Are you tired of finding your chicken feed has become moldy, stale or contaminated by rodents? We know that feeling so we decided to put together the top options for the best way to store chicken feed to ensure it stays fresh for your flock!
Chicken feed is one of the most important expenses for backyard chicken keepers. It provides the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that your chickens need to stay healthy, happy, and productive. However, if you don’t store your chicken feed properly, you might end up wasting money, time, and feed. Improper storage can also cause health problems for your chickens, such as moldy feed, rancid feed, or contaminated feed.
In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to store chicken feed correctly, so you can keep your chickens well-fed and avoid common pitfalls. We will also recommend some of the best containers and feeders to use for storing and dispensing chicken feed.
We recommend reading the whole article but please feed free to use the menu below to jump forward to your preferred section.
Why is Chicken Feed Storage Important?
Chicken feed storage is important for several reasons:
- It preserves the quality and freshness of the feed. Chicken feed contains various ingredients that can degrade over time, such as proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These ingredients can lose their nutritional value or become rancid if exposed to moisture, oxygen, heat, light, or chemical reactions. Storing chicken feed in a cool, dry, dark, and airtight place can help prevent these problems and keep the feed fresh and tasty for longer.
- It prevents mold and fungal growth. Mold and fungus can grow on chicken feed if it gets wet or humid. This can happen if you store the feed on a damp floor, in a humid environment, or in a leaky container. Mold and fungus can produce toxins that are harmful to chickens, causing symptoms such as reduced appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, neurological disorders, or even death. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the chicken feed dry and avoid any moisture or humidity in the storage area. I have learnt myself the hard way by storing bags of chicken feed straight of top of concrete floors prone to being moist. You can see what happened to my chicken feed in the image below.
- It deters pests and predators. Chicken feed can attract various pests and predators, such as rodents, insects, wild birds, raccoons, skunks, or bears. These animals can eat or contaminate your chicken feed, costing you money and putting your chickens at risk of diseases or attacks. To prevent this, you should store your chicken feed in a secure and closed container that is inaccessible to these unwanted visitors.
How to Store Chicken Feed: Dos and Don’ts
Here are some dos and don’ts for storing chicken feed:
- Metal containers with a tight-fitting lid. Metal containers are a great option for storing chicken feed because they are durable, rodent-proof, rust-proof, and easy to clean. They also prevent oxygen and light from reaching the feed, which can cause oxidation and spoilage. Make sure the container has a tight-fitting lid that seals well and keeps out moisture and pests. You can also use a metal container with a ceramic liner or food-safe paint to avoid any chemical reactions with the feed.
- Heavy duty plastic containers with a tight fitting lid. Containers that are made of thick plastic with an airtight lid are a great option for storing chicken feed because they are also durable, rodent-proof, rust-proof, and easy to clean. Making sure the container has a tight-fitting lid that seals well and keeps out moisture and pests will also prevent oxygen and light from spoiling the feed. I personally use 5 gallon buckets with an airtight lid leftover that were used for plaster. I source them from trades people and given them a through clean and dry before transferring chicken feed into them. As plaster needs to be kept airtight they are perfect for storing chicken feed.
- Don’t use thin plastic containers or bags. Thin plastic containers or bags are not recommended for storing chicken feed because they are not very sturdy or secure. They can be easily chewed through by rodents or other animals, allowing them to access or contaminate your feed. They can also let in oxygen and light, which can degrade the quality of the feed. Thin plastic containers or bags could also leach chemicals into the feed over time, which can be harmful to your chickens.
- Don’t use wood storage containers. Wood is a permeable material and can absorb moisture as well as being prone to mould. Unlike other articles, I do not recommend wood storage containers for feed.
- Do store the container in a cool, dry, dark, and well-ventilated place. The ideal place to store your chicken feed container is a cold shed away from dampness and sunlight. You should avoid storing it in a hot or humid place, such as a garage or a car trunk. You should also avoid placing it directly on the ground or on a concrete floor because this can create moisture that can damage the feed. Instead, use a pallet or a similar device that allows air circulation between the container and the floor.
