Storing Chicken Feed: What NOT to do!


Another lesson learned the hard way. Store your chicken feed in something other than a plastic trash can. Over the past few nights something has been getting into our chicken feed. I’m pretty sure it’s a raccoon. Whatever it is has been knocking the lid off and tearing apart the bag inside. Then the rain, which hasn’t stopped for days now, has been filling the can all night until we replace the lid again in the morning.

Now we have a bunch of moldy chicken feed. It was all clumped together (and very stinky), which actually made it easier for me to separate the good from the bad.

My husband (you gotta love the man) passed a large metal trash can on the side of the highway the other day and actually went back, risked his life as he dashed across the lanes to the median, and grabbed the much needed garbage can just for the purpose of storing the chicken’s food. The things we do to save a buck!

So, today I made it my goal to get the yucky feed out of the old can and get the clean feed into the new water/pest proof container. Much better. Unfortunately, there didn’t happen to be a lid sitting on the side of the road as well. So, for now, I have a sheet of wood with a cinder block as the cover. Watch that raccoon come back and knock it off too! Maybe I’ll luck up and come across a metal lid that fits 😉 Anyways, it was still a blessing.

Hopefully this will keep the critters and moisture out.

About Kendra 1103 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.


  1. I realize this is an old post. I just wanted people to know that YES ! Chicken feed does go bad. What happens is after a few weeks vitamins start to degrade which can cause all kinds of problems with their health. Reseach nutritional deficiencies in chickens and chicks. Some vitamin deficiencies can cause torticollis, staggering gait, paralysis and even death. So do not store feeds very long. Just like with our food FRESH is BEST !
    Good Luck with your flock.

  2. Whatever you do, don’t feed chickens or any other fowl food that has corn in it that has gotten wet. Molded corn or grain of any kind can make them very sick. I lost an entire flock of ducks I had hand raised when I was a kid because my parents fed them molded corn while I was away for a week at camp.

  3. I’m a new chicken owner and was wondering about the shelf life of chicken feed. The guys at the mill told my husband that the feed (both the pre-bagged purina-type and the mill’s own mix) was only good for a few months, especially in the hotter months. I was hoping to stock-pile a much larger amount as a food-storage/preparedness strategy and thought I’d heard of others doing the same. I’d imagine whole grains have a longer shelf-life, but home-milling grain for the chickens is not very realistic for me right now. Can chickens eat wheat and other grains whole? Thanks for any ideas!

    • Mendy,

      I’ve never heard of chicken feed going bad. As long as you keep it dry and sealed, it should last. I don’t know what he means by “good”… is he saying it would begin to lose nutritional value? Yes, chickens can eat whole kernels of corn, and wheat, ours eat that stuff just fine, as long as you provide them with some free range or grit to help them grind that food down once ingested. And corn and wheat will store for years and YEARS as long as it’s stored properly.

  4. We keep our feed in a plastic trash can as well. We used a bungee cord across the lid and attached the ends to the handles. It keeps the lid on nice and tight and so far no problems with raccoons.

  5. D.E. is diatomaceous earth. Google it and do alot of research before you use it. I’ve heard that it is a great natural product, but I have also heard that the dust from it is toxic. Be careful, especially being pregnant. It may not be worth the risk.

  6. Coons are really smart… We had one take the log off of our dog food to open it. I was convinced we had a huge monster getting into the food until one night we saw him. He always left a nice big pile of poop right beside of the container. I guess it was his way of saying thanks.

  7. My dad was having a problem with squirrels eating the tops of his plastic feed barrels. He’s turned wash tubs (foot tubs) over his feed barrels and it’s worked like a charm. Every time I go to an auction sale and see an old foot tub for practically nothing, I purchase it.

  8. Sorry about your chicken food! We use metal trash cans to store our food too. I mix some DE in with the food to keep bugs or moisture away. I hope you can find a lid for your new can somewhere!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.