When & If Food Becomes Scarce??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Goodegg1, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Goodegg1

    Goodegg1 New Egg

    Jan 26, 2014

    I have a question to all who have been raising chickens for years. Not to be bleak, or looking at the frowning side of life, but if food for chickens becomes scarce, what alternative is there to feed a brood of any size? I'd appreciate an answer from those who have been raising chicks and might have this knowledge.

  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    My grandma always fed chicks cornmeal...that's all. If that even is scarce, then chicks can be raised just fine by a broody on their natural diet of bugs, worms and grasses.
  3. JDchicks

    JDchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 28, 2012
    Southeast Alabama

    Sorry, I have not run into this problem. But I do find that we have limited greens in the winter, and we offset with growing winter wheat to feed as well.

    Hopefully, more members will pipe in and can offer some additional suggestions.
  4. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Alright [​IMG] great to have you here [​IMG]

    I have very little natural feed living in the desert
    so I always get a large bag of the cheapest Rice
    and them chickens will start making some big time
    noise till they get it now [​IMG]

    I do not believe there is a shortage of rice yet [​IMG]
  5. Sakmeht

    Sakmeht Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    I've wondered this, too.

    I have cornmeal and rice, as well as wheat berries, but they wouldn't last for long. I'd imagine if you had room you could grow some alfalfa and wheat? My chickens are in our small backyard and there wouldn't be much for them to eat in the winter time unless I had something for them.
  6. DeckDuck

    DeckDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2013
    I have a wonderful book called The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe (http://www.amazon.com/The-Resilient-Gardener-Production-Self-Reliance/dp/160358031X) that talks about how to feed ducks in hard times. Some points are growing winter squash and potatoes, which can be more reliable in difficult years than grains, and boiling them to feed to the birds. She also recommends that if you do not have enough food to feed your birds completely, you should always feed them what you have before night so that: a) the birds are not locked in a coop all night with no food and unable to do anything about their hunger and b) if you let the birds free range all day without breakfast, they will be motivated to find as much food as possible for themselves. You can also create habitat that increases the amount of food available in the area you free range the birds. Plant trees and shrubs that make fruit, seed some quality forage on the ground, rotate pastures, make compost piles and mulch to scratch through for bugs, etc. Mulberry trees are supposed to be great for feeding chickens. I've also learned through personal experience that I can hang black walnut hulls and wormy chestnuts in sacks above the chicken run and lots of tasty worms will fall onto the ground for the birds.

    I think that there's a lot that can be done to keep birds happy in that kind of situation. You just have to be creative with obtaining your own food for the birds. Ideally, you could take things that you wouldn't have eaten anyway (like wormy chestnuts. Eew!) and turn them into eggs this way.
    1 person likes this.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

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