Home-Grown Feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by ella&clara, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi
    I am interested in growing some of my own feed for my layers. I have Harvey Ussery's book, "The Small-Scale Poultry Flock." I have grown and do grow grain sorghum, milo, ryegrass, wheat, oats, and my father supplies me with some field corn. I've also done some sunflowers, although this year's crop was not a success. I'm not shelling all those sunflowers, but I think Grey Mammoth (?) are easy enough to shell that the chickens can do it themselves. I cannot manage to grow even sweet corn for people to eat, much less field corn that stays on the plant long enough to dry thanks to the squirrels!!!! Detest them. They know when it's ready and attack. I even enclosed it with electrified poultry netting and saw them run right through it. One thing I am able to grow is field peas, aka crowder peas, Southern peas, or cowpeas. I live in SC. English peas have a brief season here and are too precious to feed to the chickens. But I toss them a pod of dried peas and they love them. I have a stash already for winter. Our hot climate and long growing season makes this possible. I've read that they have a good bit more protein than corn and as such may be a better base for feeds. Also, I have a nice stand of buckwheat in the garden now, which I hope will mature before frost so I can let the girls eat the seeds. Does anyone grow their own feeds? I know maximum egg production requires scientifically formulated feeds, but I'm not after that, necessarily.
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I haven't started growing all my own feed yet. Its definitely something I want to do. We are looking to buy a small farm in a couple of years. I just don't have room right now. They do get fresh veggies out of the garden, berries when I go berry picking, and fresh fruit from my cousin's small orchard. My walnut trees did very well this year and my girls are waiting impatiently for me to get them cracked. I also cook beans for them. I just don't think the ladies would be very happy on a feed store diet. They are pretty spoiled.
     
  3. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine look around for what else is coming when I give them the feed store stuff! They will eat it if there's nothing else, but the happiest chirps come from the "good stuff!"
     
  4. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah I know that look. It says "Really? That all you got?"
     
  5. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2010
    Hi
    So does anyone actually grow a significant amount of their own feed? I'd like to avoid GMOs if possible, and to serve organic foods, but that is not possible in my state. Even the professionals, who could buy in tons, can't do it. I feed them as varied a diet as possible, and give them the field peas and sorghum grain, which I can grow. If I can take care of the squirrels, I could feed corn. I'm wondering if peas, sorghum, and maybe wheat are a complete diet? I have a good bit of land available, but I'd be hand harvesting. I have no illusions about completely replacing commercial feed.
     
  6. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How much land?And how many chickens?Corn would probably the easiest to grow depending where you live.
     
  7. ella&clara

    ella&clara Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, in theory I have close to 1/2 an acre that I could use for planting different crops. The only problem with that is the squirrels. They destroy my corn crop. We live at the edge of the woods. I even surrounded the corn crop with electrified poultry netting and they ran right through it like it wasn't there! So I am hesitant to rely on corn. Other than lead poisoning, which seems to work for awhile, or getting a cat, which my husband doesn't want, I don't know any solutions. Field peas are easy to grow and to harvest. Sorghum and milo do well too. As I understand it, corn is sort of like candy to chickens. Peas have more protein. I'm also interested in raising worms and other critters--although I draw the line at maggots! I live in SC, so we have a long, hot growing season for crowder/Southern peas.
     
  8. matt44644

    matt44644 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a tough one.
     
  9. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Plastic posts - electrified hardware cloth (or even chicken wire, although it would be harder to keep from drooping). As long as there are no overhanging trees, I would think it should work.
     
  10. Boy Scout FE 15

    Boy Scout FE 15 New Egg

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    Jan 2, 2015
    I am wondering if I could feed them corn and grit on a regular basis. What else should I add that I can grow so that I don't have to buy feed.
     

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