Just to throw my two cents in. I used an old pallet and turned it up side down. Hardware clothed the top and sides and voila. Free reusable planter in their coop. Inevitably the scratch I throw lands in, plus I used lots of seeds like lettuce, alfalfa, cilantro, clover. Mypetchicken even has a "chicken salad" mix that sprouts quickly. It helps cut down feed cost, keeps the girls entertained, and is a renewable feeder
They love the sprouts, My chickens are in the pen all the time, so I grow lentils sprouts from time to time for them. I pull some weeds and gave it to them with roots, dirt and all so the eat and entertain with it, also grass cuttings, clippings of tomato plants, oregano, Chinese spinach, basil & arugula from the garden as well as "salads" I made for them out of some veggie/ fruits bits & peelings of watever is available of the following: carrots, beets,cilantro, garlic, mango, papaya, pear, grapes, apples, sprinkle it with oats, eggshells previously baked & crushed, sometimes a drizzle of olive oil, or organic apple cider vinegar. Also feed them left over cooked rice, salads, meat or fish ( NOT poultry)
I plan to try wheat grass and bean sprouts this fall/winter when they can't free range. I just plan to start them hydronically on wet paper towels and put the whole thing in the run.
Any greens I throw in the floor of their run just get pooped on. the only way I can get them to eat any greens/seeds I give them is to hang them from a string. When my CX's got older than 5 weeks, they stopped having any interest in leaving their pen (even with the door open). So I took violet leaves, clover and dandelion leaves into a bunch that I wired to the wall.
I also cut tall grasses that had gone to seed and hung them from the ceiling. Both get eaten that way (not that is saves any $$ on CX feed...ugh).
This is a great thread, lots of great information for us newbies. An earlier poster in this thread mentioned frames on the ground with hardware cloth on top. The idea behind this is that the chickens can eat anything that is growing above the hardware cloth, but can't eat it down to bare earth. I remember seeing them on some website awhile back, I think they called them "chicken grazing frames." Love the idea of growing greens in flats, then bungy cording them to the side of the coop enclosure. When I get my coop finished (70% completed), and when I get some chickens (my first ever), these are ideas that I will incorporate. By the way, first ever post on any thread, anywhere on the world wide web!
Well welcome to the flock! Hope you get your chickens soon and you keep coming back to this site. You can get some great info on here. I also give my chickens the grass clippings when the hubby mows. I actually don't have to "give" them to them cause when they hear the mower they stand at the fence and wait for him to come by. Since there is a blower on our mower, the clippings get blown into the pens and the birds go crazy! I'm going to try the sprouts for a treat though and in the winter. Thanks for the great info guys!
. I am sure you will find the community here knowledgeable, fun and considerate.
lclough...I plan to buy mine from the local feed store. I had to check with several before I found one that sells viable grains to the retail public. Even he has to special order them. A 50-lb bag of winter wheat costs $15; soy costs $23.
I'm sure you could use grocery store stock, but the viability rate may be lower.