How Many Times a Day Should I Feed My Chickens? (What Times of the Day + How Often Hens & Other Chickens Should Eat)

Is It OK To Feed Chickens Twice a Day?

One thing is for sure: Chickens prefer small, frequent meals.

If you’re home during the day, you can give your chickens several times a day. But if you work away from home, then it’s best to give your chickens’ a serving in the morning and again in the evening.

Can You Just Feed Chickens Once a Day?

Yes, if you can give them their daily feed in the morning.

Since chickens like to eat often and in small portions, I personally like to free-feed my chickens. This means that chickens have access to feed all day long. (Mind you, I live off-grid in the middle of nowhere, and my chickens have plenty of bugs to chase after. So they’re pretty busy and active all day long).

However, if you’re going to free-feed your chickens, you might run into a problem with pests. Birds, squirrels, rats, and other pests will probably try to get a free meal from the chicken feed.

To fix this problem, I use automatic poultry treadle feeders (Amazon) to make sure only my chickens eat the feed.

These types of feeders might seem a little expensive at first, but you save so much money in the long run since you’re not feeding every wild animal in the neighborhood.

How Much Feed Should You Feed a Chicken a Day?

A good rule of thumb is to provide about 1/4 lb of feed to each average-sized, adult chicken per day. However, this can vary depending on the type of chicken and its age. Younger chickens will eat more than senior chickens, for example.

For a more complete guide on how much you should be feeding your layers (laying hens), chicks, pullets, roosters, and broiler chickens daily, definitely check out my post: How Much Feed per Chicken?

Can You Overfeed Chickens?

Some people like to give their flock a little bit more food than they might need, just to be safe. This is fine as long as you’re not overdoing it.

And, unless you provide them with endless amounts of delicious and exciting treats (Amazon) all day long, it’s hard to overfeed chickens with regular feed. Somehow they instinctively know when to stop eating.

Treats, things like table scraps, are often the real culprit of overfeeding.

Warning: Chickens Need Grit!

If your chickens eat anything but commercial poultry feed, then you must feed them grit. Grit is essential because it helps them grind up their food and aids in digestion.

There’s poultry grit (Amazon) for chickens that are older than 8 weeks and smaller grit for chicks (Amazon) who are 2 to 8 weeks old.

For more information on this topic, check out my post: Do Chickens Need Oyster Shells and Grit?

Conclusion: ‎What Is the Best Time of Day To Feed Your Chickens?

If not free-fed throughout the day, chickens should ideally be fed at least twice a day with the first feeding happening in the morning as soon as they wake up.

The second feeding can happen in the afternoon or evening but should be no later than an hour before they roost for the night.

There are many ways to feed your chickens, but this is the most common and easy way to provide them with a proper diet.