Peter Ellis wrote:Alex, I do not understand your point re BSF. They do not feed on cellulose or lignin effectively, but do have a high conversion rate on other organic matter, and they are in themselves good sources of both protein and fat. Fats are high calorie foods.
Historically humans consumed grains directly rather than feeding grains to livestock. What went to livestock would be either waste from the processing of grains for human consumption or post human use waste product (brewing byproducts, for example).
Regarding compost - you do not have to be bringing in from outside, and properly managed compost is an environment that is not conducive to pathogens.
Methods of storage are worthy of discussion, but something of their own subject, as contrasted with what we can grow as feed, and then may need to store.
When we are able to let our chickens forage, they can do a better job of finding the wild feed for themselves than we can do of finding it for them. Giant ragweed is a nutritional powerhouse, too bad so many people have allergies But I bet chickens are happy to eat it. I think letting them find it for themselves is more efficient than me taking time to harvest it for them.
Squash and root crops can be fed to chickens, but is it sensible to feed our chickens food that we can directly consume? In that process, we essentially lose energy.
Sort of depends on how much work it takes to grow the crops and whether surplus beyond our own direct consumption is better utilized going to the chickens or being traded with other people. I would certainly say it goes to the chickens before it goes to the compost pile.
You mention fishheads, and I would agree and add any sort of offal, although I hesitate to feed chicken to chicken, without cooking it first for fear of pathogens.
Farming insects takes me full circle to the BSF. I have not come across any insect cultivation that comes close to matching their efficiency, and on many levels. You can set up a BSF bin to self-harvest into your chicken run
Dean Moriarty wrote:I have 12 acres, but nothing growing on it yet
That looks like very good chicken food there. I see stands of native grasses (seeds) I see greens, so you know there are plenty of bugs lurking in there too. I would just let the chickens free range during the day. at night you might need to use a little treat food to get them to come back to the coop for lock up at night but otherwise it looks like great free range land to me. To improve it, think about broadcasting some clovers, curly dock, kale, cereal rye, millet, teff, amaranth, chia seeds, Millet, quinoa, etc. in that field so there is more variety for the chickens to utilize.
Dean Moriarty wrote:OK, fair enough. I attached a picture so you can see what it looks like. I plan on letting some animals loose on it, but I wasn't sure how useful it would be for chickens as it stands now.