A few things to know about feeding the girls! (below the video)
The chickens can NEVER run out of water. They need fresh water constantly.
Outside we have a bucket we cut down to about 4 inches high and believe it or not, that is the absolute best water bowl we have for them! It has lasted years and is very easy to empty, refill, and clean and they can not knock it over!
In the winters we have a heated bowl inside their house that you see in the ad below from Amazon. We still keep their regular bowl in the outside part too.
We try to feed the chickens organic food. We buy the layer feed and also provide them with a lot of treats. During the summer we give them fresh vegetables. They love a sliced open tomato or a cucumber - slice down the middle and spread open. Any time we mow the lawn they get fresh grass clippings. I also save their egg shells. I wash, dry and then crush them up in a mortar and pestle and add it to their food. I read somewhere that they need the extra calcium and they seem to like it. Recently we also started buying them grit as I found out it helps them with digestion.
In the winter the chickens actually need to eat a lot more food because they need to produce additional energy to keep warm. One of the things they love is plain cooked rice. I guess it is like bugs to them or something, but they eat it up like crazy!
We do not use a bowl or container to put their food into. We just throw a handful a day down on the ground for them and supplement with additional treats regularly. We were giving them food in a small plastic dish for a while, but they just walk on it and spill everything out anyway so why bother.
STORAGE - store the food in a cool dry location where other animals and vermin can NOT get it. We use the galvanized container you see in the ad from Amazon.
They absolutely love freeze dried meal worms, but they are so expensive. Sunflower seeds are another thing the chickens get excited over and these are super easy to grow. I started growing my own now and will shake out the flower heads at the end of the summer (before the local birds get them). When the home grown sunflower seeds run out we buy wild bird seed since the price is right. This seems to work just fine as an additional treat especially in the winter.
Treats Our Chickens Love:
Cucumbers - cut in half lengthwise
Apples - cut in half
Peaches, Pears, etc - slice open
Grapes - right off the vine in our backyard!
Bananas - remove the peel
Strawberries - THEY LOVE THESE!
Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries - They love these too - and right off the bush!
Bread - no mold!
Cheerios - (no sugary cereals)
Cooked or hard Corn Kernels
Scrambled Eggs (Yeah, I know it sounds gross but they love them!)
Chickens need to forage. This is a great way for them to keep busy and supplement their diet. They love bugs and all sorts of plants and other goodies that they can find around the yard, which is great news for you! Just make sure that you have room for them to be able to forage and plenty of bushes for them to hide from predators like hawks. If you don't have room for them to forage, be sure that you are providing them with plenty of extra treats and ways to keep busy. See playtime above!
What we DO NOT feed our Chickens:
Nothing from the nightshade family (eggplant,potatoes) If you do give it to them, it MUST BE COOKED.
Nothing Salty - salt can KILL them
No Citrus - oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc.
Onions - have deadly substance in them
Raw or Dried Beans - if you feed them beans make sure they are FULLY cooked