Growing your own food, grain for chickens. Storeage? processing?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bigtime400, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. bigtime400

    bigtime400 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 8, 2011
    Beloit
    Im looking for some info on how to grow and store your own feed for chickens. Anyone have experience or know some good sites? Also anyone use a mill to grind up the grain? I was looking for a relatively inexpensive hammer mill or mill for grain.
     
  2. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 5, 2010
    Last year I grew a patch of wheat, not much (only a couple of buckets worth in the end). However I don't grind it up at all as I usually feed sprouted grain, or just plain.

    Here's what happened... It rained and rained just as the wheat was maturing, and some of it developed a sooty look (which was presumably mould). Then the babysitter decided to take a detour off the driveway and drove right over the top of the best looking patch. All those sooty or flattened patches weren't much good for feed. (Mouldy grain is a real killer... If not dried properly and harvested at the right time any wheat can go mouldy, and even if it doesn't look bad the mould toxins can go right through the whole batch. Inadequately stored home grown wheat is a common source of mould poisoning, by the way...)

    I didn't want to chance feeding the bad wheat to stock, so only harvested what looked really clean and hadn't been flattened. I cut it with a hook and set it to dry in little sheaves (tied up with straw, all very old fashioned) bunched together at the heads to form stooks, and after they were *very* dry I stored the intact heads, minus stalks, in an airtight drum. They about three-quarters filled the drum (which was about 44 gallons) so as you can see it wasn't a huge enterprise. More of an experiment you might say.

    Over the next month or so I fed the chickens the whole heads. They seemed to prefer taking the grains out themselves to being fed them pre-removed! It was quite entertaining for them, I suspect — but it only worked because the seeds were so ready to be shaken out. They would regularly leave store-bought wheat in the hopper; they preferred mine. (That was nice... It could have so easily gone the other way.)

    In Australia drought etc tends to make silo-stored wheat a little under par (drought weakens seed coats and they moulder quicker; fumigation is standard; in fact wheat is even coated with poisons as it's sowed). If I could grow a whole heap of it, I definitely would, but I'd probably want a better cutter/processor than a blunt reaping hook and some scissors. [​IMG]

    There you go — not all that helpful probably, but it's what I did. [​IMG]

    regards from the other side of the planet,
    Erica

    Edited:
    PS, if you don't want to mill the grain into flour, have you thought of simply cracking it? I found brewing supply places a better place to start for strong and fast but cheap grain crackers than feed/flour mill websites...
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011

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