Is there an alternative to feeding grain or pellets?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jaqs1603, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. jaqs1603

    jaqs1603 New Egg

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    Hi, I have 10 laying hens and one cockerel and would love to stop feeding them any form of bought grain, layers pellets, etc. They have a reasonable sized run but it's not enough to sustain them naturally, and it is neither feasible nor practical to give them complete freedom to roam and forage. Is there an alternative way of feeding them whilst keeping them safe? That is, what do they need to eat to remain healthy? Can I, for example, grow greens and salads, etc for them, give them a shovel full of my compost daily (full of grubs and worms), etc, etc? I give them kitchen scraps, but it's no where near enough. Any help or suggestions hugely appreciated. Thanks everyone, have a lovely day
     
  2. All Ball

    All Ball Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can search this site for previous conversations.

    Here is one:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1071793/free-range-only-no-feed

    I also recall a thread somewhere, if not this one, that Centrarchid discussed his efforts to keep flocks on range only - he has worked to create range that could support flocks. You could search through his posts for free-range search term, etc.
     
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  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Welcome! You have laying hens? If they are going to produce four to six eggs per week each, they need a balanced diet, and that's easiest and cheapest to buy in bags at the feed store. Then other foods are a bonus. Growing enough for them at home, and balancing their ration, is tricky, labor intensive, and takes space to grow. Mary
     
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  4. jaqs1603

    jaqs1603 New Egg

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    Thank you so much. That's really helpful and some excellent reading there. Even if I can't eliminate layers pellets entirely, to reduce it would be fabulous. Thanks again [​IMG]
     
  5. Pendragonz

    Pendragonz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi jaqs1603, check out the website www.abundantpermaculture.com the guy that has the website is really into his chickens. He has videos, and blog articles about how to cut his feed bill by 75-100%. By the way, [​IMG]
     
  6. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    like follys place wrote, it can be labor intensive to produce a balanced diet for a laying flock at home, and it definitely takes some thought and planning.

    Within all the room in between fully store-bought and fully home-grown though theres a heck of a a lot of room for creative solutions for minimizing what you need to buy. such as:

    fermenting feed (easy and lots of info on it here on byc)

    growing grubs, worms etc such as bsf, mealworms, compost worms

    growing potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, etc, which you can boil, mash up or chop, and add to your fermented feed

    growing comfrey, and other greens

    growing amaranth, corn, etc

    building compost pile connected with your run so they can glean and forage on it, etc.

    you already mention scraps of course, but you might slso look into collecting stuff from elsewhere like old bread, fish scraps, and other stuff from grocers etc. i know some people who virtually eliminated layer feed by getting the right hook up with a fish market (frozen fish heads and such) and a bakery (expired loaves). for a while i worked in a deli and would bring home the ends of the sandwich loaves (which they didnt use for sandwiches and usually threw away because there was so many leftover ends no one wanted).

    get creative and have fun! Goo luck!!
     
  7. jaqs1603

    jaqs1603 New Egg

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    Thanks so much Pendragonz, what a great website [​IMG]
     
  8. jaqs1603

    jaqs1603 New Egg

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    So much great info, and thank you so much for the positive encouragement. We run a small campsite so loads of potential for gleaning scraps from our campers [​IMG]
     
  9. Pendragonz

    Pendragonz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some awesome ideas triplepurpose. I think I will be taking advantage of some of these ideas myself. Thanks.
     
  10. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    youre so welcome. :) those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. everybody i knos with chickens does something different it seems since no two situations are exactly alike.

    id be somewhat cautious about how i approached the camper scraps myself. stale bread off the bakery shelf or single-source processing byproducts are one thing, but second hand scraps from many other people's plates and such seems like another thing--or i dunno, maybe thats just me. i did deal with something similar for a while where we had guests at our farmstay depositing their scraps into a designated bin that we woukd toss to the chix. problem was people would put all kinds of digusting stuff in there: junk food, rotten food, paper towels, kleenex, plastic cups, god knows what else. we dont do that anymore, as it proved not worth the hassle of trying to educate people and/or sort through their trash, plus the ick factor--now we just ask people to dump their stuff in a plastic compost bin in th orchard. and then there is the hypothetical issue of disease transmission too when collecting from lots of different people. though the odds are probably small, and again, maybe thats just me. i suppose cooking would solve that issue if it was a concern. anyway, dont want to rain on your parade, and you could figure out a better way to manage it than what we did too no doubt.
     

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