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Chicken Feed

Photo by Oleksandr Canary Islands: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-feeding-white-chicken-outdoor-375510/

Growing your own organic chicken feed on a farmstead in arid South Africa can be a sustainable and cost-effective way to provide nutritious food for your chickens. Here are some methods to consider:

  1. Sprouting Grains: Sprouting grains like wheat, barley, or corn can increase their nutritional value and make them more digestible for chickens. Soak the grains in water for about 12 hours, rinse them, and then let them sprout for a few days until they develop small sprouts. Chickens love these fresh and nutritious sprouted grains!
  2. Growing Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are rich in protein and healthy fats, making them an excellent addition to chicken feed. Plant sunflower seeds in a sunny spot, and as they mature, harvest the seeds to feed your chickens.
  3. Growing Corn and Sorghum: Corn and sorghum are drought-tolerant grains that are well-suited for arid climates. You can grow these grains and let them dry on the stalk before feeding them to your chickens.
  4. Planting Legumes: Legumes like peas and lentils are high in protein and can be grown in arid conditions. Planting legumes in rotation with other crops can improve soil fertility and provide a nutritious supplement for your chickens.
  5. Growing Leafy Greens: Planting a variety of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or lettuce can provide valuable vitamins and minerals for your chickens. These greens can be grown in containers or garden beds.
  6. Insect Farming: Insects are a natural part of a chicken’s diet. You can create a small insect farm by composting kitchen scraps and allowing insects like black soldier fly larvae or mealworms to thrive. Your chickens will enjoy hunting and eating these nutritious insects.
  7. Foraging Area: Designate a part of your farmstead as a foraging area where chickens can roam freely and find insects, worms, seeds, and plants to supplement their diet. This not only provides natural food sources but also encourages their natural behavior.
  8. Kitchen Scraps: Collect kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and leftover grains. These can be composted and fed to chickens, reducing waste and providing additional nutrients.
  9. Purslane – is a fast growing weed which the chickens love.
  10. Alfalfa/Lucerne – can also be grown and is readily eaten by the chicken and other animals. It’s also a nitrogen fixer so it’s good for your soil.
  11. Azolla & Duckweed- are fast growing water plants that produce a lot of food fast for cheap.
  12. Comfrey can also be fed to your chicken.
  13. Compost – Let your chicken roam around and feed in your compost. It’s free chicken feed and you get awesome compost.

Remember to balance the different components of your homemade chicken feed to ensure it meets the nutritional needs of your chickens. Additionally, provide access to clean water and a commercial layer feed or supplement if needed, especially for egg-laying hens. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can grow and make your own organic chicken feed to keep your flock healthy and happy on your farmstead in arid South Africa.

Here are some links:

Here’s a nice video on using Azolla only to feed chicken.

https://youtu.be/rAdwoWTt4CA

Feeding the chicken

https://thegrownetwork.com/how-to-grow-happier-chickens-and-healthier-eggs-from-seed/

Karl Hammer of Vermont Compost has been feeding hundreds, sometimes thousands of chickens without grain for 20 years. His magic? Compost. But, do the chickens still lay? 300 a day! Oh, and heโ€™s got unique donkeys that deliver the eggs and other goods to the customers in town ๐Ÿ™‚

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