Originally Posted by sky the chicken man
I'd be curious how that turns out.
Right now I'm feeding mine a three-way mix of greens/energy/protein, which is working pretty well as is. It cut the amount of feed we were buying in half overnight, for one, without noticeably sacrificing egg production. In theory these could all be fed separately, but I don't leave food out during the day anyhow because a lot of the stuff I feed is perishable fresh things that might spoil and attract flies and such (or literally crawl out of the feed trough and disappear, in the case of live soldier grubs). I feed twice a day, and let them clean up all the feed. Also, mine aren't free-ranging anyway, and the seasonal differences aren't that great besides. I thought it was an intriguing notion though, and could be really useful for some....
Wow. What a fascinating, entertaining, and educational thread! I'm a "New Egg" here, and only got interested in keeping chickens about 3 months ago. I now have three 3 1/2 week-old chicks.
Something I read recently suggested that the crumbles form of feed allow the chickens to pick through and find what they want. I guess this is different from the pellets, since with those they get a condensed bit of all the ingredients, whether they need them all or not. So, in a way, it seems to me that using the crumbles (and I realize that's not homemade feed) is a little like providing the different types of feed separately. Though, I think what I was reading was also suggesting that feeding crumbles in this way wasn't necessarily a good thing, since there could be excessive waste of feed. Still, it seems like the chickens would eat what they need to eat and it might all be worth it. If you're going to use store-bought feed, that is.
Not sure exactly why, but I really like the approach of offering different feed components in separate feeders, allowing the chickens to eat what they need/want. (I'm assuming chickens instinctively eat what their bodies need, like I think humans actually do in their natural state!) I'd like to use homemade feed as much as possible, so this thread is absolutely wonderful. I'm just starting out with gardening, composting and the like, so I'll definitely be taking baby steps. My chicks have had a taste of earthworm from me putting a clump of earth and grass in their brooder, and from their first outdoor adventure last weekend. My primary form of homemade feed doesn't really fall under the topic here, since I'm grinding up peas, oats, wheat, and flax seed, and mixing in some kelp meal and nutritional yeast. Although the chicks go crazy for this, it's definitely not saving me any money! I have some greens in my little garden that I grew over the winter, and I'm anxious to see if the chickies will eat them once they're grown into pullets and ready to free-range. I've been tossing veggie scraps from the kitchen into my little compost pile for a couple of months now, so I'm looking forward to using those to supplement the chickens' feed, too.
I really like the sound of growing duckweed, and think I'll start making plans for that!
Thanks, Sky, for getting and maintaining this discussion thread, and all the other members who've been contributing to it!
Edited by FouPourPoulets - 4/4/12 at 4:05pm