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Ideas for free chicken food - Page 2

post #11 of 21

I do part time work for a caterer. I always bring home scrap veggies from salad and cole slaw and any bread or rolls that get stale for the animals (chickens and goats).  I keep the good stuff for myself ;)

 

My uncle is a hay farmer currently growing oat hay and in the summer he grows a large garden to sell produce.  When he is finished cutting hay in the fall and finished harvesting, I go and collect the  corn stalks, any veggies and melons left on the vines or that bugs got to and leftover oats from the hay.  A lot of that goes to the goats, but the chickens like it too.  

post #12 of 21

I try out all sorts of stuff; they're picky sometimes.  They won't have anything to do with potato peels or carrots in any form :(  I buy the dried milk and make my own yogurt for them...way cheap...they love it and it's great for extra protein for them.  They absolutely love dandelions so all I can find go in their run.  They won't eat strawberries but love plums and canteloupe.  Earlier this spring I planted some oats and clover for use in herbal tinctures and teas, and it turns out they love it!  So, next year, I'm going to plant more and some alfalfa as well.  We don't have enough room to plant tons of the stuff, but it's a nice, fresh addition for supplementing.  

 

Also posted on Craig's List and our local Freecycle for spent grain from beer brewers.  We spread it out on the driveway to dry it and then dole it out as a treat for them.  We also hit the farmer's markets for trimmings...but only if it's from organic stuff...don't want to be giving them any chemicals. We make wine from various fruits and vegetables, so when the "soak" is done, we give it to them...before fermentation...don't want drunken hens!

post #13 of 21

My chickens also will not eat Carrots or their peels for some reason! But they go Ape-S**t for strawberrys!

 

I alternate daily between dumping my daily kitchen scraps in the compost heap, or in the chicken run, and often times I will give them the left overs from the parrots dinner (we have three) which is also usually fresh veggies/fruit, brown rice or whole wheat pasta, etc.

 

Sometimes I take a few whole eggs (theirs), and toss them in the blender shell and all with expired plain yogurt and the last of whatever veggies I have in my fridge (cucumber, kale, romaine, carrots, etc) and blend them all together to make a sort of paste/mash.  Then I take it outside and mix it with some of thier layer feed, and put it on a plate for them.  They go crazy for this!!!!!!!

 

Next year Id love to grow some herbs or plants in the garden especially for them, would love some suggestions on that topic :)

 

 

 

Im wondering, can chickens actually consume meat regularily?  We eat steak three to four times a week, and often times have leftover scraps, etc.  The dogs usually get them, but if the chickens can have gristle or beef scraps id gladly give them to them.  Also, Im wondering about bone marrow?  Can they have ground up bones or marrow?

1 Buff Orpington Hen, 1 Easter Egger Hen, 1 Barred Rock Hen (Hopefully), 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte Hen (Hopefully), 1 Mille Fleur Rooster + One Male Alexandrine Parakeet, 2 Female Indian Ringnecks, 4 Dogs, 2 Horses and a very patient husband

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1 Buff Orpington Hen, 1 Easter Egger Hen, 1 Barred Rock Hen (Hopefully), 1 Silver Laced Wyandotte Hen (Hopefully), 1 Mille Fleur Rooster + One Male Alexandrine Parakeet, 2 Female Indian Ringnecks, 4 Dogs, 2 Horses and a very patient husband

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post #14 of 21

What a great idea with the eggs/veggies/leftovers!  I might have to try that!

 

They can and usually will eat meat...including chicken.  Cut it up in relatively small pieces for them if it's dense like steak and make sure it's not overly seasoned...it's a great way to get more protein in their diet.  Marrow is great...most of them love it.

 

I'd recommend some oats...it's a decent cover crop.  You can cut before the seeds are all the way ripe...they have a milky liquid inside and they like it...or wait till they've dried and just cut the top and toss it in...mine love it!  I just cut the tops and later when the stalks are dried, I cut them for a little extra bedding straw.

 

Clover is also great...and it's a perennial...you can harvest it, leave the roots and it'll come again.  Alfalfa is like that too...if you harvest it just after it blooms, you can get 2 or 3 cuttings a year off it.  I'm definitely putting in a few patches of that this spring...in fact, I might put some in this fall and let it sprout and then rest over the winter for fresh greens in the spring.

 

Chickweed is another fave of chickens...hence the name, LOL.  Gonna plant some of that in the spring as well.  

 

Another thing I put in this spring was comfrey...again for herbal concoctions...turns out the chickens love it!  It can't be given too often cuz it can cause the runs.  The leaves are HUGE and I give them one or two about once a week or so.

 

You can also put in some wheat or other type of grains.  

 

Mine are nuts for the little grape tomatoes...most of the ones off my plant go into their run for them...we keep the larger ones to eat.

 

I have lemon grass and fennel growing, but mine didn't like either of them.   Cucumbers and zucchini are big hits with our girls.  We have both zucchini and the little yellow squash plants and we can all share the produce.  These are also easily cubed and frozen for treats later on.  

 

I'm also going to put in several sunflowers for them next year...will have to net them to keep the neighborhood birds out, tho.  I'll probably plant some runner beans and let them grow up the stalks.  I haven't tried green beans with the girls (we like them too much), but they like pinto beans.  All beans need to be cooked first of course, but I figure it won't take up any extra room, and cooked dried legumes provide a goodly amount of cheap, healthy protein.

 

Would love to hear anyone else's suggestions for stuff to grow.

 

Mickey

post #15 of 21

My chickies do NOT like Zucchini (raw or cooked) or cucumbers. They like carrots IF I grate them finely, but not coarsely. I HOPE they will like pumpkin because I grew some and its not ready yet... They also will not touch cantalope (except for the seeds) but adore watermelon.

