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Breakfast of Champion Layers | Chicken Feed Supplements

Adding natural supplements to your chickens' diet is no different than you taking your daily vitamins. Even the best-quality commercial feed likely doesn't contain the levels of probiotics and other natural ingredients for optimal flock health. 

We never had such healthy, gorgeous chickens laying beautifully-colored eggs with nice strong shells until I started adding some natural supplements to their daily feed very early on in my chicken keeping journey. 

All our chickens are so pretty with glossy, shiny feathers, bright eyes, and rosy combs and wattles. They don't have poopy butts or broken feathers. They don't wheeze or gasp. They don't have any respiratory problems.

They don't pick on each other or pull out each other's feathers, or raid their nesting boxes looking for eggs to eat. 

And I believe it's due in large part to the custom feed mix I have developed for them over the years. I call it the "Breakfast of Champion Layers". 

Because I believe SO much in natural preventives,  I'm especially excited to have launched a brand line of all natural feed supplements under the Fresh Eggs Daily®  label that are the same supplements that I feed to my girls - to make it easier for you to add them to your girls' diet too!

In 12 years I have never had any problems with respiratory infections or other illness in my flock either, and I think it is due in large part to how strong our chickens' immune systems are because of what they are fed.  

And it might keep your chickens healthier too and avoid visits to the vet since my supplements help to support the body's major systems.

Scroll down for the printable recipe card! 

Breakfast of Champion Layers | Chicken Feed Supplements

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, for chickens as well as for people, and my girls get this custom mix every morning before they get any afternoon treats. I'm a big believer in natural preventives. 

What is it that Benjamin Franklin said about an ounce of prevention....

As the base for my flock's diet, I do use a commercial feed. Poultry scientists work hard to come up with a scientific mix of nutrients, so unless you're prepared to mix up a balanced mix of grains, it's best to stick with a commercial feed.

I mix up the feed mix a whole 40 or 50 lb. bag at a time and then just  dole out the daily rations. A hen eats approximately 1/2 Cup of feed (1/4 pound) per day (more in winter, less in summer, more if they don't free range), so it's easy to measure out a day's ration.

But you can also mix in the supplements each morning into their daily ration. Or mix the supplements in a large pail or bucket, then just add them en masse each morning to your chicken feed. Whatever works for you.

Start with a Good-Quality Layer Feed

As your base, you can use any good-quality layer feed (or grower feed for pullets). Whether to feed organic feed or not is a personal decision.

There are pros and cons to both organic and non-organic feed, cost often being a main consideration. I personally love a good-quality non-GMO and/or organic whole/cracked grain feed like Small Pet Select. 

If you want to use a conventional feed, either crumble or pellet is fine, although the powders do tend to stick to crumbled feed better.

But the nice thing about this "breakfast" recipe is that you can use whatever brand of chicken feed you want as the base.

Regardless of which brand of feed you choose, check your feed bag label. Lots of feed companies have started adding supplements to their feed, such as probiotics, niacin (brewer's yeast) and even marigolds.

So if yours already contains any of the supplements below, you can just omit them from the recipe, as long as the ratio is similar (most supplements are recommended to be added in a 1-2% ratio to feed).

All of these additions to your chicken feed serve a different purpose and complement each other. They are all designed to be added to the daily feed.

Fresh Eggs Daily Natural Poultry Feed Supplements

Available from

Available from

Breakfast of Champion Layers Recipe

  • 40-50 lb. Chicken Layer Feed

Optional Add-ins:

  • 2 cups Cracked Corn or scratch grains (best during the winter, omit in summer)
  • 2 cups Dried grubs, (most beneficial during the fall molting season)
  • 1/2 cup whole or ground Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (helps with circulation during cold months, helps repel rodents)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (to help with respiratory system strength) 
  • 1 cup dried peppermint (helps repel rodents, digestive aid, thought to be a laying stimulant)

Why I Use the Ingredients I Do

Flax Seed contains beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids that pass through into the eggs your chickens lay. Omega-3s are important for artery and heart health and are thought to reduce the incidence of heart attacks, strokes and even cancer in humans and chickens. They also contribute to better lay rates and prettier feathers.

Sunflower seeds provide excellent protein as well as magnesium and copper for strong bones. They also contain Vitamin B which is important for cardiovascular health, Vitamin E, which is an anti-inflammatory, as well as a healthy dose of antioxidants.

Oats can either be purchased in the breakfast cereal aisle of your grocery store or club such as Costco or Sam's Club or in bulk from your feed store or grainery. 

