Feeding your flock amidst of feed shortages

World wide crop failures this year. Usually it may be one spot or another, but grain staples have been heavily damaged all over the world through various crap circumstances. https://news.mongabay.com/2021/08/a...ate-disasters-raise-alarm-over-food-security/
Even in good times we have only been just over 50 days away from running out of grain globally. Extreme weather, ethanol plants, growing meat consumption in developing nations. Livestock worldwide consume most of the grain, but we are always just a few bad crop years away from shortages.
Economic destruction due to govt mandates is behind many of the shortages already. Inflation due to central bank money creation and interest rate suppression is driving capital to seek gains by speculating in grain and soybean futures. This distorts supply and demand until prices no longer mean what they should. Credit and petroleum supplies are critical to our grain based global food supply and this is where the real threat lies. A credit bubble about to pop and govt interference in energy make for a potential catastrophe. Rather than wait for shortages to arrive, I choose to manage my flock in such a way as to be more resilient. If we are lucky higher prices will be the least of our problems. If governments try to control grain prices or subsidize grain production this will make the situation even worse. Forcing people to burn grain based ethanol in their vehicles is making things worse. Governments living beyond their means and pretending to be Santa Claus is making things worse. Protect yourself because they will not.
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
847
743
251
Oklahoma City
So how are the backyard chicken keepers going to be impacted ?
Good question, not sure if anyone knows what is going to happen but it seems that a lot of people are concerned and are trying to be prepared. I mean, if feed price doubles for we the people or if it becomes scarce, we better have someway of stretching what we have.

For the first time in my life I have to put expiration dates on cabinet quotes and preface everything with statements about if this or that hardware or material is available. The shipping and supply world is in a mess right now.
 

Al Gerhart

Crowing
10 Years
Sep 29, 2011
847
743
251
Oklahoma City
Even in good times we have only been just over 50 days away from running out of grain globally. Extreme weather, ethanol plants, growing meat consumption in developing nations. Livestock worldwide consume most of the grain, but we are always just a few bad crop years away from shortages.
Economic destruction due to govt mandates is behind many of the shortages already. Inflation due to central bank money creation and interest rate suppression is driving capital to seek gains by speculating in grain and soybean futures. This distorts supply and demand until prices no longer mean what they should. Credit and petroleum supplies are critical to our grain based global food supply and this is where the real threat lies. A credit bubble about to pop and govt interference in energy make for a potential catastrophe. Rather than wait for shortages to arrive, I choose to manage my flock in such a way as to be more resilient. If we are lucky higher prices will be the least of our problems. If governments try to control grain prices or subsidize grain production this will make the situation even worse. Forcing people to burn grain based ethanol in their vehicles is making things worse. Governments living beyond their means and pretending to be Santa Claus is making things worse. Protect yourself because they will not.
Well put, very well put.

I keep 500# of whole corn stored in sealed buckets after freezing it for a week to kill the bugs. I am well aware that corn isn't the best food for hens but it is better than nothing and can be kept for many years safely, even planted if it came to that, or can be used for cornmeal or corn flour with the grain grinder. Perhaps whole grains are something very useful as a backup. Not sure about oil bearing grain like soybeans, will they go rancid in the natural state?

I would figure that many in this group are also well prepared. Last March it sure paid off when groceries evaporated and the price of meat skyrocketed.
 
Well put, very well put.

I keep 500# of whole corn stored in sealed buckets after freezing it for a week to kill the bugs. I am well aware that corn isn't the best food for hens but it is better than nothing and can be kept for many years safely, even planted if it came to that, or can be used for cornmeal or corn flour with the grain grinder. Perhaps whole grains are something very useful as a backup. Not sure about oil bearing grain like soybeans, will they go rancid in the natural state?

I would figure that many in this group are also well prepared. Last March it sure paid off when groceries evaporated and the price of meat skyrocketed.
It has definitely paid off to be prepared. About soy beans, I have some stored for years. Very stable, no rancidity. They would need some processing to be useful. I make soy milk and sometimes tofu. This leaves behind cooked soybean pulp and whey that makes great livestock feed. Sprouting should make them usable as well
 

glib

Crowing
14 Years
Dec 8, 2007
264
131
266
Even in good times we have only been just over 50 days away from running out of grain globally. Extreme weather, ethanol plants, growing meat consumption in developing nations. Livestock worldwide consume most of the grain, but we are always just a few bad crop years away from shortages.
Economic destruction due to govt mandates is behind many of the shortages already. Inflation due to central bank money creation and interest rate suppression is driving capital to seek gains by speculating in grain and soybean futures. This distorts supply and demand until prices no longer mean what they should. Credit and petroleum supplies are critical to our grain based global food supply and this is where the real threat lies. A credit bubble about to pop and govt interference in energy make for a potential catastrophe. Rather than wait for shortages to arrive, I choose to manage my flock in such a way as to be more resilient. If we are lucky higher prices will be the least of our problems. If governments try to control grain prices or subsidize grain production this will make the situation even worse. Forcing people to burn grain based ethanol in their vehicles is making things worse. Governments living beyond their means and pretending to be Santa Claus is making things worse. Protect yourself because they will not.
Excellent post. I wonder if the time has come for all those who have personal use livestock to start storing acorns. They do need processing (different soaking-drying for white and red acorns, and shelling, and sometimes peeling), but then if you have a grinder you can feed them (perhaps fermented) to the chickens. It will need a complementary protein source, but they do have some fat. Likewise, for your own consumption they are just about the best carb. Just store them in a metal container. In a plastic can the squirrels will find them and leave you empty handed.
 

