December 07, 2009

Chicken Feed

Ruralrose said:

I pull the amaranth plants by the roots and hang them to dry. I feed them usually in February when they are desperate for real food. They do pick the seeds off the stems, I think it gives them something more interesting to do than watch the snow fall. This works for pigsweed too. They do love weed seeds, in my head i am working on a device that would allow me to collect seeds from grass and weeds all summer. They seem to relish dandelion seed. It is hard to get a good feed mix they will eat year round. I use my mix in the winter when they can't be fussy. For the most protein it is best to grow sunflowers for the winter. I have not tried others grains. I do add apple cider vinegar, molasses and kelp to my winter feed. I also collect rose hips and berries for winter feed. I also put down a layer of mung bean and alfalfa seeds before a good snow. It makes for yummy sprouts in the spring. I am considering covering a corner of the yard with plastic before the snow too, to try and get a head start of food for them in the spring. If you come up with another idea please let me know.

P.S. Just put a search engine on my blog so you can look things up! Peace for all


  1. I have a rooster that looks just like the one in your picture,he is a buff orpington mix.I want to start growing crops for my birds in the future.I have tried a few things that did not work here,never thought of sunflowers.I can grow those here!Great post!

  2. my chickens really appreciate dried comphrey this time of year.

  3. What a marvelous idea, collecting weed seeds to help supplement the chickens in winter. We have lots of lambsquarters, and pigweed growing wild all over the place in the summer. I will definitely be trying this next year. Thank you! I never would have though of this and it has been right in front of me all along.

    One of the things we do when winter is in full swing is to give the hens a couple flakes of alfalfa hay each day, they love it.

    It has been a interesting winter so far. Really cold, hovering right around 0°this past week but with almost no snow to speak of. So our lucky birds can still range about if they like...they have been hesitant to come out in the cold but seem to be getting used to it now. I had their little chicken heater on full blast last night and it still dropped below 30 in their sleeping quarters. We need some snow for insulation, last year we had 60" by the end of December.

    I read your book the other day and loved every word of it. Good for you to write such an outstanding and enlightening document. I like what you said about treating animals properly, especially your thoughts on chickens. One of my favorite parts was pages 126-128 where you talked about how difficult it is to live a self sufficient life alone...that really hit home. Anyway, I'm so happy to add it to my collection of great homesteading guides. Stay warm.:)

  4. I read about amaranth somewhere else too recently. Sounds like something to put on my list of 'gotta try'. Thanks.

  5. If we all put our heads together we will figure this out, without any money!

    Thank you very much for letting me know what you thought of my book, and am just thrilled you enjoyed. It was -18C last night, think it is -4F. It could be the coldest night of the winter. No pipes burst this winter and the septic is working properly. We did have a weasel in the coup last night, found an injured rooster and a headless chicken. We have no snow adding to the cold here, as you said it adds insulation. Last year we had as much as you did. Hope this cold snap breaks soon, many people are suffering. We are warm and happy, hope you are too. Peace for all