Feeding your flock amidst of feed shortages

Solanacae

Songster
Mar 10, 2021
252
615
166
Cache Valley, UT
Does anyone use or have information on comfrey as an addition to poultry diets? I use it with salves I make because the alatonin present in it promotes healing, but have always bought it dried. I was reading that it is high protein and low fiber, and several sites say that it’s extremely useful for supplementing their poultry feed. I’m wondering if there are any concerns to using it, and how one would go about preserving it for winter months when nothing is growing around here. (Dry it, maybe?)

Here is one of the sites I was reading: http://www.nantahala-farm.com/comfrey-fodder-livestock-poultry-s.shtml
 

My Bagurks

Songster
Sep 3, 2020
111
290
116
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Right now, there are no shortages here. No price increases, so it’s business as usual for me. BUT, when I do buy feed, I buy when I have 2 bags left. Not when I’m out. So no matter what, I’m ok for a few weeks to figure something out.My birds free-range when the hawks or fox aren’t around. But they still eat quite a bit.
My loose plan is to increase my flock size now when it’s practical and affordable. Get my numbers way up and if things go to hell, I can cull and still have eggs to sell. By the time we see animal feed shortages, we will have a lot of bigger problems to deal with.
 

Regina Larsen

Songster
May 6, 2020
234
567
181
Long Island NY USDA zone 7
Does anyone use or have information on comfrey as an addition to poultry diets? I use it with salves I make because the alatonin present in it promotes healing, but have always bought it dried. I was reading that it is high protein and low fiber, and several sites say that it’s extremely useful for supplementing their poultry feed. I’m wondering if there are any concerns to using it, and how one would go about preserving it for winter months when nothing is growing around here. (Dry it, maybe?)

Here is one of the sites I was reading: http://www.nantahala-farm.com/comfrey-fodder-livestock-poultry-s.shtml
I have tons of comfrey. Goats chix and ducks eat it but its not top 10 in preference. Great for bees
 

MadamContrary

Crowing
8 Years
Mar 22, 2013
1,123
2,055
341
Very South Texas
I haven't read through the whole thread just yet, but I personally do a lot of sprouting (Lentils, quinoa, broccoli, peas, and beans) and grow fodder. I just got my first wild soldier fly larvae and I'm trying to get that established. Duckweed is an excellent source of plant protein (up to 40%) and growing in abundance in most inland lakes and ponds, so it could be initially harvested wild then grown on site. It's also readily available from aquarium supply stores.

I originally only kept chickens to turn my compost so they get scraps and bugs there already, I am more focused on my veggie garden than anything else. I raise quail for meat and eggs well, so could give them leftovers and make bone meal. My birds have access to .12 of an acre which is well planted with trees and wild flora like pig weed, cleavers, chickweed depending on the season. I keep piles of wood cuttings on the ground and flip them occasionally for the birds to eat the bugs. So I have essentially tried from the beginning to make commercial feed the least important component in thier diets, I do keep their feeder stocked in the run but with 10 birds I only fill their 8lb feeder maybe every 5-6 days. I do keep bantams Silkies in confinement currently, because they don't want to come out lol, so they are much more reliant on feed to be sure they're getting all the nutrients they need.

Another factor is your climate, I'm in a subtropical zone in Texas, so we only have real cold temps for about a month mid January to mid February most years and even then everything stays pretty green. Learn to forage in your climate, valuable for you to know what is edible as well, just in case 🙂
 
You should start breeding worms to feed them, its quite easy and cheap! I also feed mine kitchen leftovers and they graze. I live in a tropical climate so they can be outside all year, lots of bugs in the winter / rainy season. If you have space you can grow some vegetables or corn to feed them.
I tried breeding worms in bins in my house but did not like the compost indoors. I lost them to freezing outdoors. Now I focus on making better conditions for the naturalized worms to multiply in my garden and use the chicken tractor to control where they scratch. Only works for half the year. I wish I lived in the tropics all winter long.
Last winter I was in Oaxaca, MX. We were surrounded by free ranging chickens, living on bugs, weeds and old tortillas. It was interesting to observe. The only fly in the ointment was there were way too many roosters. They seriously kept us awake too early to be well rested.
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
847
743
251
Oklahoma City
When feed prices are high or feed is scarce it is past time to invest in a good treadle feeder. Whether through waste or vermin, controlling the feed saves money and makes the feed last longer and you prevent predators from hanging around for the wild birds or rodents that come to steal your feed.

On youtube there is a video of a guy that feeds hundreds of chickens on compost. If I recall correctly he brings in restaurant food waste, buries it in soil to compost, and the chickens scratch some out to eat and the bugs that are attracted. If things get too bad that might be an option for some.
 
Does anyone use or have information on comfrey as an addition to poultry diets? I use it with salves I make because the alatonin present in it promotes healing, but have always bought it dried. I was reading that it is high protein and low fiber, and several sites say that it’s extremely useful for supplementing their poultry feed. I’m wondering if there are any concerns to using it, and how one would go about preserving it for winter months when nothing is growing around here. (Dry it, maybe?)

Here is one of the sites I was reading: http://www.nantahala-farm.com/comfrey-fodder-livestock-poultry-s.shtml
I have no concerns about the plant being consumed because you can’t eat enough for it to be toxic. I have wilted it, chopped it, dried it and still my chickens nibble a bit and ignore it completely. I use it as a spring tonic herb and green manure mulch.
 

Red-Stars-in-RI

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 24, 2014
1,321
3,092
316
Rhode Island
On youtube there is a video of a guy that feeds hundreds of chickens on compost. If I recall correctly he brings in restaurant food waste, buries it in soil to compost, and the chickens scratch some out to eat and the bugs that are attracted. If things get too bad that might be an option for some.
I’m pretty sure you’re referencing Edible Acres. He does some interesting stuff with compost, sprouts….and creates a ton of compost from his flock.
 

Red-Stars-in-RI

Crowing
7 Years
Mar 24, 2014
1,321
3,092
316
Rhode Island
I have no concerns about the plant being consumed because you can’t eat enough for it to be toxic. I have wilted it, chopped it, dried it and still my chickens nibble a bit and ignore it completely. I use it as a spring tonic herb and green manure mulch.
I grew a dozen comfrey plants this year and ordered 18 more cuttings this fall. It grows amazingly fast and I must be lucky because my flock will eat it.
 

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