- Don’t store the container outdoors or near windows. Storing your chicken feed container outdoors or near windows exposes it to weather elements such as rain, snow, sun, wind, or dust. These elements can affect the temperature and humidity of the storage area, which can cause mold growth or spoilage of the feed. They can also attract pests or predators that can access or damage your container.
- Do buy small quantities of feed at a time and use them quickly. Buying bulk quantities of feed may seem economical, but it may not be worth it if the feed loses its nutritional value or becomes stale over time. You should buy only as much feed as you need for 1-2 months and use it as quickly as possible. This way, you can ensure that your chickens get fresh and nutritious food every day.
- Don’t mix old and new batches of feed. Mixing old and new batches of feed is not a good idea because it can create inconsistencies in the quality and freshness of the feed. It can also make it harder to track the expiration date of the feed. You should use up the old batch of feed before opening a new one and always check the date of manufacture and best before date of the feed before buying or using it.
How to Choose the Best Container and Feeder for Storing Chicken Feed
There are many types of containers and feeders available for storing and dispensing chicken feed. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best one for your needs:
- Size and capacity. The size and capacity of the container and feeder should match the amount of feed you need to store and the number of chickens you have. You don’t want to have a container or feeder that is too big or too small for your flock. A too-big container or feeder can take up too much space, waste feed, or become stale over time. A too-small container or feeder can run out of feed quickly, require frequent refilling, or cause competition among your chickens.
- Material and durability. The material and durability of the container and feeder should be able to withstand the weather conditions, pests, predators, and wear and tear of your chicken coop. You want a container and feeder that are made of sturdy and rust-proof materials, such as metal, thick plastic or ceramic. You also want a container and feeder that are easy to clean and maintain, such as ones that have removable lids, trays, or bottoms.
- Design and functionality. The design and functionality of the container and feeder should suit your preferences, needs, and budget. You want a container and feeder that are easy to use, fill, and access, such as ones that have handles, spouts, or openings. You also want a container and feeder that are efficient, convenient, and economical, such as ones that have gravity-fed systems, automatic dispensers, or anti-waste features.
Some examples of containers and feeders that meet these criteria are:
- Metal trash can with lid. This is a simple and affordable option for storing chicken feed in bulk. It is durable, rodent-proof, rust-proof, and easy to clean. It has a tight-fitting lid that keeps out moisture and pests. It also has handles that make it easy to move around.
- Heavy Duty Plastic Bucket or Container with an airtight lid. This is a simple and cost effective option that will keep your feed dry, fresh, pest proof and easy to store. Make sure the lid is tight fitting and will be airtight. Getting a container with a handle will make moving it around it easier.
- Ceramic crock with lid. This is a stylish and elegant option for storing chicken feed in smaller and more portable quantities. It is durable, rust-proof, and easy to clean. It has a tight-fitting lid as well.
- Metal gravity feeder. This is a simple and efficient option for dispensing chicken feed in bulk. It is durable, rodent-proof, rust-proof, and easy to clean. It has a gravity-fed system that automatically refills the tray as the chickens eat. It also has a lid that prevents spillage and waste. See our article of metal, rodent proof feeders here.
Conclusion on the Best Way to Store Chicken Feed
Storing chicken feed properly is essential for keeping your chickens healthy, happy, and productive. By following these suggestions, you can ensure that your chicken feed stays fresh, nutritious, and safe for consumption for longer periods of time. You can also choose the best container and feeder for your needs, preferences, and budget. We hope this article has helped you learn how to store chicken feed correctly and make the most out of your chicken keeping experience.
Chicken Care Shopping List
Are you looking for a shopping list of everything you need when caring for your precious flock? We have put together an easy reference of items for your convenience.