Suburban punk hoping for self sustainment

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by BarefootedBro, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. BarefootedBro

    BarefootedBro New Egg

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    May 17, 2016
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    Recently, do to a judge demanding my ex-wife's financial status to remain the same, I have been forced to cut so many corners and luxuries I am as round as the dowel my chickens perch on... and my budget is just as skinny. At least I'm not square, eh?
    With the help of great local urban farming organizations, I have learned basic gardening, edible landscaping, lengthening food life and storage. Aside from a small CSA, which is basically a donation for helping me, I get most of my food from my speck of a backyard; foraging and garden.

    Recently, while buying a few pounds of meat to supplement my nearly daily egg consumption, I realized I might be able to have commercial feed free chickens.

    I've shown them the mulberry bush, I've shown them the peach tree, the grapes, blueberries, I toss them kitchen scraps. But oddly enough, they only seem to go after the ones I drop for them. And devour, like ravenous velocoraptors, the feed I scatter for them.

    Does anyone know any perennials I could plant that would be nutritious, self propagating, and interesting enough that I stop buying feed completely?

    I do offer kitchen scraps daily, homemade kefir (which they love) and kombucha SCOBY occasionally. They have the run of my backyard all day, so access to bugs and grass and plenty of edible weeds.

    Ideas, threads to search, gag orders would all be appreciated.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi and welcome to BYC - hope your "tight spot" eases sometimes soon. There are links on making chicken feed at home (type that in the search box and some should pop up). Ensuring a balanced diet for todays chickens (as opposed to your average chicken 100 years ago, for example) is not as straightforward as it may seem, but i hope that the links give you some inspiration.

    Good luck
    CT
     
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I have tried making my own feed after doing tons of research. It can be done, however unless it is done just right, the chickens will suffer in some area in their bodies. I eventually went back to standard chicken feed. Especially layers who need HUGE amounts of nutrients to lay eggs. All the building blocks of life are put into an egg and if a hen doesn't get these things from her feed, she will drain her body to put it into her eggs. In the old days, farmers fed their chickens what ever they had as leftovers, however they butchered up their chickens at 2 years old or any time before this if the bird wasn't thriving. In today's flocks, we like to keep them alive longer. And good feed is the only way to do this.

    So I personally do recommend feed made for chickens. But definitely stop by our Feeding and Watering your flock for more help with this... https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/12/feeding-watering-your-flock

    Good luck with all your projects and we do welcome you to our flock! :)
     
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
  5. Jucodeo

    Jucodeo The Sky is Falling!

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    I am happy to see you joined us here at BYC! My two biggest recommendations are the Learning Center and the Family Life forum which I have included links for both. I will leave you the link to the most prominent learning area on this site our Learning Center a place with updated articles for old and new chicken raisers! https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center I hope you enjoy BYC and make sure to post pictures of your flock and give us updates on how you are doing here https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/40/family-life-stories-pictures-updates All the best of luck to you and your flock!
    Justin [​IMG]
     
  6. Cynthia12

    Cynthia12 Always Grateful Premium Member

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    Great and helpful sites/links to go check out. Good luck with your chickens. :)
     
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I think you need a good layer feed as a nutritional basis with crushed oyster shell free choice. Everything else they can get by free ranging. Otherwise I think, some of this and some of that, may prevent them from reaching their full laying potential.
     
  8. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    You will likely never be able to provide enough balanced nutrition for them on a small plot of land, you need acres of ripe land to even have a chance at free ranging some chickens to be self sufficient, even then you probably won't see optimal returns... The problem with all vegetation is the fact that again unless you have sufficient land it can't grow fast enough before they eat the land to dust especially since you live in MI where you can only grow about 1/3 of the year... Also chickens are omnivores and thus really need the bugs, and although you may feel there is enough in your yard, chances are slim there actually is...

    With that said, if you have a local mill, you can formulate your own feed and save some, but to maintain optimal growth and production you can't simply just mix some stuff together, it takes a lot of number crunching and nutritional analysis study and then you might not actually be saving that much at all when you are done...

    May I suggest that if money is tight you instead spend some time talking to local grocery stores (especially family owned ethnic ones) and see if you can't swing a deal to take away their day old produce and other 'expired' products that normally goes in the dumpster... Offer to write up a 'not for human consumption agreement' and see if you can cut a deal, many places will flat out deny you but if you keep pushing you might just find one, I did and it drastically cut my feed bill and my chickens eat quite well, but still have a side of commericial feed if they want... And if you can't swing a deal when push comes to shove don't be proud, there is always the 'freeganism' movement to help feed the birds...

    And don't think of the food as 'bad' regardless of the expiration date most food is good well past that date, and a bruised apple or banana is perfectly fine even if the store can't sell it...

    Yesterday my birds got Bays English Muffins, expired on the 18th, fed to my birds on the 19th perfectly fine (not a balanced nutrition but still food) and it wasn't just a few, I was given 40 packs or 20 dozen...

    Tonight I was given about 30lbs of misc expired hot dogs (I generally don't get meat but occasionally they do give me hotdogs or lunch meats) most of them low sodium hot dogs to boot, and about 12 loafs of their deli bread...

    And those are slow weekend days, most days I leave behind most of the stuff they offer as it's simply too much... Some examples of my daily takes, and remember this is FREE...

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