Eco Home Living Backyard chicken

Published on February 9th, 2012 | by Vivian Nelson Melle

5

Make Your Own Chicken Feed

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For a while I fed our backyard gals feed store varieties of feed. I thought for sure the bag of food had some magical properties that sustained our girls and kept them producing gorgeous, tasty eggs. After learning about the dangers of GMOs though I had to take a look at what was being fed to our poultry darlings. Some research showed not only could our chickens be sustained mostly on scraps and free ranging, but that feed could be made easily and cost-efficiently.

You can make your own chicken feed to save money and avoid GMO ingredients.

Backyard chicken

Backyard chicken

Chicken’s Dietary Needs

Chickens are simple creatures but their dietary needs are not too different from ours, well, except for the grit and oyster shells. Chickens need protein, most of which can be made up by allowing your girls to free range. Think of all the juicy bugs hiding in the backyard, not to mention the benefit of keeping those creepy crawlies out of your home. They also need carbs which come from grains and produce. That’s right, your lovelies benefit from fruits and veggies so stop off and give them some kitchen refuge before hitting the compost heap and toss them your melons rinds for a special treat.

{cc photo courtesy of on StevenW. Flickr)

feeding a chicken

Feeding a chicken

Ingredients for Chicken Feed

If you’re like me the idea of making your own chicken feed might have seemed mysterious at first. It’s silly since I made my dog’s food for years so why was chicken feed so mystical? With the help of Greener Pastures Chickens, I found one of the best chicken feed recipes using items already found in most health conscious kitchen. Corn, wheat, various seeds and lentils are the base for the simple recipe. Barley, flax, groat and millet may be the way you start your day but it’s also what’s needed for your chickens to rise and shine as well. Some of the more obscure items needed for the health of your chickens are granite grit and oyster shells which can be ordered online or through your local feed store. If you have a farmer friend with chickens you might be able to strike up a deal for a small bag. Also, try to avoid GMO corn by purchasing through local farms where you can talk to the growers to see if life in a lab was ever a part of their seed’s existence.

{cc photo courtesy of niallkennedy on Flickr}

Mealworms

Mealworms

Let Your Girls Get Buggy…

Or wormy. In the wild, poultry live on insects, plants and berries because they are foragers. Backyard chickens naturally want to do the same. While some chicken farmers raise earthworms, meal worms and other insects for their girls, you can also buy these snacks to supplement the tasty finds the girls will eat in the garden. Even if you’re miles from a feed store, your local pet store offers meal worms for their reptile-loving clientele. Unearthing some moist soil is sure to offer a few tasty earthworms your chickens will happily devour. You can also offer flowers as a special treat to chickens. The girls are sure to enjoy marigolds which will also give an even deeper golden color to their yolks. Make sure the flowers are chicken safe and then offer them instead of throwing the bouquet in the compost.

{cc photo courtesy of Randy Cox on Flickr}

Do you have backyard chickens? What do you feed your girls and what is their favorite treat?



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About the Author

Vivian Nelson Melle is a former educator and community counselor who decided to follow her dream of writing. She balances work to home school her daughter and enjoy crafting, photography, gardening, natural healing, cooking and anything that helps heal the earth and its inhabitants. She also writes for Green Living Ideas, Ecolocalizer, Mamita’s Creations and Phoenix Neighborhood Blogger. She is a writer for hire with a soft spot in her heart for non-profits and indie businesses.



  • http://www.diyNatural.com Matt Jabs

    Crazy Vivian, Betsy and I also posted an article about chickens today, specifically how and where to find good healthy eggs. Thanks for the info on DIY chicken feed, I’ll be sharing it with my readers. God bless.

  • http://www.frugallysustainable.com Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable

    I really want to start making my own feed! Thank you very much for the great info! Pinned for future reference;)

  • Donna Prenta

    We have Black Soldier Fly larvae in our composter that I feed to our chickens. The larvae are 44% protein and 33 % fat. You can order colonies online to add to your compost. They are especially good for breaking down citrus rinds from our fruit trees that accumulate quickly in our composter. The larvae also deter fruit flies that ususally are attracted to the compost. The black soldier fly larvae naturually occur in zones 6 and higher. Our chickens love them, I call them “Chicken Sushi.”

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/karenl/ Karen Lee

      LOL —> “Chicken Sushi” Thank you for the tip about the larvae. I would think that they attract flies but they deter flies? That’s even more awesome! Thanks for visiting! Keep your tips coming. :)

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/nelsonmelle/ Vivian Nelson Melle

      Donna, thank you so much! I am totally going to get some for our compost and the girls. We have been bombarded with fruit flies so hopefully this will help.

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