Tinfoil hat question.. Sustainable chicken feed?


11 Years
Feb 24, 2009
This might sound strange but this moring it occured to me. How would you sustain your flock if you had no access to a feed store?!?!?!? Dont forget winter when forage is scarce or snow covered!!!!

yeah yeah I know this is a tinfoil hat question but im sure no one would want to see their babys starve!
Actually I don't think it's a silly question at all! In the developing world I'm quite sure that feed stores don't nessarily exist and in colonial times they didn't either.

I'd let them free range and feed them them table scraps, avoiding the foods they can't handle (potoato skins, meat etc.) I'm sure this is what people have done for centuries.

Chickens are pretty resourceful animals - all that scratching is a constant search for food!

try looking up some perenial edible plants.
asparagus, berries, dandylions, herbs, fruit trees, are some that come to mind. BTW, i think it was an excellent question.
back in the day I am sure people stored corn and other veggies in their cellar for chooks as well as they probably grew wheats and such for them for the winters. Also unless there is a lot of snow on the ground they can still forage a bit. People probably also timed their cullings with the winter too in order to have less to care for over the cold months.

My closest feed store is 45 minutes away and I have seriously considered making my own feed but I will have to add a lot of things to my already full garden so I probably will continue to buy feed and just try to grow as much as I can to suppliment.
When my dad was growing up all they ever fed their "yard chickens" was some scraps on occasion. Same with their dogs. This wasn't all that long ago either - 60s/70s. The chickens and dogs did just fine, kept the bugs down and the chickens made good dinners. Come to think of it I think all their cows were pasture fed dairy cows too. The animals, when allowed to range free, will find a way to feed their bellies, don't worry.
If you have a small store of whole grains, doesn't matter what kind, you can sprout them to provide a more nutritious feed in a smaller package than just feeding scoops of the grain itself.

An inch of grain in a shallow pan, cover with a damp towel and place somewhere warm for about three days. You will have a "cake" of sprouts that have a power pack of nutrition compared to the actual grain. You can cut this cake and divide it between your livestock.

Don't go past the 3-4 day sprouting time and try to get bigger sprouts....the pan will tend to grow mold past that point. Keep a rotating cycle of pans with sprouts and you will cut your feed bill tremendously!
There are a lot of foods you can grow yourself and dry for winter use. Field corn is easy. So are legumes to add for protein, like beans, peas or soy. Alfalfa. There are veggies that last a long time in cold storage, like a root cellar. You can dehydrate or can a lot of different foods, too.

You can also set up a worm bin. Wheat grass will grow in the winter on just a sunny window. A lot of things will grow much later in a cold frame. Plus they can eat most of the things that you can eat.
If you have food to feed you, you have food to feed the chickens (much moreso than almost any other kind of livestock, in fact), quantities permitting.

If you don't have enough for you, then you don't wanna be trying to carry many chickens over and the extras may solve part of your own not enough food problem

a SHTF type of problem in this country is one of the reasons we got chickens. figure there a good sourse of eggs and meat. we have a fenced yard and a fenced garden. we are hoping to keep enough stuff growing to feed them if things go bad. we stock up on all kinds of things just in case something does happen. also have extra seeds in case we need to grow more.


New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom