How to feed your chickens in Stardew Valley

Look at all those chickens

So, you’ve started up your own farm in Stardew Valley, and you’re making good progress. You’re cultivating your crops, you’re fishing like you’ve never fished before, and you’re befriending everyone in town with your understated, country charm. Life is good. Of course, the next natural progression is getting yourself some farm animals, so you take a trip down to Marnie’s to secure yourself some adorable little chickens. It would be nice if your new fluffy little friends were self-sustaining, but like anything in life, you’ve gotta put some work in to get what you want out of things. What you want being the eggs, and the things being the chickens. Just don’t ask me which came first.

Why do the chickens need food?

This is a good question when you consider that the animals in Stardew Valley never really die. It is entirely possible to go through your game without ever feeding your chickens, but if you want better quality eggs that are going to sell for a lot more. If you keep your chickens fed and happy by petting them and keeping their hearts up, they’ll start to drop silver, gold, and iridium-quality eggs. When they’re feeling extra loved, they’ll even start dropping large eggs of different qualities, which sell for even more.

It’s feedin’ time

There are a few different options when it comes to keeping your little chickies fed in Stardew Valley. The first is to simply let them eat the grass that already grows naturally on your farm. The chickens need to be able to get out of their coop to do this — all you have to do is open the little chicken door on the coop that’s to the right of your normal human door. Just click on it with whatever you use to perform your secondary action, and you’ll see the little door open up (it kind of looks like a dog/cat door).

Once the door is open, the chickens will go out onto your farm during the daytime and eat the grass. Keep in mind that there’s a difference between weeds and grass — the easiest way to tell the difference is that weeds block your path when you try to walk through them, while grass does not. If you’ve already gotten rid of all the grass on your farm, don’t worry, because you can buy some Grass Starters from Pierre for 100g, or from the JojaMart for 125g. Pierre also sells the recipe for Grass Starters for 1,000g if you want to be able to make your own.

It’s also worth mentioning that your chickens won’t go outside to eat at night, when it’s raining, or during winter. If you don’t like your chickens running about all over your farm, you can also fence them in around the coop. I like this option because it also creates a designated area where I can always keep grass growing for my chickens, because I like to keep the rest of my farm looking tidy.

Silos and automatic feeding

The other main option you have for feeding your chickens is using the troughs that already come installed in the coop. You can buy hay from Marnie for 50g a pop, and once you have some, click on the trough along the back wall of the coop to place it for the chickens to eat as they please. Inventory space is precious, especially in the early game, so I recommend getting a Silo for your farm, each of which can store up to 240 pieces of hay. Once you have a Silo, you’ll also be able to harvest hay from grass on your farm with a scythe, which will be added straight into your Silo.

The biggest benefit, though, is that you’ll be able to draw hay from your Silo by interacting with the box in the top left corner of the coop known as the Hopper, which will put the exact number of hay you need to feed your chickens for the day into your inventory. All that’s left for you to do is place that hay into the trough and you’re good to go.

Upgrading your coop gives you an automatic feeder as well, meaning that all you have to do is make sure there’s plenty of hay in your Silos, and the feeder will automatically pull hay from your stores and place them in the troughs. Pretty cool, huh? If you want to make sure your chickens are fed all year round, I’d recommend setting up your Silo before the wintertime, as well as setting some extra gold aside to buy hay from Marnie.

[Featured Image Screenshot by Destructoid]

Noelle Warner
After a few years of working in game development, Noelle joined the Destructoid team in 2021. She particularly loves interactive storytelling and cuddling with her cats!