Storing chicken feed isn’t something that a lot of chicken owners put much thought into, but it matters more than you think. By not properly storing your feed, it can grow stale or moldy, and it can even be eaten by rodents or predators. In order for your chickens to be happy and healthy, they need clean, fresh feed to munch on.
How long chicken feed lasts
Storing it properly can make chicken feed last longer, but it can vary from brand to brand. In general, chicken feed can last around three to six months. But once again, the time will vary depending on how the feed was processed and how it’s stored. Chicken feed that is processed at a mill will likely be contaminated with insect larvae and fungi. This, ultimately, will cause your feed to spoil sooner.
Chicken feed that is pelleted, however, will last longer than other types. This is because pelleted feed is cooked and pressed, killing some of the insect larvae and fungi that may exist in your feed.
While some chicken feed can last up to six months, we recommend buying only a couple months’ worth of feed. Of course, it can be tempting to stock up on 6-months’ worth of feed. However, most of that feed will go stale and some of it will likely spoil before you get a chance to use it. Buy only the amount of feed that you need for the next month or two months to reduce the risk of spoilage.
Don’t leave it in the bag
Most feed comes in a 50lbs. bag that you have to cart around in a wheelbarrow or wagon. While you can keep the feed in there for the first day, you want to transfer it into an air-tight storage container as soon as possible. This will keep your feed fresher for longer, but it will also protect it from vermin or other animals sniffing around your coop.
Don’t mix old feed with new feed
Before placing your feed into its storage container, check to make sure there is no old feed left inside. Combining old feed with new feed seems harmless, but in reality, it’s risky. Old feed will likely sit at the bottom of the container with the new feed lying on top. This means that the old feed won’t be used in a timely fashion and it will quickly spoil. It’s better to place the new feed in a separate container and to use up your old feed as soon as possible.
Keep it indoors
Once you find the right container for your feed, place that container inside a ventilated area. We recommend places such as your garage or storage shed. Feed should definitely not be stored in the coop, as your chickens may try to get into it. Additionally, keeping your feed in a separate, indoor place will further protect it from wildlife, while also reducing the risk of spoilage due to heat or humidity. Just make sure that you clean the area where you’re storing your feed frequently to prevent attracting any desperate animals.