Self-Sustaining Chicken Garden & Feed - Need Help!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 1maria100, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. 1maria100

    1maria100 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
    Every year I have to do a "SAE" project for FFA, and this year I decided to make a self-sustaining chicken garden! My plan is to use chicken manure and other compost to enrich the soils in my gardens and grow plants to feed them with throughout the fall and winter. I am stuck on what plants to grow, and I want to make sure they are getting enough vitamins, minerals and of course protein.

    Here is what I am planning on planting:

    Will this sustain them as their only source of food? What else would I need?

    Also, how much of each would I need for a good balanced diet? (In parts?)

    Thanks so much!
  2. 1maria100

    1maria100 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I feed 1/3 chick starter (org.) which consists of soy and corn 20% protein, soy= approx. 50% protein and MUST be roasted or it is toxic.

    2/3 of the following (one scoop each):
    rolled barley
    rolled oats
    org. cracked corn (7-9% pro)
    millet (11% pro)
    wheat (12-14% protein)
    black oil sun. seeds (16% pro)
    split peas (24%)

    You can grow some flaxseeds too but they don't really like them all that well...include at 4-10% of diet - can make eggs taste fishy if too much, 20% protein.

    Also oyster shells and grit from soil or provided is needed. Woodstove ashes are approx. 50% calcium I have read- makes poo black. They dustbathe in it and eat the charcoal.

    I'm not saying that my feed is perfect or balanced LOL but it is what I feed and thought you might find it helpful.

    Cook your beans! Peas don't need cooking. Quinoa has a coat that must be washed off- you can do it. What about amaranth?
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  4. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    You did not say what the level of production was for the birds during the winter, are they laying, are these meat birds, or are these hens with the winter off.

    IMO balancing rations is over rated. I put out balancedpellets and then watch them go ea what ever they can find in the woods, lawn, etc. I was somewhat horrified that they didn't dig into the pellets and eat only the nutrious balanced pellets. THen I strted to rethink everything and observe them more.

    Hungry birds eat. Laying birds eat more. THe layers get 15% protein if they are laying or not. THey eat a lot of grasses in the summer and this is NOT 15%. THey do catch bugs and such. SOrry I don't know the protien content of bugs and worms, but they are mostly protein and water.

    If they don't get enough energy or protein the egg production will drop. Maybe this is ok for the winter months, depends on your goals.

    I like that you have a variety of grains, and some greens. PErhaps you could add pumpkin, or think of fruit bushes that hold fruit into the fall. Long term crab apples are a good option, and apples in general; peaches tend to fruit in the late summer.

    Look on the Farming and HEritage birds thread started by YEllow House, I recently was asking about forages to grow, these should also add to your fall winter eating. My birds will be out eating grass when the snow is off the yard.

    LOVE your ideas-- I"m working toward a sustainable garden and pastures too.
  5. 1maria100

    1maria100 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
    They are all laying hens. And thanks!
  6. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2012
    Soybeans aren't really that great for anything really, but alot of what you have named there is pretty good. Clover is pretty easy to grow and nutritious, buckwheat is good too. There are a lot of plants that are really good for chickens and turkeys alike. I plan on tossing all our banks full of the no plow turkey and deer plot...I might draw some unwanted woods visitors, but I think it will also cut down on the weeds on the bank, improve my soil quality, and please my seeing a few deer and wild turkey here and there will be alright I guess as long as none of my turkeys run off to the wild I won't mind at all. We just bought this property and it has pretty poor rocky soil and I think that adding cover crops all year long, that just so happen to be great for poultry will be a great idea. I will have to put deer nets around my raised bed keep out the deer and poultry...
  7. PAJerry

    PAJerry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2008
    Waterford, PA
    If you are trying to sustain them over the winter, cabbage keeps for quite a while if stored properly. Forage beets are an excellent option for feeding later in the winter and early spring. They store very well and seem to be popular with the birds.
  8. fowlsessed

    fowlsessed Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 16, 2011
    east Tennessee
    Yes, as others have said, Quinoa needs washing, something you might rather not do, and besides, it wont produce in temps. over 95 degrees. Soybeans are toxic if not roasted, something I wouldn't want to do, just do peas. Oats and barley have hulls that are tough to remove, so do hull-less oats and chuck the barley. I would add mangles or forage beets(as mentioned) and also Jerusalem artichokes, pumpkins and/or winter squash, Storage cabbage & carrots, all that, and other things you mentioned, will store(if stored properly) through the winter and should provide most of what they need if let out to free-range over a suitable area.
    1 person likes this.

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