Diet for happier pet chickens

Discussion in 'Designing, building, making and powering your life' started by feather fun, Apr 24, 2008.

  1. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    "Now I just need someone to convince my wife that chooks in the backyard will not attract snakes and Im sweet."

    Here in the U.S., the main thing that attracts snakes is mice, and the mice are attracted to poorly-contained grain. Make sure you keep any grains in a mouse-proof container. They can chew through some plastics.

    If snakes in Oz truly go for the chickens and their eggs, an electric mesh around the lower part of the enclosure should discourage them. Maybe you could even get a solar setup.

    The main reason (besides free eggs) that I got a few chickens was so they could clean up straw mulch for me. It's wonderful how they will scratch and pick through that straw to find every seed. It really saves time in weeding out the oat sprouts from the mulched garden beds.

    Sue
     
  2. paradisi

    paradisi Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    and then I eat crow

    was watching the ABC garden show (there's a vod cast on their web site) last weeks show showed how to feed chooks greens

    someone set up a patch of sweet potato and put a frame over the top of it - the chook spoo fertilises the sweet potato and the chooks crop the green leaves

    if you're serious abut it, well worht googling the abc garden show and looking for the vodcast
     
  3. hardworkinghippy

    hardworkinghippy Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Mango, we had a thread about this a few months ago with loads of photos of chooks killing snakes :

    viewtopic.php?f=8&t=7281&p=40368&hilit=chickens+snakes#p40368

    We hardly feed our chickens at all. A bit of corn or some wheat is always available in their shed but they scratch around all day in the garden (I cage some veg.) and woods keeping weeds down and eating bugs and they do very well on it. :) I couldn't garden the way I do without the help of our chickens.
     
  4. Mango1

    Mango1 Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Thanks for letting me know about the thread - I will pass it onto my wife and see what she has to say. It is mainly whip snakes we have about the place, but with a fair bit of bush left in the area I am just waiting for something bigger to show up.
     
  5. taylorist

    taylorist Guest

    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Wondering if anyone has a good formula, for how many chickens to how much space, and what types of crops (for arid climates preferably) chciken thrive best on? My intuition tells me that they can figure out what they need as long as they have a diversity of insect life, plants, fruits, fungus, soil with minerals, sunlight, clean water and shade during the hottest hours and days. But a rough calculation, for how much space, for how many chickens to live off a homegrown diet. In the designers manual it says "40 chooks over 5-6 plots over an 18month period for tropical hawaii, but does not say how big the plots are. The whole farm is .5 hecares, so less than that. In an urban setting I am wondering how many chickens i can get to survive without store bought feed, on how much land ?

    Thanks

    Taylor

    Los Angeles, Ca
     
  6. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Your intuition is right.
    They will let you know if they are hungry
    (Um. . . which is most of the time):)

    I think Ancient-man probably partly worked out what grasses and herbs to eat by watching grazing animals like geese, sheep, goats(?) etc. and seeing the plants they preferred.

    Clean, pure fresh water at least daily is a must.
    Many bird-breeders tell me that you can tell the health of a bird by how clear their eyes are (How the science of Iridology started !)

    Chooks like Russian Comfrey and many other herbs (See a list in the great book "Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy.https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Herbal-H ... 0571161162
    [​IMG]
    Try to get the herbs well established before letting the chooks loose on them.

    I have seen some people use a small wire cage open at the bottom and let the chooks scratch, eat and poo on that area until nothing is left. You then move them on and you are left with a nice new garden bed readily prepared for you by the chooks!!
    A bit like the old joke, about censored jail-mail.
    In Australia, one of the great advantages of having free-range chickens is that they eat ground spiders -the most dangerous/poisonous kind of spider here.
     
  7. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Taylorist,

    Unfortunately you question is a bit like 'how long is a piece of string'.

    On your .5 hectare[1 acre?], is this a hypothetical exercise or is it yours? Does it have a house on it and do you intend to live there? Just as a rule of thumb each person produces about enough scraps daily to feed one chook.

    My family currently have 6 pekin/cochin bantams that produce about 15 eggs a week, which provides enough eggs for our reduced family size of 3 regulars and a visitor. We do purchase commercial food and feed them occasionally. They are allowed out most afternoons for about 90 minutes. We buy the food in a 10lb bag and a bag lasts about 2 months.

    If I were to feed them commercially I would expect more eggs as their protein intake increased.

    If you could be more concise on what you wished to achieve we could happily give more specific advice on strategies.

    cheers

    ho-hum
     
  8. Waehner

    Waehner Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Since I couldn't read the Backyard Poultry article without a subscription, I will post some of my own experiences using compost to feed chickens. I keep a compost bin with a lid in my chicken pen, and during the warm months of the year it gets hundreds of large soldier fly maggots. The larvae crawl out when they are ready to pupate, and the chickens snag them at that stage. In a cooler climate, a worm compost bin could provide a similar harvest of protein. Here's a link to the "Black Soldier Fly Blog", which I found through this forum. https://blacksoldierflyblog.com/

    Beyond that, I put a large amount of organic matter in the chicken pen (woodchips, straw, leaves, whatever I get free). The manure the chickens add turns the entire pen into a compost system. Although I never see insects in there, I assume that they constantly grow within the bedding and get eaten.

    Your chickens will also love it if you mow your lawn and give them bagged grass. They will eat the greens when it is fresh, find seeds and bugs for a few more days, then pick out more bugs as the stuff composts. I would steer away from the neighbor's grass clippings- they might contain pesticides.
     
  9. pteradactyl

    pteradactyl New Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Although chickens do a lot of damage to greenery (they will eat any vegetation they can stomach) they also thrive on insects. Crickets and earthworms can be grown in tanks. All your kitchen scraps, garden cuttings and clippings and "donations" of the same from friends and neighbours, not forgetting the chickens' manure can all go into the bins and be turned into chicken feed. Add some grains now and again and some greenery and you will have happy fowls and the most gorgeous yellow (orange, actually) yolks in the eggs.
     
  10. parrien

    parrien Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Look at the back of shopping strips where the supermarkets and cafes throw out their scraps or ask them to put them out inboxes for you. I get boxes of the stuff each day this way.

    Also neighbours if they dont have a compost heap can put green scraps in a box for you, saves on their garbage and landfill too! everyone wins :D
     
  11. KateWilliams

    KateWilliams New Member

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    Water Diet

    Be careful with your pet chicken Diet .You might consider planting boxes around your chicken coop and yard.I take the rosemary and cut off a handful to soak in water for about a week and and then I take the rosemary water and wipe down the top of the laying boxes.
     
  12. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Diet for happier pet chickens

    Just recently I've built a compost heap and it is full of larvae of some description - the chickens got really excited when I let them have a scratch in that. also, they seem to definitley prefer kale to any other leafy green. Interesting!
     
  13. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Water Diet

    That's really interesting, what does it do?
    When you say be careful of their diet, have you had bad experiences?
     

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