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Advice urgently needed here, what can I grow at home to feed my flocks?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

We have approx 30 laying hens (mainly Rhodes) and hope to expand into breeding and raising Bronze OR Ridley bronze turkeys.

We have been feeding the laying hens a 99% gmo free commercial feed, and it is so expensive. Our flock also free ranges all day ( locked at night due to predators)

I have seed catalogs in hand, and need to order asap, so here is the question: what can I grow (non gmo) in my garden (almost 2 acres available) to feed our laying hens year round, and also to plant ahead for the turkeys? We are growing Valencia peanuts this year, for fowl and 2 leggeds as well, sunflowers, hulless oats, and corn.....

I will watch this thread and hope for self restraint, but feeling the need to order seed soon.....lol

post #2 of 5
You will probably suffer a loss in production with mixing your own feed as not only is it difficult to do on a small scale but you have the issue of proper storage of the foodstuffs so that there isn't a significant drop in nutrition by the time that it is fed.

With that said however, if you want to provide premium forage or harvest for treats (no more than 10% of diet) then you have a lot of options. You can do standard grains like wheat, rye, barley, millet, etc. Some high protein grains include amaranth, teff, quinoa, buckwheat... Then you have the various greens such as clover, fodder radish, alfalfa, chicory, lettuces, mustards, cowpeas, etc. You can consider root crops such as beets, sweet potato, turnips that will store well if you have a cool, moist place. How about winter squash? When allowed to cure properly, you can store them for months.

The roots and leaves of anything in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant) are toxic to chickens, so grow these in area where they don't have access.
post #3 of 5

I buy organic seeds locally and sprout them.  Do a google search for "fodder".  Barley and wheat are the best.  It is easy to do, has nutritional benefits that unsprouted grains do not have, and each seed sprouts to 4 to 6 times in volume.  I grow kale for my chickens, however they will eat most anything green from the garden.  Grow sunflowers and pumpkins as they are highly beneficial. Fresh herbs are also great.     

post #4 of 5

Just keep the extras as extra, not a major part of their diet.  Mary

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

they ate the half my garden that wasn't washed away last year (flash flood), gonna be putting vinyl snow fence to keep their beaks out of my garden this year! Great info! ty

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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Feeding & Watering Your Flock › Advice urgently needed here, what can I grow at home to feed my flocks?