Since I now live in a land of abundant acorns, I've been making them a part of my own diet for a couple of years now, and have in the last few months been feeding them to my hens as well. They seem to eat only a few if they are just smashed open. I've found by long trial and error that I get the best success by:
1. smash then open with a hammer, and set aside any that are substantially moldy (I've been re-drying these with a plan to feed them to soldier fly grubs when I get these restarted soon) I also pick out any loose shells.
2. soak them, one hen-feedings' worth as a batch, in water for seven days, changing the water daily. So each morning I feed off a batch that's been leached for a week, and smash a new set to start the leaching process.
3. The last day's leaching has ashes added to the water.
4. After leaching, I add more ashes and also some clay, and bring to a boil (usually either in a solar cooker or on the embers of the woodstove), then drain and let cool for the next morning's feeding.
5. At feeding time I treat the acorns as if they were grain, adding a protein supplement, some shell, and some seaweed powder.
My hens also get weeds, kitchen and garden leavings, and are usually out on free range half days. I give them a bit of grain.....only a handful for four of them.....to get them to follow me back to their pen at sundown.
After a transition period of a month or so, they are finally laying well on this diet. They were loath to quit eating grain in the morning....I would try to mix it with the acorn half and half to break them into it but they would just peck the grain out and then go hungry. I had to starve them into eating the acorn at the beginning, but now they go after it with relish....
When I was in Catalonia I would pick up Holly Oak acorns, the ones famous for having little tannins and being edible raw, put them in my mouth to bite them in to little pieces and then toss them at the chooks, they would fight each other for them.
Why work hard when god made so many mongongo nuts? - !Kung
The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man - Murray Bookchin
C'est drôle comme les gens qui se croient instruits éprouvent le besoin de faire chier le monde.-Boris Vian
El hombre es la naturaleza que toma conciencia de sí misma -Elisée Reclus