Choo-Choo

In the Brooder
Oct 28, 2021
7
37
34
Not entering into the whole "is the world going to Hades?" discussion, only offering what CAN be a temporary stop-gap or supplement:

Find a local craft brewery, microbrewery, or nanobrewery in your area.
Breweries generate lots of spent grain--mostly malted barley, with occasional wheat, and maybe on very rare occasions a bit of corn, buckwheat, etc, as an adjunct. (I've never seen hops in any of the spent grains I've gathered--hops are usually supposed to be later in the brewing process--but I can't rule it out.) The byproduct is waste to them, and they have two options: pay someone to haul it away, or give it away to those that can use it. This includes cattle ranchers, hog farmers, an occasional bakery specializing in exotic things like dog biscuits--and chicken farmers. BIG breweries can contract with feed companies or factory farms to get rid of the stuff. You won't need that much.

Now, be advised: The process of malting barley converts starches into sugars, and those sugars are supposed to be efficiently boiled out of the grain. What you get left with is fibers, some remaining starches and carbs, and some sugars.
Nutritionally, I've been advised that it's a lot like "junk food"--it's NOT something you want to feed chickens you regard as pets or breeding stock or heritage/exotics for long periods of time, just like processed white bread or food scraps or even mealworms. But the chickens LOVE it. Every chicken raiser who has tried spent brew mash will confirm. They will "pig out" on it. I have photos of our smaller bantams hopping into buckets of the stuff behind my back and deciding "I live here now.... 😜🥰🙃" There are "farm breweries" in some states that send all their spent malt to the farm's animals, including the chickens.

Be also forewarned: The stuff is WET. And, initially, heavy. It typically has the consistency of lumpy oatmeal/gruel, and is usually sticky and a bit icky unless it dries a bit in the open air. It often attracts flies too (hey, more protein!). It WILL become foul, moldy, and inedible if not frozen or spread and dried VERY soon after pickup. You have a day or two, max, unless you freeze or dry the stuff, and with the money that costs just go find proper feed.

Most microbreweries such as the "local brewpub" will only brew a couple times a week at best, and you would have to check with them to find out when to pick up the grain. As an example, the one closest to our flock brews 1-2 times a week; typically (but not always) when I drive by on Fridays there's a fresh supply awaiting pickup. I load up a couple five-gallon buckets (out of maybe 50-100 gallons waiting) and head to the flock. A bucketful gets scattered in various spots hither and yon in two chicken runs and between them, as a "boredom buster" for the flocks, who can immediately smell the malt and go running to scratch their way through it and gobble. 🐔🐓 (And, of course, the roos call the girls over, insisting THEY made it show up. 🙄 )

I would sincerely like to dry some out for spreading out the rest of the week, but the chickens see to it that no matter where I hide the drying trays in sunshine they'll hunt them down and keep pecking. A second or third bucket might get saved in a basement for the next day, a day later than that, or even for the horses. Even in northern Arizona, in the summer one has to rush to stay ahead of it becoming moldy, unpalatable or yucky. (And it then adds to the biodiversity of the compost heap.)

The brewery in question used to use the classic blue plastic barrels and half-barrels for the farmers who collected the grain for their animals, but this summer as the flies came heavy they switched to the heavy-duty black plastic totes with yellow lids seemingly ubiquitous at every WalMart, to cut down on the fly nuisance. If you make such an arrangement with a local brewer, offer your own plastic tote, or at least show up with a smaller tote and a grain scoop. (Big totes get too heavy; you want the scoop because the stuff gets icky.)

Once again: NOT a substitute for proper layer or all-flock feed, or even scratch. But it's a tactic to help stretch your supplies should serious supply-chain problems hit your area or endure. If your neighborhood receives only 80% of its grain allocation, maybe start hitting the breweries to help stretch supplies. (But note: If problems are getting that bad, you will also be competing with cattle farmers, horse owners, etc................ hmmmmmm. You know what, forget I ever mentioned this strategy until I check with the other breweries in my area first! 😉 )
 

Ruffled Feathers

Chirping
Apr 14, 2021
26
89
56
Every distillery tour talks about giving away the used mash and the happy livestock. Fortunately, I have a friend that occasionally has some to get rid of and a jar to share.
 
Apr 13, 2021
318
596
176
Australia
With all the attack on livestock and the idea of livestock, I'm not so sure. I grew up in communism and these are dangerously similar times we are living in.
Yea it's crazy how many people are giving into this global technocracy communism.. going on. With the fake pandemic and someone here mentioned hey eat bugs ect.. agenda 20/30 depopulation program in full swing.. that's why I went I off grid, an started prepping.. but there gonna try kill of as many as they can most people a willfully ready to lay down an die already though through mass compliance. You can't comply your way out of tyranny folks.. it's hectic and unbelievable it's biblical what's going on.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
8,218
17,307
706
USA
Even in good times we have only been just over 50 days away from running out of grain globally.

Do you have a source for that?

I would expect the number to either be much larger, or to change at different times of the year, because grain from one harvest usually needs to last until the next harvest. Even with people growing grain in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the harvests will tend to clump into just a few parts of the year.
 

Thetinyfarm

Chirping
Oct 19, 2021
96
292
93
Alberta Canada
I have a flock of 27. I’ve been buying 3 x the amount of feed. I live in Rural Alberta, Canada and although there are no chicken feed shortages as yet in my area, I know it’s coming. I store my extra feed in a secure area on my property and have enough for a year if needed. Same with dog,cat and horse feed. I’m growing an even bigger garden for next spring. Tons More greens as the chickens love them. Collards we’re the easiest and most prolific to grow. Potato skins cooked are great mixed with bran ( which I buy in bulk too)
 

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