Chicken's diet for a homestead

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by stuckinthecity, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. stuckinthecity

    stuckinthecity Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    Would it be possbile to feed a *free range* flock cracked corn and still get good laying results? I would also supplement them with cow's milk/cream and leftovers from the dinner table. Plus, being on free range would mean they would find all sorts of things to eat. So what do y'all think? I know it can be done, I just don't know how well the hens would lay.
  2. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Only if that free range has green grass and bugs in ample supply all year around. Or if that free range is on a farm with many animals and the chickens have access to anywhere they want to go.

    Corn is only 9% protein... Eggs are essentially protein and water... If you want a chicken to produce them they need sufficient protein in their diet.

    The milk thing, I have read studies on it it seems to be ok... IMO yogurt (Predigested milk) is a better option...

    Table scraps? Depends, lots of bread and rice, again very low protein. Meat scraps yes decent protein..

    Way I see it chickens are not mammals milk should not be a primary part of their diet. For that matter neither should corn!!!!

  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Free ranging the birds will handle almost all of their needs in the spring, summer & fall. Winter you will need to supliment with some sort of feed. Corn is good but lacks all the neutrition they need.

    They will love the table scraps - we feed our chickens almost everything that comes off the table. They all come running now when they hear the front door open.

    I free range & during the warm months my birds almost dont touch the feed. I leave lots of it out in the coop - they just prefer what they get naturally.

    Corn is good for cold weather - as it helps the birds generate more heat (has more energy than other grain) but can't be the only feed.

    Depending on how many birds you have & how much table scraps you produce they should be fine through the winter with what you suggest. You will have no issues in the summer!
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    Quote:The "Energy" level of corn is the same as Hard and Soft Wheat, less than Hominy and not much higher than Milo.

    Corn --------------- 1.78
    Oats --------------- 1.48
    Hard Wheat ------ 1.78
    Soft Wheat ------- 1.78
    Milo ---------------- 1.70
    Hominy ------------ 1.88

    DE = Digestible Energy

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  5. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    You could offer a mixed whole grain scratch in place of corn. I like that approach rather than putting whole grains in a feeder. When scattered, it is less likely that the dominent hens will pick out the best bits. You would want to aim for higher protein seeds if corn will be a component. I mix shelled sunflower seeds, flax, pumpkin seeds, nyjer seed, peas and peanutd with cracked corn. I scatter this in the morning to get them moving. They also have a feeder full of layer pellets and a small one full of oyster shell. In the summer and fall they barely touched the food.
  6. stuckinthecity

    stuckinthecity Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    Oh yes, 20 acres, broken down into a 9 acre pasture, 5 acre woods + pond, and a 6 acre pasture... rotational grazing, cows, goats, sheep and a couple of horses. I think they would get enough out there. But, the whole point of feeding them corn was to grow it on the farm and therefore not having to buy commercial feeds. I see what y'all are saying though.
  7. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    I hope to rotate buckwheat and rye: buckwheat in summer months and over-winter the rye. In addition; lots and lots of other plants such as comfrey, chickweed, duckweed, nettle, real dandelion (not English daisy), dwarf sunflower, etc etc. Will also be farming mealworms and black soldier fly larvae. And perhaps common fly larvae if needed; maybe.

  8. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Chickens do well mixed with other animals... Lots of bugs in those cow pies...[​IMG]
    If you are going to have other livestock I assume you will have some alfalfa hay.. That is good for chickens in winter too..

    Maybe some other crops or smaller amounts of corn and then other alternative crops for winter feed would work out.

    I like this site:

  9. stuckinthecity

    stuckinthecity Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    HorizonSon, sounds like you have a well thought out plan! And I'm sure your birds would love those larvae.

    Organics North, That was what I was going for. Hopefully the chickens will find those pies and make some use out of them! lol. And then about the hay, I'm not sure what type of pasture grass is out there. [​IMG] I can't think of the name of one type...but, I do recall that there's at least two types in the 6 acre pasture. The 9 acre pasture has yet to be cleared out. [​IMG] I'm going to put goats on that part until they have it cleared out enough for me to comfortably walk through and select which trees I want cut down. So, alfalfa would be the best choice of grass to plant? And thank you for that link; very helpful!
  10. annaraven

    annaraven Born this way

    Apr 15, 2010
    SillyCon Valley
    A great book I'm reading now is Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps from WWII. It explains how to supplement their feed properly for laying hens. Looks like something that would be really useful for a lot of folks.

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