Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mpoland33, Jun 16, 2016.

  1. mpoland33

    mpoland33 Songster

    I need some help/advice on the subject of growing my own feed for chickens.

    I'm going to have a small flock of 6 chickens. My wife is going to let me "borrow" (haha) a 1/2 to an acre of our land...but for this thread, let's say a 1/2 acre.

    I'm interested in not buying feed but my chickens are going to be in a run during the day that is about 15' by 6' or they can't free range for it.

    I'm in Maryland out in Washington County (western parts) if that will make a difference to anyone.

    1. Could I feed my flock on a 1/2 acre of food?
    2. I have no farming equipment in regards to a combine, etc. so all the harvesting will be backyard style.
    3. What crops do you recommend?
    4. What breakdown would you do per season?
    5. Will is truly save money (trying to stay organic)

    I'd like to have the 1/2 acre close to the coop so I can fence it and let them forage when the crop is ready to eat.

  2. Rod-T

    Rod-T Songster

    Sep 23, 2015
    Deer park, Washington
    Can you grow 600 lbs of feed a year on a 1/2 acre?

    The crop doesn't grow year round..

    You'd have to harvest and store for winter.

    I'd just buy the feed... you can still let them freerange that 1/2 acre. .it will help
  3. pauleberly

    pauleberly Chirping

    Mar 21, 2016
    East TN
    Look into chicken fodder. yoh could easily provide e Pugh food. As far as what to grow, anything would work.

    Beans - they keep on giving after you pick
    Brocolli - they can eat the 2nd and 3rd growth
    Strawberries - who doesn't love them
    Maters - they go nuts for them

    I would buy some organic feed to supplement. They will get everything they want if you allow them to range. We usually give ours scraps from the garden and anything we can't eat before its bad
  4. mpoland33

    mpoland33 Songster

    As far as the fodder is concerned (whether I do it there or inside), do you think I'd be able to supplement their entire diet from the fodder? There is only 6 of them but I don't know how much feed the fodder would suppplement?

    Any recommendations on what to grow just regarding their nutrional needs to keep laying successfully?

  5. eHuman

    eHuman Songster

    Mar 14, 2016
    An entire diet of fodder likely would not meet their nutritional requirements.
  6. pauleberly

    pauleberly Chirping

    Mar 21, 2016
    East TN
    Fodder alone would most likely not be enough. Fodder and free range should provide all of the nutrients they need.

    Fodder plus an organic feed would make sure they had a full nutritional value as well.
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    You can't provide a perfectly balanced diet but you can suppliment it to a large extent.
    Every once in a while in the summer I buy a 50# bag of cheap birdseed at TSC and broadcast it around the edges of my pasture for wild dove, quail & turkeys. It's mostly millet, sorghum, corn, and sunflower seeds. It can be broadcast into existing grass and needs no seeedbed prep. What they don't eat sprouts and the horses graze it. What the horses miss then seeds out and the dove, quail & turkeys forage it again.
    Then in the fall I broadcast the whole pasture in coastal winter ryegrass for grazing, which needs no seedbed prep. WRG doesn't make any sizable seed but makes a nice fine-bladed leaf that can be grazed to the ground and will regrow. Sometimes I throw in some oats or wheat. Oats sprout better if you scratch the ground a bit and get some dirt over the seeds. You can use a garden rake for a small area. If I want to do a good job on a larger area I set my disk so the blades are almost straight, disk it and broadcast, then drag with my pasture drag.
    If you section off and rotate your areas with cheap deer netting like you buy at Lowes you could provide your chickens with cheap year round pasture & forage.

  8. A2Kzoo2

    A2Kzoo2 Chirping

    Dec 28, 2014
    SW MI
    Look up Justin rhodes, he has a lot of ways to cut his feed costs. I'm working on incorporating a few of his ideas
    That guy Mike likes this.

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