Joan shares some ideas on feeding chickens:
I’ve kept Rhode island reds a couple of different times over my lifetime and have decided to do it again this spring. I kept them back when there wasn’t so much info floating around prior to the internet. I once worked at my sister’s restaurant and they had a huge salad bar and I would bring home half a garbage can of salad bar scraps and basically slop the fenced in part, plus I would rake garbage cans of leaves and dump it over. I think we threw some laying mash or pellets on the ground in the mix occasionally. I would open it and rake the contents of the results into the garden and use the soil in a green house made of visqueen plastic and poles of some sort. I threw their crushed egg shells back in and anything pulled up from the garden. Late 1970s early 80’s after reading a few organic gardening and mother earth news articles. Our home was a 1950 travel trailer. Those were the days. We survived off scrambled eggs, few green onions, trout from the nearby dam and a few grocery items basically. Now we are older and retired and am going to get a small tractor supply coop, with run, buy laying mash and pellets and let them be our composters and pets and egg layers. This time I’ll know better and get the chickens sexed. No roosters. We didn’t have any predator problems for the most part but they stayed confined. So if you are looking for free feeding inputs, perhaps some of the restaurants would save some good fruit and veggie scraps if any have wonderful salad bars in the area. I didn’t free-range them, I may be a little different this time and treat them a little more like pets and see if I can train them, walk around with them yet get them to go back in the coop. I’m only going to get about 4 hens. It’s just the 2 of us now. I suspect a lot of this so called conspiracy is people not understanding the seasons affect their ladies. Spring is more conducive to raising babies and their egg laying will increase with the light. I may dumpster dive the grocery store for veggies for them. It’s probably cheaper to just buy eggs but I find this all therapy, exercise, recreation, and a connection to the divine all rolled into one.
Yes, it is satisfying to put all the pieces together. And I love taking “waste” and turning it into eggs.
I’m thinking of connecting with a local restaurant for food scraps. Between the pigs and the chickens and the compost pile, it just makes sense.
I did a livestream the other night covering some of the issues we’ve had with raising chickens, as well as the problem of supplying them with food without purchasing bagged feed:
Note: the volume gets better after a minute or so.
Getting scraps from a restaurant that has healthier more natural type fare would be a score. I guess junk food (typical restaurant food that comes preprocessed) would be ok for pigs that will be butchered in a few months or meat birds, especially just as part of their diet not the whole. Some extra calories there with nutrition made up elsewhere.
Yeah. If you could hit the dumpsters at a health food store, you’d really be set.
WHERE CAN I GET LAYING HENS??
Check Facebook Marketplace.
Excellent article. I’m looking into different feeds as well for our flock.
If I could make a suggestion: don’t buy a coop from tractor supply- look into building one from scrap pallet wood from a furniture store- I built ours from scrap and got shingles from the local city dump. I wrote about it here: https://mudbox.freedombox.rocks/ikiwiki/NotesfromtheMudbox/posts/Cheap_Chicken_Coops/
I love my hens, they are my composting buddies!
They just started laying again last week, and I’m back to diving the occasional dumpster.
Whole Foods, Aldi, and Trader tend to discard some pretyy nice produce, and they rarely have trash compacting dumpsters.
I am convinced that a cattle panel greenhouse with hardware cloth along the base is an ideal coop/run for making compost while keeping chickens safe and comfortable.
I love dumpster diving.