such as rice bran, beet pulp, and powdered fat, could also find their way into the mix. The majority of horses want their feed to be sweet. This food is specifically designed for horses.

Sweet feed is normally sold in a pellet form, which makes it easy to store and handle. The pellets are pressed into blocks and then put into bags that, depending on the size of the animal being fed, usually weigh between 25kg and 50kg.

Also, sweet feed is consumed by cattle, sheep, and goats.

Can chickens eat sweet feed?

It is possible for hens to consume sweet feed, but this should only be done so on a sporadic basis. It is important to know that sweet feed is not a good substitute for chicken feed because it does not have the nutrients that chickens need to grow and develop properly.

To stretch their dollars even further, I know some chicken keepers who add some sweet feed to their chicken feed.

Sweet feed often includes grains with a variety of vitamins, minerals, molasses, and supplementary protein, nevertheless this varies by brand.

Horse eating sweet feed while chickens are watching
Image credit – Shutterstock

Even though it’s perfect for ponies and cows, feeding it in high quantities to poultry might cause health problems.

The common misconception that chickens need a high-protein diet is incorrect.

Also, remember that hoofed mammals should never be fed chicken food, since this is very harmful to them.

Chicken Feed vs. Other Types of “Animal Feed”

Image credits – Shutterstock

You should always stick to chicken feed no matter what.

Chicken feed is one of the most important things you can provide for your flock. Chickens are omnivores, which means they need a balanced diet to stay healthy. Good chicken feed provides all the nutrients your chickens need to thrive.

Generally, 90% of the feed is chicken feed and 10% is other treats. Stick to this rule, and you’ll have a healthy flock!

Why Stick to Chicken Feed?

If you’re wondering why you should stick with chicken feed when feeding chickens, here are some reasons:

It’s easy.

Buying commercial chicken feed is easy and convenient. There are many varieties available, so it’s easy to find something that works for your situation.

And if you want to make sure your chickens get everything they need, there are even formulated blends that contain vitamins and minerals as well as protein from grains and fruits or vegetables like corn or alfalfa hay.

It’s consistent.

A commercial blend gives you consistency in terms of ingredients and nutrition levels over time — which is important because chickens need the same thing every day.

If you have a good brand of chicken feed on hand, you’ll know exactly what’s in it and how much protein or calcium it contains at any given time — so if there’s ever a problem with one of your chickens (like malnutrition or health issues), you’ll know exactly what needs to be changed.

What about Commercial Grain & Pellet Mixes?

Though it may say “poultry” or “chicken” on the packaging, these rations aren’t designed to nourish chickens. In case your hens get their beaks into some of the feed intended for your other farm animals, don’t fret.

It won’t kill them, and if you stick to the general rule of “90/10” as we mentioned above, you won’t have any problems.

Crumbles layer feed vs. Pelleted layer feed

Crumbles and pellets are two types of layer feed. The difference between them is how they are formulated, and how they are fed.

Crumbles and pellets are made from the same ingredients. However, because crumbles are loose, they can be fed to layers on the ground. This is often done in free-range systems, where chickens have access to the outdoors. Pellets come in small blocks that can be fed to birds in a chicken coop or house.

Both pelleted layer feed and crumble layer feed are formulated as a complete feed for poultry. This means that they contain all of the nutrients needed for proper growth and egg production. Crumbles have more roughage than pellets, so they hold moisture better and may keep their shape better during storage if not protected from moisture by packaging or other means.

Best Crumbles layer feed-Manna PRO!

What pellets are best for chickens?

Best Organic Pelleted Layer Feed-SCRATCH & PECK FEEDS

Crumbles or pelletswhich is a better source of nutrition for chickens?

Crumbles, like pellets, offer a diet that is comprehensive and balanced in terms of the many nutrients it contains.

Because hens instinctively explore through smaller feed particles to consume the portions they choose, some people find that their flock wastes a little more crumbles than pellets as a feed source.

When to switch from crumbles to pellets?

Baby chicks have been fed crumbles constantly from the day they were hatched, but if you want to feed them pellets instead, we need to transition them to the pellets in a slow and steady manner. And a smart way to do this is to combine the layer crumbles and the pellets when the chicks are around 20 weeks old.

What foods should chickens avoid?

Image Credits – Shutterstock

It is important to feed your chickens a balanced diet that contains all the nutrients they need. Some foods are not good for chickens and, if fed in large quantities, will cause serious health problems.

Some of the foods that should be avoided are:

Avocado: The toxin persin, found in avocado pits and peels, is fatal to hens.

-Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine, which can damage a chicken’s heart, nervous system, and digestive tract. It can also cause epileptic seizures in birds that have consumed it in large amounts.

-Onions: Onions contain sulphur compounds that break down into hydrogen sulfide when digested by birds. This compound is toxic to birds and can cause damage to red blood cells, leading to anemia and other health problems.

-Raw potatoes: When raw potatoes are fed to chickens, they may cause constipation and diarrhea. If fed regularly, this could lead to dehydration or even death as the potato starches pass through their digestive tract without being broken down properly by enzymes produced by the pancreas.


Sweet feed is designed to be fed to cattle and horses, not chickens. Although chickens can eat sweet feed, their digestive systems are geared toward eating grains, bugs, and vegetables, not the sweetened corn kernels found in this type of cattle feed.


Next to read – Can chickens eat cat food?

Can chickens eat SWEET FEED?
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