I know that its probably not the easiest thing to do, but the Coronavirus got me wondering what I would do if I suddenly couldn't go to the feedstore.
Obviously homegrown corn grain plus skim milk would make a pretty good basis for a ration. The problem with that idea is that it wouldn't do you much good now, at the end of winter, unless you had thought ahead last summer and planted a bunch of field corn.
So, what would you all do if chicken feed suddenly became unavailable? I'm guessing that free range pasture + sour milk + table scraps +heritage breed hens could probably give you a small amount of eggs, but interested in what ideas you all have.
Free range chickens seem to do just fine during the warm months without any feed at all (at least mine do). I guess it would depend on how productive their foraging areas are. But with warm weather coming chickens are definitely one of the easiest farm animals to keep fed.
We buy totes of grain locally, I don't see that changing much... but I am VERY glad we're set up now to grind our own grain. No need to depend on the store... We keep about 50 hens and get 40 eggs a day, so these gals eat a lot!!
My dad kept 6 hens all winter (same bloodlines as mine) and without light supplement and just living in the barn scrounging for the most part, he gets 1 to 4 eggs a day. Note, chickens are opportunists and if they don't have grain, they like cat food as a substitute. They like meat scraps, too, for sure - my dog is always chasing off chickens from her meat scraps. If we have extra meat, we'll hang some in the coop just for the hens.
Jersey cow family: Samson's Rosita (age 3) & Virtuoso Briar Rose (age 2) An Akita, some kitty cats, 7 Border Leicester sheep & 53 hens
Geese also - if you need to be self sufficient, geese and ducks require fewer inputs . Their mess in winter requires massive inputs here so I'd still rather raise chickens
I liked how self sufficient the Muscovies were last summer, but they decided the new milk parlor was home, after the shelter I made them drifted full of snow. The snow is pretty much gone, but I haven't been able to convince them to stay out. Rachel
Me, my Hubby, and four Littles one horse - Cappy A burgeoning goat herd 35+ British White and Angus mama cows, and several bulls My milk cows: Faith, Chick and Freckles Heifers coming up - Dolly Dixie RIP
Our neighbors always have plenty of corn in their silos and we frequently buy from them. I soak the whole corn for a few days until it is just a bit sprouted before feeding it to the hens and cows as they get more out of it, nutritionally.
I regularly clean out my freezers of older and frost bitten things and the chickens love it. When I peel potatoes I throw them in the microwave for a minute to soften them and feed them to the chickens. There are all kinds of veggies they enjoy, along with leftovers of all varieties.
The chickens are already going through less feed with the early warm spring weather we've been having.
With what you have available aside from store feed you would likely be just fine depending on the number of chickens. The big thing would be keeping the numbers balanced. We have had layers that were 100% free range that laid like crazy. We are in a rather warm climate most of the year here though. Climate would be another consideration as even during the winter months in our area they can still free range fairly well.
I used to feed 2 dozen hens in cold ND winter on food scraps, milk ( as much as they can drink) and alfalfa hay. They do well on meat bits from butchering
Simplynatural - I forgot to ask - what kind of egg production did you get with that diet? Certainly it will always be decreased with the shorter day length...but I presume they still layed at a reasonable level for that time of year?
claytonpaul: A bull was put on her herd Late Last May so she was expected to be due between May1 and August. They quoted me August so I wouldn't be disappointing by a late arrival.
May 23, 2019 13:07:11 GMT -5
Trim: I'm baaaaacccckkkk!
Aug 31, 2019 17:57:22 GMT -5
alpacalexi: My mini jersey cow is pregnant, however the last couple days her udder has deflated. My vet saw her on the 23 and said delivery in a couple weeks Is there a reason for her deflating?
Oct 2, 2019 17:17:00 GMT -5
Trim: She probably aborted a while back. That happened to one of my animals. She was bagging up but within a short while of her "due date" she began to deflate. I had no idea what had happened. I was seriously bummed out.
Feb 8, 2020 20:46:23 GMT -5
mamacherri10: good afternoon! I have not been on the website in a long time. Have a new jersey milk cow and am looking to see how long she needs to be dried up prior to calving? She is due the third week of May.
Mar 10, 2020 14:33:11 GMT -5
steven888: Dry her up now, she needs 6 wks of rest.
Apr 1, 2020 2:05:11 GMT -5
highlandteen: five to six weeks is generally suggested
May 7, 2020 14:39:23 GMT -5
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