*Feeding Chickens*
By: Garry
30 March 2024

I've raised cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and goats on this property, and had a 6,000 sq ft garden. We were able to feed ourselves easily. We froze some things, but canning was our go to preservation method. We are on 10 acres, and that is not enough to provide food for cows, so had another 160 acres down the road for hay and grain.

Making hay and grain for cows and pigs is possible using things like scythes to harvest, but boy it's a lot of work.

We're older and busted up, so no critters or garden, however we've retained the infrastructure and it would be easy to roll back into production. One positive thing is we've learned that chickens are the ideal animal for survival. They breed quickly, provide both meat and eggs, and are easy to feed. More importantly I can feed them from the small bit of land we have, and don't need large machinery to do so.

First off I free range fed all the chickens all summer. My feed costs we're about a quarter of what they were in winter. Egg quality soared too!

Their favourite food is wheat- to the point that if I fed whole grains they'd dig through the other grains to get the wheat! I got around that by grinding their grain. I ground once a week in order to preserve freshness.

I used dried peas (30%), wheat (20%), and oats (50%). If I got a good deal on flax or other grains I'd toss some in too.

I had a roller for the oats, but that allowed the birds to discriminate against the peas, so ended up grinding everything into one big mix. I fed dry. I also always had grit and calcium available.

If you have any meat (roadkill, freezer burnt, etc) they will attack it like the little dinosaurs they are.

Plenty of water goes without saying.

Dumping your lawn mower clippings into the chicken coop leads to happy well fed chickens.

I saved a LOT by buying grains in bulk and mixing and grinding myself. You can save even more by going direct to the farmers. Doesn't take long before you know who is growing what in your area. Of course the cheapest is to grow your own food.

We raised 150-200 meat birds every summer, and kept around 10-20 egg layers. They all ate the same thing, and all seemed healthy and happy.

I fed commercial chick food until they fledged. Not certain what exactly the little guys needed, but figured a good start was important. Not certain why I thought that as once we started letting some chickens raise their own chicks they did just fine on their own....


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