Amber Waves Silkies


What do I feed my new silkie?


·         Feed Chick Starter around 20% – 24% until they are 8 weeks.
Also have granite gravel and grit for them at all times.  They need it to 
digest their food.  Fresh water daily

·         Feed them Grower at 20 to 24% until they are about 6 to 7 months.  


·         When they start laying eggs you should switch them to Layena at about  
18 %.  If you plan to hatch chicks mix with Game Bird starter or layena to 
raise the protein for stronger chicks.  Or you can feed them other 
protein to boost the percentage, such as cooked egg.  Always offer 
oyster shell free choice to laying hens.  


·         Mix diatomaceous earth into the chicken feed before feeding it to the silkie bantams. Add two cups of earth for every 50 pounds of feed. Adding the diatomaceous earth, an organic pesticide, keeps insects out of the feed and parasites out of the chickens. NOTE -  IT MUST BE FOOD GRADE DIAMOTACEOUS – NON FOOD GRADE WILL KILL YOUR CHICKENS.


·       Feed the silkie bantams once per day. Fill the feeders with the chicken feed mixed with diatomaceous earth.


·       Silkie Feed Blend  

We blend our own feed for our adult silkies and feed it year-round.  Our chicks are fed a commercial medicated chick starter for the first 2 months,   supplemented with grated carrots, hard cooked chopped eggs, greens, and an occasional yogurt-grain mixture when they get a little older.   

Our feed blend starts with a 20% protein commercial poultry feed.  Since Purina is available in our area, we use Purina Gamebird Layena, which does not contain the marigold oil supplement that can affect white feathers.   

In a 5 gallon bucket, fill approximately 3/4 full with base feed and add:  

1 cup crimped oats
1 cup crimped barley
1 cup wheat
1/2 cup safflower seeds
3/4 cup sunflower chips
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 scoop Manna Pro Sho-Glo
1 heaping tablespoon Brewer's Yeast & Garlic Powder

Mix together well, and add:  

1/2 cup wheat germ oil blend or vegetable oil
1/4 cup Red Cell
Mix together very well to distribute oil and red cell evenly.

The birds also get chopped eggs and grated carrots once a week, greens like kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce as they are available, leftover tomatoes, or any fruit that is starting to go bad.   In the summer, they absolutely love watermelon!  I cut most of the red part off the rinds and put it in containers for the family, and feed the rinds to the silkies.   

Twice a month, we feed a yogurt grain mixture that the birds love and that contains the good gut bacteria necessary for good digestion and health.  

Since we have a lot of birds to feed, this is my recipe, but you can adjust it for your number of birds.  

1 gallon bucket containing equal amounts of crimped oats, crimped barley and wheat
1/2 quart plain yogurt (with active cultures)
1 quart buttermilk

Mix together, add a little water if necessary, and refrigerate overnight.  Feed the next morning, after grain has absorbed buttermilk and yogurt.    




What you can feed your chickens 

This is a list of everything you can feed a chicken. However, everybody's chickens have their own tiny  brains full of likes and dislikes, so while one person's chickens may come running for grapes or watermelon, another person's chickens may turn up their pointy little beaks at it. Anything on this list is worth a try. 

At the bottom of the page are things you should avoid feeding your chickens. 



General Opinions  


Raw and applesauce  

Apple seeds contain cyanide, but not in sufficient quantities to kill.  


Raw or cooked  

Okay to feed, but not a favorite.  


Without the peel  

High in potassium, a good treat.  


Well-cooked only, never dry  

Also, greenbeans.  


Greens also.  



All kinds  

A treat, especially strawberries.  


All kinds - good use for stale bread or rolls  

Feed starches in moderation.  

Broccoli & Cauliflower  


Tuck into a suet cage and they will pick at it all day.  

Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts  

Whole head -  

Hang a whole cabbage from their coop ceiling in winter so they have something to play with and greens to eat.  


Raw and cooked  

They like carrot foliage too.  

Catfood * (see bottom of page)  

Wet and dry  

Feed in strict moderation, perhaps only during moulting * (see bottom of page)  


Cheerios, etc.  

Avoid highly sugared cereal such as Cocopuffs, etc.  


Including cottage cheese  

Feed in moderation, fatty but a good source of protein and calcium  

Cooked Chicken  


They may like it and it won’t kill them, but it just seems so….. ummm………… wrong.  


On cob and canned, raw and cooked  


Crickets (alive)  

Can be bought at bait or pet-supply stores.  

Great treat – provides protein and it’s fun to watch the chickens catch them.  