 

I deliberately planted Purslane all over my property and the chickies go crazy over it. Next year I will have even more growing since it IS a weed and seeds and roots readily just about anywhere, its free greens for them. Right now it is blooming and seeding so what they eat is even more better for them nutritionally plus giving me more plants when I disturb them cutting some for the chickens (I'll shake the cuttings over areas I want more to grow, too). Purslane transplants readily, just pull it up when you see it somewhere, keep moist till u plant it for yourself and water it till established.

 

A neighbor gives me his grass clippings (no ferts or poisons on his lawn) also and lately I have been drying most of that for "hay" for this winter. I tried drying the purslane but the stems/leaves are too thick so it wont dry.

 

I have some people that give me leftovers like partially eaten corn on the cob and old bread, as long as it isnt moldy, its good for them.

 

I hope to be growing lots more stuff next year and years to come that will help me and them eat well, i have young fruit trees that will be bearing some day also.
 

I also have established a mealworm farm, it isnt exactly free, but darn near is once you get it going well. The growing strata is wheat bran which is a chicken food in itself, and the high protien the bugs provide cant be beaten in moderation. I also go bug hunting with a childs butterfly net (2$), scooping up hoppers and assorted buggy life is pleasant and pleasing once you get it to the chickens, the chortles of delight and the racing around with a bug to try to eat it in peace is highly entertaining. I even pick up the odd huge stink bug and give it to them. Last nite the rooster got the stinkbug, he's never even tried to eat a bug I brought before, he stands back and lets someone else jump for them. I cant believe they can swallow the things whole!

 

I wont be able to this year, but next year I will be set up with a new chicken run and coop and will have it set up to hang a light somewhat low in the run in the evening and set up a lawn chair and watch the fun as they catch their own bugs attracted by the lite.

 

I liked the ideas about the straw/hay bales and I will try cardboard laying on the ground, too- for buggy hiding places, Hadn't thought of that, that'll have to wait till next year!

post #16 of 21

Who says chickens aren't individuals??  Mine won't eat carrots or strawberries but like cukes and zucchini and tomatoes.  They love canteloupe seeds but will eat it all down to the rind.  I was absolutely shocked when I tossed in a dandelion I'd yanked from the yard (they LOVE dandelions) and an earwig crawled out.  She pecked at it...and spit it out!!  Unreal...free protein and she wasn't interested, LOL.

 

I planted some stuff in the spring for herbal remedies and such before we got the chickens.  However they like the oats, clover and comfrey a lot.  So, I'm going to put more in next spring as well as some winter rye, winter wheat, alfalfa and chickweed.  I might try some purslane too, that's a great idea!  I'm also going to put in some sunflowers and let some runner beans climb the stalks...they last about forever dried, and if you cook them, they provide an excellent source of protein.

 

DH is also going to build a cold frame against the south side of the house so we can sprout leafy greens for them all winter long...lettuce, spinach, chard, kale, stuff like that.  I should probably dry out grass clippings for them too.  They're in a portable run so they get plenty of the fresh stuff and we usually compost them.  However, it won't be long before the grass isn't green any more so having some dry on hand for them should be a nice treat too.


Edited by mickey328 - 8/30/12 at 11:49pm
post #17 of 21

I had a Black Soldier Fly composter. They self harvest and break down waste. Here is a harvest I was giving to frogs but you can grow them to feed your girls:) 

 

 

 

Hope this helps:)

All my Youtube video's broken down into playlist...
Chickens and coop ideas!Live chicken feed BSF Harvest!Beneficial garden bugs!Tomato care!
My garden!Organic clay soil fix!Guppy fertilizer!
Lizards trap!

Join us on facebook!
My BYC member page!

God Bless!!
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All my Youtube video's broken down into playlist...
Chickens and coop ideas!Live chicken feed BSF Harvest!Beneficial garden bugs!Tomato care!
My garden!Organic clay soil fix!Guppy fertilizer!
Lizards trap!

Join us on facebook!
My BYC member page!

God Bless!!
Reply
post #18 of 21

Mow the lawn and put the clipping on their pen floor, even get the neighbors to give you their grass...

One Wife - Two Sons - Five Grandkids - Three Dogs - Two Cats

- An Ever Changing Flock Of Fifty+ Chickens Of varying Breeds -

- And Some Gophers Messing Up My Yard -

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One Wife - Two Sons - Five Grandkids - Three Dogs - Two Cats

- An Ever Changing Flock Of Fifty+ Chickens Of varying Breeds -

- And Some Gophers Messing Up My Yard -

Reply
post #19 of 21

Here is a very easy cricket trap I did a video on. These are so cheap to build you can make lots of them and put them all over the place then go around and gather up your fresh chicken feed;)

http://homefarmideas.blogspot.com/2012/08/cricket-trap.html

All my Youtube video's broken down into playlist...
Chickens and coop ideas!Live chicken feed BSF Harvest!Beneficial garden bugs!Tomato care!
My garden!Organic clay soil fix!Guppy fertilizer!
Lizards trap!

Join us on facebook!
My BYC member page!

God Bless!!
Reply
All my Youtube video's broken down into playlist...
Chickens and coop ideas!Live chicken feed BSF Harvest!Beneficial garden bugs!Tomato care!
My garden!Organic clay soil fix!Guppy fertilizer!
Lizards trap!

Join us on facebook!
My BYC member page!

God Bless!!
Reply
post #20 of 21

We pick a lot of dandelion leaves off the farm at the back of our house, the ducks and hens go mad for them! Elderberries are another of their favourites, always freely available at this time of year.

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