What can I grow to feed my chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MyKidLuvsGreenEgz, Jan 24, 2011.

  1. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Songster

    Jan 11, 2011
    Colorado Plains
    I don't want to buy any more feed. Well, enough to get through winter, spring and most of summer. But my question is this: what can I grow to feed my chickens so that I don't supplement with laying feed? This is kinda a self-sufficient question but anyway ...

    ... here's what I grow (or am planning for this year) already:
    sunflower seeds
    weeds (in abundance!)
    zucchini / yellow squash
    winter squash, incl pumpkins
    various herbs like parsley and basil
    various flowers like marigolds

    trying to grow apples, pears, peaches and nuts but ... it'll be a while!

    i plant heirloom non-gmo corn too but they get maybe one ear every couple of days. per pen.

    Won't grow soy because my son loves it but it's like crack to him: makes him crazy. I'll supplement the protein with scrambled eggs or leftover cooked meat.

    We have sandy soil so they get plenty of grit. And I make pancakes with crushed eggshells in them. We have goats, so I also give them whey leftover from making cheese, homemade yogurt sometimes, and cheese when i can buy it really really discounted (for humans AND chickens).

    Anything else?

    Oh, and I dehydrate almost all of our harvest, so it's real easy to take some from my jar, grind it and add it to the chicken feeder.

    Can anyone help me figure out how much of the above (percentage) I should give?


  2. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Songster

    Jan 11, 2011
    Colorado Plains
    Oh yeah, and I buy pasta, rice and oatmeal in bulk.
  3. gallorojo

    gallorojo Songster

    Oct 15, 2009
    The EASIEST thing to grow for them has to be corn. Make that the mainstay. It can't be their whole diet, but, it can comprise a lot of it! Sunflower seeds are also worthwhile, very easy, good source of protein and fats. Wheat and oats are fairly simple, just don't bother threshing them, feed the whole bundles, stalks and all-the stalks become bedding. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and winter squash are very easy to grow, keep well, but really ought to be cooked, especially the potatoes. They are all really nutritious, especially the seeds of the squash. Mangle beets are good for winter vitamin supplementation. So is cabbage, that can keep very well in a root cellar. Amaranth/quinoa/millet,sorghum, etc, are all easy to grow and nutrious, but a real pain to thresh. Probably feed those those unthreshed as well. All the legumes need cooked or sprouted to be safe, which is a lot of work. They also don't produce like corn or potatoes. Save that stuff for yourself. Let the sunflower and squash seeds be the main protein source, that and potatoes.

    If you don't have them already, you need these books!!

    "The Resilient Gardener" by Carol Deppe
    "Small Scale Grain Raising" by Gene Logsdon
    "the Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It" by John Seymour
  4. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    You can also grow the mangel beets that is for animals, They are hugh and they like to peck them. Rutabaga turnips too. Gloria Jean

  5. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    There isn't much in your home garden, that you could grow- that your chickens would not enjoy. That being said, I think you would be happier with egg production if you continue the layer pellets...and supplement with your garden goodies.
  6. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Songster

    Jan 11, 2011
    Colorado Plains
    Thank you so much for the input. I probably should have mentioned that we have only 2 acres, ALL of it sandy-loam (read: mostly sand!), and a 90-day growing season IF we're lucky!

    We'll be adding a greenhouse when we can, and I have grow-lights inside right now producing a few greens.

    Do chickens eat cooked lima beans and black-eyed peas? Things like that?
  7. mistymeadowchicks

    mistymeadowchicks Chirping

    Nov 19, 2010
    With the greens, by far my chickens preferred mustard & they absolutely loved turnips (the underground root). I left several in the garden that got too big, finally pulled them up & the chickies devoured them in a matter of minutes! '[​IMG]'

  8. BWSY

    BWSY In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2010
    In addition to the above posts, one thing I like is kale. It is a hardy plant and has done well with the 20 degree night time temps here in Virginia. It lasts a long time in the fridge. And the girls gobble it up.

    Next fall I will plan ahead and use a row cover for a late crop of veggies for me and the girls.
  9. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Songster

    Jan 11, 2011
    Colorado Plains
    Okay, so here's what I'm thinking I can feed my chickens without buying layer pellets, and so we can really be self-sufficient people:

    Mornings: rice or oatmeal WITH lentils, beans or peas

    Free-Range, weather permitting (if not, toss some millet or amaranth or seeds on their floor and let them scratch!)

    Afternoons: spinach/greens/broc leaves/kale or mixed veggies or root veggies WITH tuna or scrambled eggs w/cheese

    Periodic treats (like once or twice a week): sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, nut meats, winter squash/pumpkin, apples, berries/grapes, corn-on-the-cob, pasta, amaranth, millet, pancakes with crushed eggshells, mashed potatoes, cabbage, herbs (parsley, basil, garlic), and flowers (marigold petals, etc), a little oil, dandelion leaves, sprouts, whey leftover from cheesemaking, yogurt

    Gonna leave out the soy and corn (for the most part), but it looks like I have a good portion of protein and grain and greens there. Should work, right?

    Will be labor intensive for me, but I'm willing to do it for them (AND US!). Gonna put some oats and lentils in the crockpot now (on warm) so it'll be ready for tomorrow's breakfast!

    Edited for typos, additional foods on list and this note: I think I'm gonna print this out and put it on my bulletin board!!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011

  10. HollywoodHillsHens

    HollywoodHillsHens Songster

    Jan 24, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Our pullets LOVE broccoli LEAVES and chard. They could give or take the broccoli florets, but will leap up a foot in the air to snag a choice broccoli leaf. Apparently these are high in vitamin A (and you get to eat the florets!)

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