Let mature for yummy seeds and flesh.  


Hardcooked and scrambled are a good source of protein, and a favorite treat.  

Feed cooked eggs only because you don’t want your chickens to start eating their own raw eggs.  




Fish / Seafood  

Cooked only.  


Make sure they haven't been treated with pesticides, such as florist flowers might be.  

Marigolds, nasturtiums, pansies, etc.  


Pears, peaches, cherries, apples  


Bulgar, flax, niger, wheatberries,etc.  



Seedless only.  

For chicks, cutting them in half makes it easier for them to swallow.  

Great fun - the cause of many entertaining "chicken keepaway" games.  





Only feed your chickens that which is still considered edible by humans, don't feed anything spoiled, moldy, oily, salty or unidentifiable.  

Lettuce / Kale  

Any leafy greens, spinach collards, chickweed included.  

A big treat, depending on how much other greenery they have access to.  


(see photo after the chart)  

Available at pet supply stores or on the internet, although shipping is expensive!  

A huge(!) favorite treat, probably the most foolproof treat on the books.  

Meat scraps of any kind.  

Not too fatty.  

In moderation, a good source of protein  


Cantelope, etc.  

Both seeds and flesh are good chicken treats.  


Raw or cooked  

Cooked is nutritionally better.  

Pasta / Macaroni  

Cooked spaghetti, etc.  

A favorite treat, fun to watch them eat it, but not much nutrition.  


Peas and pea tendrils and flowers (thanks to YayChick for the advice)  


Peppers (bell)  





Seeds are a big treat.  


Popped, no butter, no salt.  


Potatos / Sweet Potatos/Yams  

Cooked only - avoid green parts of peels!  

Starchy, not much nutrition  

Pumpkins / Winter Squash  

Raw or cooked  

Both seeds and flesh are a nutritious treat.  




Cooked only  

Pilaf mixes are okay too, plain white rice has little nutrition.  


Scratch is cracked corn with grains (such as wheat, oats and rye) mixed in.  

Scratch is a treat for cold weather, not a complete feed. Toss it on the ground and let them scratch for it for something to do. Never feed scratch during hot weather because it raises the chickens’ body temperature.  


Wheat and oat sprouts are great!  

 Good for greens in mid-winter.  

Summer Squash  

Yellow squash and zucchini  

Yellow squash not a huge favorite, but okay to feed.  

Sunflower Seeds  

Sunflower seeds with the shell still on is fine to feed, as well as with the shell off.  

A good treat, helps hens lay eggs and grow healthy feathers.  


Raw and cooked.  



Not a huge favorite  


Served cold, it can keep chickens cool and hydrated during hot summers.  

Seeds and flesh are both okay to feed.  


Plain or flavored  

A big favorite and good for their digestive systems. Plain is better.  

The most favorite chicken treat of all - mealworms! Note the lightning speed of the chicken lunging for them. 

Don’t feed the following things to your chickens: 

(I'm sure people have experienced exceptions to this list, but if we want to raise our birds the best way possible, "better safe than sorry".) 


Here’s why:  

Raw green potato peels  

Toxic substance called Solanine.  

Anything real salty  

Can cause salt poisoning in small bodies such as chickens.  



Dried or undercooked Beans  

Raw, or dry beans, contain a poison called hemaglutin which is toxic to birds.  

Avocado Skin and Pit  

Skin and pit have low levels of toxicity.  

Raw eggs  

You don’t want to introduce your chickens to the tastiness of eggs which may be waiting to be collected in the nestboxes.  

Candy, Chocolate, Sugar  

Their teeth will rot… No, it’s just bad for their systems, and chocolate can be poisonous to most pets.


A quote from Nifty-Chicken, the Administrator of BYC:  

"I gave up on my birds knowing what was best for them when I caught them all eating a block of Styrofoam pellets."  

Regarding toxicity, the following is copied from a post by DLhunicorn on May 14, 2007 in a thread titled "Potato Peels". (Thank you DLhunicorn for your tremendously helpful and knowledgeable contributions to BYC!) 

 "Do not count on your chickens "knowing" what is bad for them...also do not count on these "toxic" plants immediately being identifiable by finding a dead bird the next morning...usually it is a slow process damaging organs , inhibiting the ability of your bird to utilize the nutrients in their feed, etc.
Toxic Plants

and here are some more sources for toxicity: … 1165263379
(Feed Chickens Properly)

here are some of my collected articles on nutrition : … 1157992073 … snutrition
(factors contributing to nutritional disorders)"