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What do you feed your chickens?

 
pollinator
Posts: 1290
Location: Green County, Kentucky
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The dairy products that I feed are from my goats, and have not been pasteurized (except sometimes the whey or the milk I use for making cheese).  And, I only feed as a small portion of the diet of adult birds.  If I was feeding dairy products to chicks or ducklings, I would start them with a TINY amount of raw dairy, probably kefir for the live cultures, and very gradually increase.  But at no time would it form the bulk of their diet!

Kathleen
 
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I feed primarily forage from free ranging and supplement in the winter months with fermented whole grains and layer mash mix. The mash is fresh milled at a local feed co-op. The fermentation makes the nutrients more available to a monogastric animal like a chicken and helps them digest and utilize grains that they would normally not be able to digest well. This type of feeding also introduces healthy enzymes into their diet that improves bowel absorption by increasing the number of villi in the small bowel and colonizing the bowel with healthy flora. This inhibits overgrowth of harmful pathogens and parasites.

They get more from less in this method of feeding and you also have less waste in their feces of undigested matter...it's a win/win feed supplement. Another lovely side effect of feeding the fermented feeds is little to no smell in the coop...the feces are practically odorless and are firm and healthy in appearance. I also use mother vinegar in their water year round. In the warmer months they are foraging full time as the opportunities on this land are endless. Any chicken that doesn't produce well on this feed will be culled and those that do well will be passing on those genetics. So far, all have done well.

I also grow pumpkins and apples for winter supplementing...these are allowed to ferment as well. We plant white dutch clover here for succulent, perennial greens and find they prefer it over other types of grasses in our meadows. We create areas at the edge of the woods where insects, lizards and other protein sources can thrive by leaving brush piles, leaf litter, rock piles, etc. in place and deteriorating over time to provide homes for the insects and worm life.
 
Posts: 5
Location: USA
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Tyler Ludens wrote:Whole oats and whole sunflower seeds along with bugs and weeds and stuff from the garden.  No processed food at all this year and avoiding corn (though we did accidentally buy a bag of mixed grains which included corn).



Same here. At first, I thought feeding my chickens with corn is good. But when I realized that it is one of the genetically modified foods nowadays, I started giving my chickens whole sunflower seeds, and oats. Though it's more expensive than the usual corn, they actually love it so its just fine with me. At least it is more organic.
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I have read reports that cattle & hogs that have been fed GMO feeds are having sterility problems.
Hard to make a living if your critters cannot breed.

One account stated that the farmer reverted to "real" feed, and within about half a year, his animals were breeding again.

Anything containing either corn or soy will be GMO, unless it is labeled "Organic" (even then, it is "iffy" if the organic feed was produced within a few miles of a GMO crop).

 
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Every scrap from the kitchen goes to the chickens. All garden waste goes to the chickens. If I want to start a new garden area, I fence it and put in chickens and throw waste from everything in there. Poop from the other animals goes in there. They eliminate any fly problem because they love larvae of all kinds. Their manure is very hot, so after they take down all the vegetation in an area, it is dug a couple of inches and is fertilized and ready to plant just a few weeks after you move the chickens somewhere else.They eliminate an enormous amount of work if you want to clear an area of vegetation and bugs.They eat their own feathers which are a good source of calcium, and if you don't take the eggs every day, some will break the eggs of others and eat them. Egg shells are a good source of calcium and a favored food. Chicks are good for the first few days. They have the nourishment already inside them, but can be fed egg white, just like they were eating before they were hatched. They will start eating right away, and they will eat any kind of vegetable or fruit, larvae af different bugs are favored by all chickens. They will chase each other to get a piece of bug. If a chicken gets an injury involving blood, the other chickens will cannibalize that chicken, so it needs to be kept separate until healed so it won't be mistaken for food. They love meat of all kinds, fresh or rotten, and a good way to clean up a rotting dead body and get rid of the odor is to let the chickens at it. You don't ever have to buy food for a chicken. They like almost everything, and a diet high in grain is not the best diet for chickens, but is the best diet for agribusiness. They like coffee grounds, and i call the eggs that come from chickens who eat coffee grounds "wake up eggs'' and i picture in my mind 2 fried eggs side by side staring at me. I don't know how anyone can actually use chickens to eat the bugs from a garden. They will eat bugs, but not squash bugs, or at least not mine, but they will eat all the squash and the vines too. So they are good to clean up a garden that you want to replant entirely, but you can't choose which plants they will eat.If you let them run free, they will get plenty to eat, but you can't control where they fertilize.They will eliminate any amount of compost rapidly. if you put in a lot of vegetable matter, the high heat of chicken poop transforms it all very rapidly. A couple of weeks. Everything gets plenty of turning when chickens are involved.
 
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Now I want to make a liver rock.

Can someone compare the nutrition of sprouted vs fermented grains?
 
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Hi, I'm new to the forum but not to chicken keeping. I learned from my grandmother and have had my own flocks for over 35 years. I guess that makes  me "mature" LOL  I feed my flock very little because I'm fortunate to be able to free range most all the time. They receive non-gmo feed as a treat to come in to the yard in the evening and during the winter. I only have to use a little feed because besides free ranging they receive garden and kitchen scraps. So, that's what I feed my chickens. Thanks
 
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