Newbie questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BedHead, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. BedHead

    BedHead Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2009
    I tried searching but the volume of info is overwhelming - I hope you don't mind me just posting like this!

    I am wondering a couple of things:
    - do you HAVE to buy chicken feed, or can you feed hens 'people food' and leftovers and let them eat grass and bugs? When there's no grass or bugs for 6 months of the year, what do you feed instead?
    - How much does a typical hen eat every week or so?
    - how much does it cost to feed hens? I know it will depend on what you feed them. Perhaps if you could tell me what you feed yours and how much it costs you?
  2. detali

    detali Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2009
    Well, in the olden days people fed their chickens anything. I remember my mother picking itch weed in the spring for our chickens, chopping it up. pouring some scalding water on it to semi-cook them then adding a cup of some kind of meal and feeding that to the chickens. Also she would always save all potato peelings, boil them add a little meal and feed that to the chickens. Yes, bugs and grass are good for the chickens. Going to a feed store and buying animal feed is as modern a concept as going to the grocery store for everything we need.

    Me, I'm trying to get back to self-sufficency as much as possible. I feed my chickens all my kitchen scraps but they also get a measure of layer crumbles daily. I live in Arizona. I have a patch of greens just for the chicken, growing under a frost blanket. (it does get to freezing at night in my area) Most days they get a handful of fresh garden greens.

    The eggs are delicious.
  3. countrygirl57

    countrygirl57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    I also was wondering the same thing. Our chickens have been free range since we had them, but now there is a sprinkle of snow. There will be a lot more snow for the next 3-4 months.

    I have noticed that they are eating a lot more feed. We buy cabbage, by the sack, caus it's cheap, & they get fruit, veggie peelings etc., but it is not the same as free range. I guess I have got to hang in there for the next few months.

    I have also noticed they are fighting some, when they don't go outside their run daily.[​IMG]
  4. BedHead

    BedHead Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2009
    Quote:That's pretty much where I am coming from. I eat traditional foods myself - I prepare things the way our ancestors did as much as I can, if I can make it instead of buying it I do, etc. I know that chicken feed is relatively new - people MUST have fed their chickens something else historically. I feed my cats raw food - there must be an equivalent for chickens.
  5. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    I free range mine but I also have layer out for them. Alot depends on your property and how many chickens you have in what size area. I own acres so have 22 chickens. They are not fenced or penned at all. Our land was wild virgin land before we bought it 2 years ago. We have alot of native herbs and grasses growing on it. From 3 types of clover to wild blackberries. My chickens eat more layer in the winter due to ground being frozen but still they are out foraging. In the winter so far I am going trhu 2 bags a month. I know when spring come I will be going thru 1 bag every six months. Mine really perfer to forage than eat layer. We will be fencing off our the house to keep chickens away from foundation plants so they can grow before we let them back in later. Otherwise chickens would clean out all plants.

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