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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Growing your own; Chicken feed

Hickchick asked over on The Back Forty. . .

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.

Picture 313

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!


hickchick said...

Thanks Phelan-do you find you can supplement your layers by 25%, -50%, is 100% unrealistic? I'm just storing this info in my little head for the time I can actually use it!
Are you still thinking spring :/?

Stephanie said...

Ok while we are talking chickens I'll ask you a question here that you can answer on your own blog! :)

Do you provide a separate place for your broody hens? The only hens I've had successfully sit are the ones that escape the fence (they all have also been mutt hens descended from the same mother, but that is a subject for another post on my blog LOL!) and make a nest somewhere I really don't want it. Any hens that have gone broody and tried to sit in the nest boxes get pushed out by another hen and seem to lose their nest. Then I end up throwing out a bunch of eggs! Grrr!

Donna said...

I used to give the chickens anything from the house that we didn't eat. Table scraps, moldy bread, etc. And when I churned butter, they got the buttermilk. When I made cottage cheese, they got the whey.

EJ said...

I think this is a great question. We're looking to cut down on store bought feed/grains, too.

Heres a good resource:

I feed store bought feed, leftovers (never chicken), and garden waste (weeds, veggie bits). But I wouldn't feed moldy or rotten food- that goes to the compost.

Phelan said...

hickchick, Last year was at about 25% this year I think I will be able to do 50% easily. But I also grow some of this for my goats. 100% can be obtained, but you will need to keep your flock small unless you have large acreage. And yes, still thinking spring. March isn't too far (that is when the bike rallies begin again)

Stephanie, I will post an answer for you tomorrow.

Donna, we heat up the buttermilk in the winter, mix it with a little mash. Keeps the birds nice and warm.

EJ, rotting foods won't hurt the birds, nor affect the taste of the eggs. Chickens are scavangers, curddled milk and gone bad meat seems to be a favorite of my group. They will fight over it. But you shouldn't feed that to them solely. And thanks for the link.

Robbyn said...

Thanks, Phelan!

Annette said...

Thank you for answering in your blog! =) I hope to have chickens in the spring and this is most helpful.

MeadowLark said...

Was I asleep when you changed pictures? I usually read in a feed, so I don't always see what's in the header.

I miss the other, but this one has a lot of history to it, so it's good too.


Anita said...

You know, I tried to point out to the city administrator that even WICHITA lets you own chickens in town, but he says the council won't budge on letting me have my chickens... *sigh* so I'll just have to read about yours! :)

Phelan said...

Robbyn, just felt like being the busy body.

annette, you're welcome.

Meadowlark, changed it yesterday. That is my mother's family back in the day. The other one will be back in the spring when it is shearing season again.

Anita, or you can move across the way from me and have all the birds, cows, pigs, llamas, horses. . .you want :D

Country Girl said...

Great post! Feed prices are high and I am very interested in alternative ways so this was helpful. There is a local place you can buy it 1/2 ton at a time but we have yet to do that. The pigs are really what is killing us right now. They are eating about 50lbs every 3-4 days...

Phelan said...

Country Girl, my b-i-l raises hogs. He got a hook up with a local bakery and buys a full rack of day old bread for $1. He also has a hook up with the local grocer to get all their unwanted produce. Have you thought about going this route?

Anita said...

That is so tempting.. lol.. but Rick giving up a sure-thing job where he's been for several years for something new is a scary thought in the current economy! :(
And giving up on the town my family's been in for 6 generations makes me sad... I'd miss it!

Country Girl said...

We do the bread thing and we get milk from a local store too but some weeks we do better than others. I might stop at a local bakery and see about getting some of there scraps.

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