Oats added to the feed provide a bit of a treat each morning since chickens love them, but also add a healthy dose of fiber, antioxidants and immune system support.  Since we have ducks too and they eat the same thing, I like that the oats cut the protein levels in the feed a bit. Too much protein can cause leg and foot issues in ducks, especially when they're still growing.

Studies have shown that chicks fed oats are not only healthier as adult chickens, but flocks fed oats are less aggressive, more heat-tolerant and less prone to cannibalism and pecking issues.

Cracked corn contributes to orange egg yolks and also is a bit of a treat for them. Since its's not terribly nutritious and can put on excess weight, you can adjust the amount of cracked corn. (I only add the corn in the winter.)

The Diatomaceous Earth is a natural parasitic made from crushed prehistoric fossils and adds beneficial silica and other nutrients to the feed, as well as provides anti-clumping properties. 

It's main benefit is keeping bugs out of the feed, so especially if you live in a warm climate where you deal with ants and flies, the DE can be really important in controlling those insect populations. 

Brewer's Yeast and Garlic Powder is an important addition to the feed, especially if you have ducks, because the niacin (Vitamin B3) in the brewer's yeast helps them grow nice strong bones and legs. 

Ducks require slightly more niacin than chickens do, but the added niacin won't harm the chickens any and is actually very beneficial for them.

The garlic helps repel fleas, ticks and other internal and external parasites, as well as having lots of health benefits and benefiting respiratory health. It also will help to boost their immune system.

Poultry Probiotics assure better intestinal and immune health. Theyform a barrier that prevent bad bacteria from attaching to the intestinal walls and also aid digestion, assist in nutrient absorption and help boost productivity. 

Probiotics support the immune system in general and increase growth rates. Probiotics are also thought to help combat coccidiosis in flocks.

Coop Kelp provides a wide range of naturally occurring vitamins (including A, B6 (niacin), D, E, folate and Vitamin K), minerals (including copper, lysine, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc) and amino acids. 

Kelp improves bone strength, makes nice orange egg yolks and results in eggs with stronger shells. Kelp also improves feather appearance and strength. 

Sea kelp is being studied as a natural antibiotic and is thought to protect against coccidiosis by strengthening the immune system and improving health in general. Kelp is also a prebiotic, which works hand in hand with probiotics, making them more effective and aiding in digestion.

Cayenne Pepper or red pepper flakes mixed into the feed can help keep squirrels, chipmunks and other rodents out of your feed if you feed outside. Many people use wild bird feeds in their bird feeders that have cayenne added for that very reason. 

Cayenne pepper also helps with circulation which can work to prevent frostbite during the cold winter months. Since chickens lack the taste receptor for "hot" or "spicy", the cayenne won't bother them at all.

Culinary herbs are packed with nutrients and vitamins. I add herbs that I grow and then dry into their feed mix.  I don't add any set amount or specific herbs, I just add what I have.  Various herbs have great health benefits to laying hens.

Peppermint is a good optional add-in. It's thought to help repel rodents and also aids in digestion and can help to stimulate laying.

Dried Grubs contain both calcium and protein. I also like to add some dried grubs to the feed for a bit more protein during the fall molting season, especially.

My oldest chicken (from our very first batch back in 2009) lived to be nine years old and passed peacefully in her sleep.

None of my chickens ever get sick - ever - so I am a believer in a few healthy supplements for better health and happier chickens!

The additions to the feed certainly do add to your feed cost, but the better diet the chickens have, the healthier they will be and the more nutritious their eggs will be. And when you compare the cost to even one vet visit....

For more information on each feed supplement, check out the whole line here on

I know my chickens love their feed and all are good eaters, super healthy and good layers. As you can see, sometimes they can't even wait for me to dish it out into the feeder ! There is literally no waste. They eat every crumb of their feed.

Note: Good advice any time you change a pet's diet is to gradually switch over to the new from the old, mixing in small amounts a little bit at a time so as not to irritate their digestive systems. I start all my chicks on the supplements right from hatch so they get accustomed to them and get a good start in life.

Fresh Eggs Daily Natural Poultry Feed Supplements

Available from

Available from

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©2012 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright Protected Material: The information contained in this article first appeared on in July 2012 and subsequently in the book Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens...Naturally (St. Lynns Press, 2013). If you see the "recipe" from this article in print elsewhere, whether it be a book or blog, it was stolen from this site and used without permission.