We want to improve the way we are feeding our chickens and are on a quest to find a more sustainable means of doing so for our our girls. As we understand chicken nutrition they are omnivores (remember the Hitchcock movie, The Birds?) --needing 4 parts carbs to 1 protein, preferably that being of a healthy, non-gmo source (uh, duh.)
We "fodder" feed our chickens, meaning we bring their food to them rather than rotating them around the property so that they can "forage" for themselves.
Love the forage approach to chicken keeping, but we've kicked this as moving our super-cute-chicken tractors and re-setting up the fencing is too time consuming for our little operation. Plus, with the white portable fencing we had too many errant chickens making their way to our barnyard. And though chickens scratching through the barnyard leftovers is a nice, quaint homestead scene they complicate the parasite control for our goats and cows. We've found our green, semi permanent fencing is doing the trick keeping the little tricksters out of the barnyard.
Regarding their current feed, to date we've been serving our ladies an organic milled grain. We buy it by the pallet, it's a nice product and we are grateful for it but it's pricey even by the pallet. We are able to extend this fair with old cow's milk and whey, weeds and kitchen scraps of course but we are looking for system of feeding our chickens that's less dependent on a processed, imported and pricey product. We are on the hunt for a larger source of those carbs and proteins, one or two 55 gallon drum a week for them would be just perfect. We have in mind feeding our chickens like we did our pigs, gathering scraps from here and there. We are close to the docks so maybe it's time to load up on fish scraps and remainders from local bakeries?
So local friends, we are putting the word out, we'd love to benefit next time you clean out that fridge of yours or do you know of a brewer, baker or donut maker who'd save there left overs for us? Love to hear and thanks ahead of time. (And by the way, we pay in eggs.)
And hey you fellow chicken keeping friends, Geoff Lawton has an interesting video that's inspiring us. We are trying to integrate a version of this into our (fixed) chicken yard. This'll be our way of bringing that tasty barnyard (fodder) to our little "tricksters." Maybe you'd be interested too? Love to hear your thoughts about this. Here's his video and btw, you do have to register with his site but there isn't a charge. http://www.geofflawton.com/fe/64322-chicken-tractor-on-steroids