Feeding Backyard chickens

This topic contains 22 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  piglett 7 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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  • #604

    mmpaints
    Member

    I had a question asked by a blogger pal so this evening I intend to do what I can to answer it for her. Thank you Deborah for asking…….

    Tonite I’m going to share what I do to feed my chickens without having to fork out $12 for a 50lb bag of commercial chicken feed. Chickens are notorious for eating just about anything they can peck so table scraps are always on the menu. they will also eat about anything you try to plant in your garden if you don’t keep them out. Chickens are particularly fond of beets, kale, potatoes, sunflowers, wheat, oats and all types of grass seed. Cracked corn is something they dive on but it lacks protein so I supplement cracked corn with ground soybeans, sunflowers, wheat, some barley, milo and oats. To keep my egg shells nice and solid, I wash every egg shell I crack, dry them and crush them up for the feed mix. I give my chickens all types of squash I grow here. They love the fruit and the seeds and devour pumpkins in a heartbeat. chickens will pluck your almost ripe tomatoes right off the vines. they aren’t real fond of sweet pepper but eat your cucumbers every chance they get.

    I have also heard it said that you can even feed chickens meat scraps but I do not. I also do not feed my chickens cooked egg.

    I have heard that milk and cheese/butter byproducts are good feed supplements but have never set whey, milk of cheese out for them. I may try soaking their grains in it when the goat starts giving me milk.

    I have also noticed that chickens like alfalfa and clover, they occasionally steal it from the rabbits and very often get right in the hay pile with the goats and sheep.

    The hottest spot for hungry chickens around here in the manure pile. As it decomposes and turns into my growing compost, it is always full of worms, dung beetles and other various insects. Japanese beetles are a favorite for chickens as well. I shake them out of the peach trees and scoop them into buckets with a bit of water in the bottom(keeps the beetles from flying out) and I dump the water filled beetles in the feed pan and get back because a whole avalanche of chickens will appear to scarf them up.

    So, anything you grow and harvest for yourself will make decent chicken feed for your backyard flock. don’t forget the calcium and you’ll have quality eggs and chicken meat without having to spend a dime on feed.

    #55271

    Phelan
    Member

    ham and spoiled milk. They love it. Chickens are by nature omnivorous. And the best tasting eggs, in my opinion, are ones that the owner allowed their birds to eat as many grasshoppers as they desire. The higher their protein intake is,, the higher protein content and rich flavor the eggs will have.

    I avoid onions and green peppers when feeding scraps to my birds. I discovered that unless you want your eggs to taste like an omlette, it is best to stay away from the overly flavorful scrapes.

    #55272

    ponymama44
    Member

    My chicken bucket is filled everyday with the scraps from my kitchen. They get everythng but meat including extra milk. I have had my flock for 10 years and I still have 4 of my original hens and they still lay – not as well as the young ones but still. My chucks are particularily fond of my cow and horse manure spreadings, they spread the clumps out very nicely.
    Things they don’t eat – citrus rinds, onion peelings or pineapple tops. Clearly northern chickens! 🙂

    #55273

    mmpaints
    Member

    Actually ponymama, they love meat scraps. They’ll pick a carcass clean in no time and I throw all my butchering scraps out to them now. You shoulda seen em dive on the turkey from Thanksgiving… Protein is protein.

    #55274

    Genevieve
    Participant

    wonder if dry dog food would be bad for them? all the birds in the valley seem to love our dog’s food. I was worried that it would hurt them, but they seem to be doing ok on it.

    #55275

    ponymama44
    Member

    I know they love meat but there is hardly any ever left over 1., and 2. the dogs get any edible scraps and the bones get composted. I use all the fat trimmings as suet, for dog food or cooking. When the piglets start eating big pig food, the chickens have competion for the scraps but that isn’t until summer anyway and the chucks get bugs galore.

    #55276

    Slaw901
    Member

    I’ve had really good luck feeding shelled corn that I picked up after a careless farmer spilled it transporting it from his field.

    #55277

    mmpaints
    Member

    LOL slaw, yep, that’s a really great source of free corn. Farmers around here do that too.

    LOL ponymama, I hear ya. I always get a laugh when I see the chickens, cat and dog all eating out of the same bowl at the same time. Nobody ever goes hungry around here, that’s for darn sure.

    #55278

    ponymama44
    Member

    My kids are all tall, my horses are big (like 17+ hands) and people ask me what I do for a hobby – I shrug and say – cook! But it goes with my motto – “You feed them, They Grow!”

    #55279

    Genevieve
    Participant

    @genevieve wrote:

    wonder if dry dog food would be bad for them? all the birds in the valley seem to love our dog’s food. I was worried that it would hurt them, but they seem to be doing ok on it.

    so.. no thoughts on this? opinions? or is it the old “ignore and they go away” crap? never mind. 🙄

    #55280

    ponymama44
    Member

    I am sorry I figured someone else would – Sorry Genevieve –
    Our chickens eat dog food, cat food, livestock adn horse grain when ever the opportunity arises but I am not sure that it is good to feed them dog food all the time exclusively. Nutritional needs for carnivore canines and omnivore birds are pretty different. The birds need a lot more calcium (supplement them with oyester shells or a blood builder for livestock).
    My first husbands family had a dairy farm in the midwest and along with the 16 cats had one rooster left over from a chicken raising experiment. When we would call the cats to be fed, MrChicken would come running and peck the cats heads until they made room for him at the trough. He lived a long time, FWIW.

    #55281

    mmpaints
    Member

    LOL, I didn’t see the question! The chickens here scarf up the cat food all the time. I don’t feed the dog outside so they don’t get to any of that but they eat the same things the dog does since everybody gets the same scraps.

    #55282

    Phelan
    Member

    mine stay away from dog food like it is the plague.

    #55283

    RockinB
    Participant

    Phelan what kind of dog food do you use? I use purina and our chickens sneak in the yard to get at it almost every day.

    #55284

    Phelan
    Member

    I think it has more to do with the smell of dog. Puppies have a tendency to terrify chickens.

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