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What did our forefathers feed their chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SandyC, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. SandyC

    SandyC Songster

    With the cost of feed going up, I have been wondering what people with small flocks of
    chickens fed them before we could all go to the feed store and buy the pretty stuff in the bags. What would you feed your chickens if you suddenly couldn't go to that store and had to use what was available to you?
  2. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    well , your initial question was , what did out fathers feed their chickens way back then .

    Well , I am sure most were growing their own crops of corn , ETC. they also had their own cattle . They had everything they needed and lived off the fat of the land .
  3. yeah... and in Louisiana they fed them crawfish heads....LOL
  4. Quote:Actually the cost of feed is going down compared to this summer and are about the same or lower than they were one year ago.

  5. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Once I posted on here about a book I had from the 1850s about chicken feeding and care. You can find it online, but I can't remember the title. Sorry. [​IMG]
  6. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    Not around here! It's still about 30% more than last year.
  7. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I bet the chickens got lots of leftovers, or food that was going bad, whatever was in season and the farmer had plenty of. Chickens in different area's probably got totally different foods.
    I would also guess alot of chickens were left to find their own food most of the time - freeranging all over the farm for bugs, grass whatever.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I'm not sure because my grandparents just let them roam and they would go into the barn and lay in the hay. I remember them throwing some kinds of grain, but I don't know what. Their garden was fenced as I remember, probably to keep the chickens out. My birds have a fenced in yard to keep them out of my gardens. [​IMG]
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Someone once said that chickens "domesticated themselves" since they often don't get much of anything from people in simpler societies. They mostly clean up what larger livestock and people would waste. On that basis, they chose to come in from the wild.

    When I first got a flock of my own chickens, I was visited by Grover, a family friend. This was many years ago and Grover was an old guy . . . he was more than 20 years older than Dad and Dad will be 91 in a couple months. Would that make Grover a forefather?

    Anyway, Grover said, "Just feed 'em wheat, that's all we gave our chickens." So I tried giving the chickens just wheat that Winter. They promptly quit laying.

    I don't think our forefathers and foremothers expected chickens to lay eggs in the Winter.

    A great deal of what is in livestock feed these days is by-products. The grain or whatever has been used for other purposes and what remains is used as animal feed. I think some might be surprised at the cost of the original farm products. One way to look at it is that the modern feed industry is highly efficient.

    Quote:I have a large garden and the chickens always get a sampling of veggies thru the growing season. I've also noted how much grass they eat in the backyard. Pastured poultry folks say that up to 30% of their feed can come from pasturing. For the most part, the garden produce isn't easily stored for the Winter months. And, I'm sure, chickens can only eat a limited amount of hay.

    What would I do? I'd do things pretty much as I believe our ancestors did - primarily, taking advantage of the chicken's ability to find its own feed. Beyond that, I'd make sure there weren't too many to keep thru the Winter and focus on a simple, survival diet. That, I'm afraid, would be my worse case scenario plan.

  10. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    I'm reading Suite Francaise and in rural France, circa 1942, chickens were fed wheat.

    By the way, I often check with local restaurants as they are dumping food and take it for my chickens. The deli in town, for example, rarely keeps bread more than a day and my hens get the baked goods otherwise headed for the dumpster.

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