I see people post about being self sufficient...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BettyR, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. BettyR

    BettyR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2008
    Texas Gulf Coast
    But has anyone really figured out how to do that?

    My grand parents were, but they had totally free range chickens (no feed other than what they caught themselves). But their chickens ran wild and there were so many of them they had no idea how many they had. The hens would hide eggs and hatch them all the time, so there was always plenty of young roosters for the pot. My grandmother would take boxes of her eggs into town and sell them to the owner of a small grocery store for her weekly staples like salt, flour, sugar and so on. They had several dogs that protected the chickens and cows from predators. The dogs would eat kitchen scraps my grandmother would cook for them plus whatever coons, skunks, and so on that they could catch.

    They had a big garden every year and put up all their own vegetables.

    My grandfather grew corn and hay which he fed to his cows, they sold some of the yearling calves at auction for money for the year.

    They had 2 milk cows and they made their own butter and cheese, what milk was left was fed to the pigs along with some corn; the yearling milk-calves were butchered for meat for the coming year. The old sow would have babies once a year and when the piglets were old enough some were sold at auction and the others butchered.

    I don't have the land or knowledge of how to do all that. I would just be happy if I could just figure out a way to feed my chickens without having to shell out $10.00 a bag for 50 pounds of feed. I read an article about hanging rotting meat scraps in an old plastic jug so that flies could get to it. Then cutting large enough holes so that the maggots could drop to the ground and the chickens could eat them. My chicken yard is far enough away from the house to do that but I'm afraid if I did that I would attract predictors and create a whole new set of problems.
  2. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Don't know about the meat/maggots thing.. never heard of that.

    We try to be as self sufficient as possible, but at best only are only about half way there. We have a large garden (About 100' by 200') and several fruit and nut trees and a few grape vines. We gather wild food like nuts, berries, polk, and such. We do hunt and fish some. We raise chickens, rabbits, pigs, and other animals for food.

    We buy animal feed and hay/bedding, but sales of young stock, eggs and such offset most of that cost, sometimes all of it and we make a profit plus have nothing except labor in the meat we eat. We can around 300 jars of food from the garden every year plus my wife dries alot of the peppers, herbs and stuff. We smoke our own meats, salt and sugar cure most of the pork. I do almost all my own processing of meats here on the farm.

    We do heat with wood, have our own well and try hard to use as little electricity as possible. We try to reuse and recycle as much as we can. We seldom ever eat out, haven't been to a movie in a theatre in about 10 years, and we wear our clothes out before we buy more. Even then my wife finds sales or buys seconds and sometimes finds good clothes at thrift stores or yard sales.

    Some things we just buy because it's easier or cheaper than making/raising. Things like spices, salt, flour, meal, washing detergent, etc..

    I envy those who are off grid and say they are 100% self sufficiant, but we just do the best we can.
  3. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    Sep 1, 2010
    I have seen the meat scraps/road kill in the bucket thing you were talking about. I too think it would draw preditors, and I think I read somewhere the original guy who came up w/ that idea had some issues w/ poisoning his chickens w/ it. You can grow insects for your chickens in better ways, composting earthworms, roaches, and soldier fly larva
  4. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2009
    We try to be as self sufficient as possible and we are gradually gaining more control in that area. We have Honeybees (never got any honey, [​IMG]) chickens, ducks, rabbits and soon to be earthworms. Plus I have two orchards then apple trees are spread around the border of the garden. HUGE garden, plus we're working on expanding it this year. By adding raised beds in an open area. Plus we put up a bunch of food. We have foraged some but not much.

    On the animal food side of life. Im getting away from the TSC visits, Im getting more ideas for their feed. It seems to be working...

    I raise wheat, oat, and alfalfa sprouts for the chickens, ducks and rabbits. I do it with soil so that I can clip what I want off of the sprout and it will regrow. Im getting this project under control now........

    Im getting ready to raise earthworms for the poultry. 500 worms are due in on Wednesday or Thursday. Thats a whole lot of protein for them! Once they start to flourish.......

    This summer I am growing a lot of whole corn for my chickens, ducks and rabbits. Im growing 12, 45 ft long rows for them. Im also converting the old chicken run into a sunflower patch.

    The chickens and ducks forage all the time. Even when its 20* out and snow on the ground, they go out. I dont let them set around the feeder, they get out and look for food. All year, that helps a lot with feeding too. I also have a kenneled dog that keeps varmits away.

    The chickens and ducks find the table scraps and they eat them..........

    I forage for the rabbits. They get apple and crabapple bark/stems then they get yard clippings and any uncooked old veggie.

    I also make custom mashes for them. Rabbits get a sunflower meal, corn meal, and alfalfa pellet meal, combined together. Im trying to wean them off of stuff I cant grow or produce. Chickens and ducks get boss, cracked, corn and oats. For now they are also getting flock raiser because the ducks are doing something weird.

    Did I also mention the chickens get mice, the cat will kill them in the garage and when they get swept out to the drive way they eat em!
  5. cabincrazyone

    cabincrazyone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 26, 2010
    NE Minnesota
    I admire you folks!

    Comparatively most Americans are too lazy, helpless and complacent. Sorry to say that includes me.
  6. Alabama ee

    Alabama ee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2010
    You might want to try mealworms. There are some folks on here that have done that.
  7. geeber

    geeber Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2009
    We would love to be more self sufficient if we could only get off our lazy bums after working 8 hrs a day. We both work on our feet, so by the time we get home we want to sit.

    This yr we are going to try our hand at a 'real' garden. & a compost area. Maybe even putting some food up for the winter. I would love to turn our back yard into a prairie garden for the chooks to enjoy. & they do have free range time in the afternoons after we get home.

    Oddly enough, it's an expensive process to get to self sufficient.

    Woodstove $2000
    soil for garden $100
    canning jars $?

  8. The Fairy Godmartyr

    The Fairy Godmartyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    Quote:Around here, you can get canning jars for about 20 cents a piece at garage sales. New, they are $7-9 per dozen. A water bath canner is less than $20 at WalMart, and a cheap pressure canner is around $60-70. I just started gardening and canning two summers ago. It is amazing how much food you can put up (this year, for instance, I ended up with over 10 gallons of sweet relish [​IMG]). I also watch for fruit on sale at the grocery store to make jam. Canning really isn't hard. And gardening is much easier than I expected, too.
  9. geeber

    geeber Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2009

    holy smokes! What are you doing w/ all of that relish?!
  10. kentucky jay

    kentucky jay Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 16, 2010
    im interested in being self sifficient , but it will be a long process ...heck i cant even get regular production out of my garden yet !!!! starting in the spring i will be farming either earth worms or nightcrawlers , im scared to let my chickens free-range (my neighbor has 14 outdoor cats , and there are 6 or 7 hundred acres of woods attached to my 18 acres of woods..i hear coyotes back there) . plus i worry about getting them back in the coop at night !! hopefully next year i'll start raising rabbits too , rabbit is delicious !!!!! just gotta make it happen ,,,, i spend enough money on gasoline, and electricity !!!!

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