Chickens are omnivores. They eat grains, fruits, and vegetables as well as insects. Chickens should typically be fed a prepared feed that is balanced for vitamins, minerals, and protein. A healthy laying hen diet should also contain crushed oyster shell for egg production, and grit for digestion. A 6-pound hen will eat roughly 3 pounds of feed each week.
They love fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen and garden, as well as bread. Scratch-cracked corn and oats are a nice treat for the chickens that does not supply all their nutritional needs, but is fine in moderation.
Feed consumption may increase in the winter when burning more calories, and decrease in the heat of the summer. A critical part of a chicken's diet is continual access to clean, fresh water. This is especially true in the summer as they cool themselves by panting.