sacchi con grano

What feed do farmers buy for their chickens and hens?

Many people outside the poultry industry are legitimately asking questions about this great food supply system, which provides white meat and eggs to billions of people around the world, guaranteeing access to a cheap and quality form of nutrition.

Among the most frequently circulated questions, morbidly stimulated by detractors of protected (so-called intensive) farming, is: “What feed do farmers buy for their chickens and hens? And where do they buy them?”. Behind this legitimate curiosity there is often the idea of wanting to discover who knows what impropriety.


The answer, however, is simple: farmers do not buy the feed because in most cases they are not the owners of the animals. Instead, they breed them on behalf of large companies called ‘integrations’ because they integrate the entire production chain, from breeding stock to hatchery, from feed mill to slaughterhouse.

The feed is therefore supplied to them by the company that owns the chickens.

This series of steps is little known to the uninitiated and may seem convoluted, but it is not.

If anything, it is complex and characterised by seriousness, precision, care, research, professionalism … without which white meat and eggs would not arrive punctually in the shops we all frequent.


The ways in which baby-chicks are bred to become chickens or laying hens are in fact established by precise programmes described by rules contained in dedicated manuals and provided to farmers along with periodic refresher and training courses. These programmes provide for the constant adjustment of general care for the animal’s welfare during each of their growth phases… and among these is, of course, the care of nutrition.


A chick has to be fed differently as it grows (a rule that also applies to humans) and so the farmer is periodically given baby-chicks or fertilised eggs to raise together with the appropriate feed, in the appropriate quantity, for each growth phase of the animals entrusted to him by the owner company.


Compliance with the established rules guarantees the care of the general welfare of the animal and, consequently, also the welfare and safety of the entire chain that reaches the shop where we supply our meat and eggs.


The editorial staff of M.A.C.