Chickens provide both eggs and entertainment, but can be costly to feed. Producing your own feed could save money while keeping your flock healthy.
Simply collect seeds, some trays and ordinary potting soil. By sprouting dry grains and seeds for your chickens to enjoy, they’ll gain access to vital vitamins in an easily digestible format.
Growing fodder can provide your flock with fresh, protein-rich greens throughout the winter. Fodder typically includes grains like barley, wheat and oats; legumes such as peas and clover; as well as seeds that sprout quickly – these will all supplement their diet without needing store-bought feed as supplements.
Start by gathering sturdy trays (plant trays work great!) and quality grain seeds, along with a rack or shelf to hold the trays and keep them at an optimal temperature. Sprinkle the seeds daily with cool or lukewarm water to maintain moisture and provide consistent fodder production for your flock. Make sure that any empty trays are removed regularly so they continue to produce fresh fodder for consumption; adding grow lights may speed up this process while producing more nutritious crops faster.
Growing sprouts for your chickens is an easy and cost-effective way to give them something special during wintertime. All it requires is a glass jar with lid, water, and sprout seeds!
Sprouts are packed with folate, an essential vitamin for chickens. In addition, sprouts provide additional B complex vitamins as well as small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium phosphorus magnesium and zinc – essential components of their nutrition.
Your chickens will love sprouted grains! However, be wary of those belonging to the Rhubarb family that produce oxalic acid and thus may be toxic for them. Barley, rye, wheat, oats, quinoa millet radish and alfalfa sprout well for chicken feed as they contain protein rich sources that increase digestion by chickens while making proteins more digestible and palatability to chickens – this will improve yolk color as a result of lutein and zeaxanthin content in eggs produced as a result of being more digestible by chickens as a result of increased digestion by their bodies absorbing nutrients being more efficiently absorbed.
Chickens love eating most of the same veggies you do, making it simple for you to grow vegetables specifically for their feed – cutting overall food costs in half!
Squash, pumpkins, tomatoes and watermelons make tasty treats for chicken flocks while providing much-needed hydration and fiber intake to these birds. In addition, they act as natural intestinal dewormers.
Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, collard greens and Swiss chard provide essential vitamins and nutrients, making them easy to grow from seeds in any garden setting.
Fodder crops such as red clover and alfalfa are easy to cultivate for poultry feed. Sorghum, similar to corn in that it provides energy-rich nutrition for your birds while quickly growing quickly with high protein content, could also provide variety to their daily meal plan; all are easy ways to add variety. However, replacement should only comprise 20 percent of daily requirements.
Farm-grown fruits and vegetables provide additional nutrition for chickens that helps offset the costs associated with commercial feed purchases. Planting an assortment of different species also keeps your flock busy and reduces chances of pecking at each other for bugs or tasty morsels! Having something new to focus their attentions upon will reduce chances of pester behavior among them all.
Sunflower seeds, particularly BOSS varieties, make an excellent protein-rich addition to a poultry diet. Dry them and give as snacks; or plant sunflowers directly in your garden for fresh, nutrient-rich treats!
Leafy greens like kale, lettuce and bok choy can supplement your chickens’ diets with essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. Watermelons rinds make an unusual yet nutritional treat for your birds; carrots (cooked or shredded), squash and cabbage also count. Most fruit except rhubarb, avocados, citrus fruit are generally fine with poultry as food sources; white clover makes an excellent living mulch near your coop as it withstands foot traffic well and bounces back quickly when being tromped upon by poultry.