Does anyone feed chickens "the old fashioned" way?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lalyswishytail, Jan 25, 2009.

  1. lalyswishytail

    lalyswishytail In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2009
    Chicago area
    I'm about to get my first chickens, (very excited!), and I've read a lot about layer feed and oysters and scratch and treats and...

    What I'd really like to do is raise my chickens in the least industrial way possible. That means I don't want to buy mega pound bags of feed if I don't have to. What did people do 100 years ago or 200 years ago before the shipping/idustrial world made it possible to manufacture feed for livestock? The chickens will live on a 15 acre vegetable farm and will obviously get their share of the veggie treats and insects people have written about.

    Also, how about watering in freezing weather--how did they do that before electricity?

    Thanks for your comments!
  2. cluckychick

    cluckychick Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    South of KCMO
    My parents had chickens growing up in Indiana and Missouri and they fed them feed everyday even though they foraged for food as well. I've heard many a story by both about egg collecting and feeding and culling for the dinner table.

    That was just back in the 40's so I really don't know what they did 100's yrs ago but I'm sure if they wanted optimal egg production they had to come up with something to do that.

    Good Luck with your endeavor [​IMG]
  3. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Songster

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    My DH's grandparents farmed in Nebraska. They grew and mixed their own feed.
  4. lalaland

    lalaland Crowing

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    farmer down the road, in his 80's, still feeds his flock the way his parents did. That is, grain (oats and corn) thrown on the ground in the evening. His flock forages, and in the winter spends a lot of time in the barn working through the hay and cowpies (he keeps a couple of cows, still. They and the barn cats get meal scraps- they actually eat side by side - he divies them up into two pie plates, sometimes adds milk to stretch it out.
  5. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    Snail shells instead of oyster shells. Around the farm there are not many above ground but in the field away from the barn there are. Whole corn, wheat,grass seed,weed seeds,oats. weeds were more abundant! In Foxfire I read a story of a lady that remembers in the winter she threw a few cans of whole corn in the winter and some scraps of fat but that was all and they pretty well ignored them most of the time. Stream or ditch would supply water otherwise carry by bucket. Many sheds had individual pumps; you may need some hot water to prime them.
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    You can feed your chickens a thousand ways to sunday. No doubt about that. They are good foragers if they have enough space and open territory to hunt for the worms and bugs and other things they love as wll as the vegetation.

    If you are wanting maximized eggs production with this feeding routine you may not get it.

    Layer feed is formulated to help produce the most eggs from a laying hen.

    That is one reason why a chicken used for breeding stock needs a different diet than those used for just eating eggs.

    Remember also if your chickens are forgaing and ranging for their food they will also be hiding a lot of eggs from you that you may never find.
  7. lalyswishytail

    lalyswishytail In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2009
    Chicago area
    When people say that chickens can eat whole corn and oats, does that mean that you could just peel an ear of corn and toss it to the chickens? As for the oats, I have no idea where oats come from aside from the canister with the Quaker oat man pictured on it. How much corn and oats a day are we talking about? Two ears and a cup of oats?

    I thought oats had to be cooked first...???
  8. tackyrama

    tackyrama Songster

    Aug 14, 2008
    Central Minnesota USA
    Quote:Welcome to BYC! My chickens free range plus we scatter "scratch" feed in the evening. They probably don't need it but it is just plain fun to feed them. I purposly did not wire my new coop I built this last summer for the reason that chickens were kept for thousands of years without it and mine should do just as well. I have a standard 12(?) gallon watering can which I replace with a upside-down bundt pan when frezzing weather arrives. I empty the pan in the evening and fill every morning. If I forget and it freezes it only takes a few minutes to unthaw. Do plan on fencing in your veggie garden as they eat more than bugs! They will eat any veggie they decide they like plus flowers. Take a look at my detailed account of coop construction. You may get a few ideas. I built my coop with the "old-fashioned" way in mind.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  9. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    I was referring to yesteryear. Today most ground is cultivated or put in grass for pasture or yard. I do have wild oats on the fence row with nettles. In my grandmothers chicken house there was a pit under the roost for droppings and in the winter we would take the top off so the chickens could dig for red worms and we would turn different spots occasionally for a longer lasting supply of protein. Try the foxfire books at the library ; to read not to feed.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  10. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster 10 Years

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I had chickens free ranging in the yard when I was growing up in the 60s & 70s (my grandfather would give them to me). They were mostly mutts, but I had a white Leghorn Rooster, some OEG-mixed Bantam Roosters, a Cochin hen, one hen that looked like a Seabright mutt-- they mainly foraged & found their own food; I had scratch and some feed -- but I noticed there were more bugs, more insects than now.

    We've sterilized our environment. I have a hard time finding a honeybee anymore. I put up a bat-house (back when, there were bats in the night sky everywhere-- I have a few in the house). I set out ladybugs, lacewings & praying mantis eggs in the spring--- However, my little city & county goes through in the summer and uses a truck that aerial sprays those poisons down every street. I looked up the various sprays they were using, found they killed honeybees, all insects, not just the mosquitos they are supposed to (I raised such a fuss they don't spray on my block anymore but the clouds of pesticide still floats through)-- people on this site have no qualms about using sevin dust everywhere-- it too is lethal to all the good bugs also-- so I ask, "Is there enough out there to forage?" Not where I live. It is not like it used to be.
    2 people like this.

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