In many places it is hard to find chicken food options that are beyond layer crumbles and cracked corn. If your birds aren’t free ranging with access to insects, greens, and such, then a diet of crumbles and corn can be quite a limited one. Here are some ideas on other food options for chickens followed by a recipe for how to make your own mix of whole grain chicken food:
Feed chickens food scraps. This includes any table waste or compost. They will eat about anything-bacon fat, crushed egg shell (don’t forget to crush them!), spoiled food, etc.
Ask your grocery store produce employee to give you the vegetable trimmings and such that they usually are just tossing anyway. They will often give you more than you need.
Throw them weeds from your garden or grass clippings from the mower.
Make your own whole grain mix. You can by 50lb bags of whole grains from a feed mill. Prices for most 50lb bags of oats, corn, wheat, milo, and sunflower seeds, range $10-20, which means making your own custom food is also cheaper than buying pre-made mixes of scratch grains. However, most of these grains available at the feed mill are coming from large farms and probably are not organically grown. Bulk organic whole grains are considerably harder to come by at feed mills, and often will have to be special ordered in bulk from a health food store or food coop. You can also find local growers selling in bulk on Pick-A-Pepper.com.
Simple recipe for whole grain chicken food mix:
2 parts corn
3 parts wheat berries (hard red and/or soft white)
1 part oats
1 part hulled barley
1 part milo
1 part sunflower seeds
Additionally you can add 2 parts crumbles or add all or some of the following, and skip the crumbles:
1 part millet
1 part roasted soybeans
1 part alfalfa meal
1 part kamut
1 part amaranth seeds
1 part split peas
1 part lentils
1 part quinoa
1 part sesame seeds
1/2 part flax seeds
1/2 part kelp granules
How do you go about mixing this all up??? This is a great job for kids to help with. They love to scoop and mix! You can put everything in a wheelbarrow, a kids swimming pool, or in 5 gallon buckets and mix with a shovel or a scoop.
Store the mix in 5 gallon buckets that have good fitting lids. You can also use old coolers, or action packers. Just make sure if you use plastic storage bins that they don’t have any vent holes. These seeds are the favorite foods of mice too, and they will gnaw their way in, if they catch wind of it.
If you want to take DIY chicken feed to the next level–learn how to ferment your feed, which adds probiotics too.
Visit Pick-A-Pepper.com to see what your local farmers are offering today.
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