Pellets vs Crumbles: Which is Best for Your Chickens?

I understand the importance of providing my chickens with the right feed. After all, the quality of their diet can directly impact the quality of the eggs they lay.

Recently, I’ve been considering switching to organic, corn-free, and soy-free chicken feed to meet the growing demand for healthier and more ethical products.

However, I’m stuck between choosing pellets or crumbles as the primary form of feed. After doing some research and consulting with fellow chicken enthusiasts, I’ve come to the conclusion that pellets are the way to go.

What are Pellets?

Pellets are a type of processed feed for animals, including poultry. They are typically made by compressing ground grains and other ingredients into small, uniform pellets using a pellet mill. Pellets come in different sizes and shapes, depending on the type of animal they are intended for and the specific nutritional requirements of that animal. In the context of poultry farming, pellets are a popular choice for chicken feed as they are less wasteful compared to crumbles and can be easier to manage in terms of storage and feeding.

What are Crumbles?

Crumbles are a type of chicken feed that consists of small, coarse, and irregularly shaped pieces. They are made from crushed grains, protein sources, and other ingredients, and are usually fed to chickens during their early stages of growth, from chick to pullet. Unlike pellets, which are compacted into uniform shapes, crumbles tend to be loose and can easily crumble apart. This makes them easier for young chickens to eat and digest.

Pellets: Less Wasteful and More Affordable

One of the main advantages of pellets over crumbles is that they produce less waste. Unlike crumbles, pellets don’t easily break apart or turn into dust, which often ends up scattered on the ground or mixed with dirt. This can be especially problematic during wet weather, as wet crumbles can quickly turn into a sticky, messy glob. On the other hand, pellets retain their shape and consistency even in humid conditions, reducing the likelihood of waste.

Moreover, since pellets are denser and less prone to breakage, they can be more cost-effective in the long run. While the initial cost may be higher, pellets tend to last longer than crumbles, so you don’t have to refill the feeders as frequently. This means that you’ll end up using less feed overall, which can help cut down on expenses.

Pellets: Not Always a Hit with Chickens

However, it’s worth noting that not all chickens may be keen on eating pellets. Some birds may find them too hard or difficult to break apart, while others may simply prefer the taste and texture of crumbles. Therefore, it’s important to gradually introduce pellets to your chickens and monitor their response. If they refuse to eat the pellets, you may need to mix them with some crumbles or add some scratch to entice them.

Additionally, when feeding pellets, it’s important to make sure that your chickens have access to grit. Grit helps chickens break down and digest the pellets properly, as they don’t break down as easily as crumbles. Without grit, your chickens may not be able to digest the feed properly, which can lead to health issues.

Other Considerations

Aside from the above factors, there are other things to keep in mind when choosing between pellets and crumbles. For example, some chicken owners have reported that crumbles can be more powdery and may cause their birds to sneeze or have respiratory issues, especially in hot weather. Mixing crumbles with other types of feed, such as cracked corn or scratch, may help mitigate this problem.

Ultimately, the choice between pellets and crumbles depends on your personal preference and your chickens’ dietary needs. While pellets are generally less wasteful and more affordable in the long run, they may not be a hit with all chickens. Conversely, while crumbles may be more palatable for some birds, they may produce more waste and be less cost-effective.


After weighing the pros and cons, I’ve decided to go with pellets as the primary form of feed for my chickens. While some of my birds may not immediately take to the pellets, I’m confident that they will eventually adjust to the new diet with some patience and encouragement. Plus, the benefits of less waste and long-term cost savings are too good to pass up.

Ultimately, whether you choose pellets or crumbles, what’s most important is that you provide your chickens with high-quality, nutritious feed that meets their dietary needs. As a small poultry farm owner, I’m committed to doing just that, and I’m excited to see how this new feed will impact the health and wellbeing of my birds.

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About Jade Polystead

Jade is a homesteader with a passion for raising and caring for animals, specifically chickens, ducks, and goats. She was born and raised in a small town in the midwestern United States, where she learned to appreciate the simple pleasures of rural living.

Jade's interest in animal husbandry began at a young age when her family kept a small flock of chickens in their backyard. She quickly fell in love with the birds and became fascinated by their unique personalities and behaviors. As she grew older, Jade's interest in animal husbandry expanded to include other domesticated animals, such as ducks and goats.

View all posts by Jade Polystead

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