If you raise your own chickens, you know just how much feed these little creatures can go through, and hey, let’s face it—the price tag can really add up. Aside from chicken feed being a bit expensive, you have more control over the way your food is grown in contrast to buying feed from a supplier. In order to ensure that your chickens have good-quality feed, you can grow foods like sprouted grains and seeds, leafy greens, and vegetables like pumpkins and winter squash. By growing chicken food yourself, you’ll see just how much of a difference it will make for your chickens and overall homestead.
If growing my own chicken food difficult?
As mentioned, buying chicken feed can be expensive, and to ensure that it is not filled with “stuff” that can be unhealthy for your chickens, you can make your own food on your homestead. It’s actually quite simple too, and if you enjoy gardening and growing your own food (a lot of us homesteaders do this already!), then growing chicken food will be extremely easy for you.
What vegetables should I include in my chicken feed?
You can easily grow sprouted grains and legumes, and creating a vegetable garden filled with crops that are very nutritious for chickens (like beet greens, cabbage, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, and potatoes!). Other leafy greens that your chickens will enjoy include chard and spinach which are soft for them to eat.
Reasons You Should Consider Growing Chicken Food
Creating a vegetable garden is great for any homestead
A vegetable garden is also a great addition to any homestead because it can provide locally-grown crops you all can enjoy that are grown without pesticides. If you’re looking to make a delicious vegetable soup from scratch or other cozy recipe, having your own vegetable garden makes it easy and delicious! You won’t have to worry about the conditions of the farms you purchase your greens, fruits, and vegetables from, and if you currently do not buy local produce, then growing a vegetable garden on your homestead will help lessen your carbon footprint!
It cuts the cost: Plain and simple
If you’re looking for a cheaper way to have feed on hand while raising chickens, then you should definitely consider growing chicken food. Instead of having to continually go buy feed for your chickens, will eventually begin to add up, then you can grow leafy greens and vegetables on your own homestead and cut the cost. All you have to do is invest in the seeds to grow these greens, fruits, vegetables, and other crops, and tend to them so that they grow properly. Alfalfa and kale provide a abundant feed for your chickens, and it is very inexpensive to buy and tend to. Once your chickens get a hold of these crops, you’ll see how much they enjoy eating them and how much your wallet enjoys still being full!
Healthier chickens and eggs
You might think that the feed you’re currently giving your chickens are going to help them become healthy and strong, and produce high-quality eggs, but the truth is that many times the chicken feed is filled with ingredients that are not doing your chickens are favors.
By growing your own chicken feed and giving your chickens access to home-grown fresh greens helps increase the amount of omega-3 in their eggs. This means when you crack open your chicken’s eggs, you’ll see a much brighter, orange-y color in the yolk!
The better quality and more nutritious the food your chickens eat is, the more nutritious their eggs will be (they will be filled with more vitamins like A, D, and E).
Free-range all the way
If your goal is to raise free-range chickens, the best way to help with this is to grow your food when raising chickens. By allowing your chickens to have enough access to a range of crops and thus food sources, your pasture will be begin to tend to itself. They will be able to feed themselves and self-regulate their diets, and they will also help tend the your pasture. Grazing means less mowing for you, and droppings from your chickens can actually help keep soil fertile, which means more, high-quality crops (yay!).
What kinds of crops should I stay away from when growing my own chicken feed?
You’ll want to avoid nightshades (including uncooked potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants), salty foods, onions, and uncooked rice. Some chickens are even sensitive to citrus, and exposure to too much vitamin C can cause them to pluck their feathers. Absolutely NO candy should find its way into the feed and avocados (skin and pit, both), should be avoided. There are toxins in these parts of the avocado that can seriously hurt your chickens and make them very sick.
If you want to know which crops are actually great for your chickens, you’ll want to stick to sunflowers, alfalfa, millet, and rye grass as well as oats, quinoa, and Swiss chard. These are actually great crops to help your get started with growing your own chicken feed.
Want to learn more about growing chicken food from the experts? Check out this video below on making a healthy Omega-3 rich feed!