I'm late to this post...but I'll throw this out to anyone still still reading...does anyone have experience with growing their own feed for winter or buying whole grains-something other than the expensive 50# bags from the feed store?
Just so happens, I do. Black Sunflower, cow peas and popcorn make great scratch. Depending on the size of your flock, will dictate how much you need to grow. I also feed my birds leftovers. Just be careful what you give them. They love rotting milk and meat. Watch out for the green peppers and onions, even though they seem to really enjoy eating it, their eggs will taste like an omelet. Dry greens, like clover, for a winter feed as well. Jerusalem Artichokes are a great sustainable plant to grow in your chicken yard. Bugs love this plant, the birds love the bugs, the plants love the poop, and you'll love the tuber.
As for the expensive feed, I go to my local co-op and spend a lot less on my egg layers mash than I do at the chain feed stores. You can also look around for a local mash maker. My b-i-l buys his from a man relatively cheap. Hope this helps you.
As for the rest of you, do you see what you have brought me to? Answering questions to other people, on my own blog. SHEESH!