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feeding nothing but vegetables

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by maryboland, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. maryboland

    maryboland In the Brooder

    Nov 28, 2009
    I live in Colorado but recently visited Borrego Springs, California. There I bought some wonderful eggs at a farmers' market from a farmer who also sold vegetables. I asked him what he fed his hens and he replied, "nothing but our unsold vegetables." I was amazed to put it mildly as he had lots and lots of beautiful and delicious eggs from his flocks of barred rocks. Have any of you ever heard of anything like this?
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

  2. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I'm guessing he's oversimplifying. If you read about Joel Salatin, you'll learn about feeding animals with a diet that is not grain-based. It's not as simple as throwing your unsold vegetables into a coop.
  3. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Yep. It's actually FAR more natural than the diet most people give their chickens (wheat, corn, soy) Just as long as the chickens also have the choice of the insects and seeds of the area, too, that would very well explain the delicious eggs. There's the protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamins they need right in the selection of veggies. [​IMG]

    I myself hope that by fall I can provide my chickens nothing but their free range area and veggies, homegrown crops, and extra fruit from our farm [​IMG]
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Quote:As long as they have the range to roam in, they can subsist on hand fed "vegetable waste." At the basic level, chickens are like us, in that they need a balance of elements in their diet: protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals in proper proportion. In the wild they eat seeds/grains, nuts, insects, grubs, microbial foods, worms, carrion and green feeds..... as long as it is there. They are actually omnivorous.

    So, yeah, you can get them to survive on most anything. Personally, I've never been driven to feed them this way, i.e., solely from what they can scrounge and whatever scraps I can arrange. Few people do a critical analysis of their range, so they know little about what sorts of foods it provides over the course of the seasons. That said, I consider any birds I keep as my livestock, and I am their steward. I'll offer them the best I can arrange, first, and they can scrabble up what else comes.

    I'm certain the chap was oversimplifying. Most likely he was spinning you with a little bit of 'New Age' marketing, probably assuming you were a "city slicker."
    He's probably learned that most of his drive-up customers get excited about "all natural, free ranged, pro-biotic, vegetarian chickens"... no matter how ill defined that is.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    There are three feral chickens around my house that are not fed by anyone. The rooster is beautiful and they live off the land. Predators are the bigger issue for them. For my chickens I am not willing to risk losing them so their diet has to be managed my me so I use comercial feed with some hopefully healthy handouts and then let them free range when I am at home.

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