Grow Your Own Chicken Feed

Homemade Chicken Feed

Chickens are incredible bio-cleaners, and can eat all kinds of table scraps, fruit and vegetable remains, and grasses/salad leaves, but there isn’t always enough of this left over from your dinner table to support your flock.

If you’re running free-range chickens they should do pretty well on their own in the summer if you have enough land for them to hunt food. For the winter you’ll need to supplement their feed  with your own.

Feed Requirements

Chicken feed in the store normally contains a combination of corn, oats, wheat, barley, sorghum and other bi-products. There’s also normally a vitamin mix that is added to supply the chickens with vitamins A and B. Chickens can obtain vitamin D from the sun, and vitamin C from even light foraging.

The National Research Council’s Nutrient Requirements for Poultry specifies the amounts of protein, minerals, and vitamins chickens should have based on age, type, etc. If you want to get super scientific and technical you can visit: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=2114&page=20 for a chart with the exact appropriate recommended amounts.

Making Your Own Feed At Home

Making your own feed requires a little gardening and a grinder like this one:

Cast Iron Corn, Grain Nut Grinder

You can also use a blender if you please! The ingredients we put in our blend is as follows:

  • CornRead our article on growing and drying corn!
    Nutrition Facts : Corn is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. It also has small amounts of potassium. Corn has Vitamin B (Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folate). It has traces of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.
  • Ground Sunflower Seeds – Make sure to ground them to a fine powder as they can have sharp bits and pieces. These are easy to grow and a few plants can add pounds to your mix.
    Nutrition Facts: Sunflower seeds contain lots of protein, fiber, and calories. They’re also a great source of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, sodium, manganese, zinc, copper, selenium, vitamin b1-b2-b6–c-a-e-k, folate, niacin, and pantothenic acid. They’re a wonderful addition to your mix.
  • Soybeans: Soybeans have some of the highest nutrition value you can get in something so easy to harvest.
    Nutrition Facts: Soybeans contain carbs, sugars, fibers, fats, and dozens of other vitamins and minerals – it’s a great finish to your feed.
  • Worms/Insects: Visit our article on Worm Composting to learn how you can get an endless supply of worms. If you’re able to get your hands on worms, a handful of worms can go a long way, don’t by hesitant to throw a handful of your red wigglers in a  5lb. mix. If you don’t have access to worms I find that hanging a sheet up in the yard during grasshopper season can normally net a few pounds of hoppers a week, just throw them in a jar and keep them in the fridge/freezer until you’re ready to use them. Grasshoppers are known to carry tape worm and other nasties – most of which won’t affect chickens, but this can be easily remedied by warming up the jars to 150-175 degrees before adding the hoppers to your mix.
    Nutrition Facts: Insects and worms are a great source of protein and vitamins and will help your eggs shine and your meat birds grow!

If you’re making a lot of mix at once it’s important to add the ingredients a handful/pitcherful at a time to ensure they get properly mixed in your feed storage container.

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Drying Apples

The cost of some of the most simple snack foods in retail stores can easily cause a case of sticker shock for the thrifty at heart, but if you’re willing to spend a little time you can create healthy, nutritious, low-cost snack foods at home with very little equipment or initial investment.

We’re going to first talk about the tools and methods for drying apples, but these principles apply to most fruits/vegetables and the types of snacks you can make is only limited by your own imagination!
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Growing Corn

Corn is one of the most versatile crops you can grow on your land. It can be used to feed a variety of animals, be mashed and mushed into new creations, and feed your family in abundance for very little effort.  Corn also grows just about anywhere, loves lots of sunshine, and does well with an abundance of water. Most corn is also resistant to most types of insects. You might notice ants, aphids, wasps, or other critters making friendly with the moist areas on your corn plants, but their effects on the end result are negligible and easy to manage organically in small operations.
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Composting 101: How to Compost!

Composting is a natural occurrence, and is something that happens every day all around us. Composting can normally be completed in one season if done properly, and should only require a light sifting before use.

The best method for creating compost is to simply is to have an equal amount of greens and browns, or wets and drys, in your compost pile. This requires attention to detail when putting on layers. Attention must also be paid to ensuring airflow, and this is normally why the bottom layer of the compost pile should normally consists of boards or sticks to help alternate the raise of the pile from the ground. Immediately on top of the sticks should be a 1-2 inch layer of straw or dry materials, then 1-2 inches of wet materials like food waste or grass clippings. The wet/dry or green/brown alternation should continue for 20-30 layers, then place 3-4 inches of straw or dry material on top to cap the pile.

Here are a few examples of alternation methods in compost piles: Continue reading

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Composting: Things to Consider

When undertaking a composting project there are a few things to consider.

Composting requires a little bit of space, and is normally something you’ll want to keep away from neighbors. There’s no bad smells associated with a compost pile, but your neighbors might not find it the beautiful masterpiece you’ll no doubt come to love. Compost piles also require time and energy. The payoff for having a steaming heap of compost and a finished product come gardening time can’t be undervalued, but like all good things it takes planning and effort to make it happen.

It’s also important to note that there are items that are biodegradable, meaning they will “someday” compost, but not everything that is biodegradable belongs in your compost pile. Compostable materials are materials that break down quick and easy and will provide you with good compost from season to season. Try to avoid things like cardboard boxes, papers, and plastics in your compost pile – they won’t break down quick enough and you’ll end up having to pick them out!

Composting requires 4 main ingredients: Continue reading

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Composting: Types of Compost piles

Composting can be done many ways, and methods for composting can range from using store-bought containers to large open-air mounds. While I have done larger open air mounds, these are often for more experienced composters and can require light machinery. For smaller piles I’ve found it’s normally easier, better, and cheaper to use a homemade setup rather than going for a store-bought solution.

A few of the most common homemade types of composting containers can be seen below: Continue reading

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Why Compost?

If you’re just getting into gardening or permaculture you might be wondering if getting serious about composting is for you.

Why to Compost?

  • Send less trash to the landfills
  • Make high quality soil at home, without having to purchase it from expensive hardware or lawn & garden stores
  • Increase self-sufficiency
  • Control the inputs into your garden (no fertilizers or chemicals from pre-bagged soils)
  • Increase the productivity of your orchard or garden

Depending upon where you live you might also need to compost to create enough soil to properly manage a garden. Every 6 years mother nature provides us with 1 inch of soil, and depending upon where you live there just might not be enough good soil around for a serious garden. Composting allows you to create up to 6 inches of high quality soil every year to enhance the quality of the soils in your garden.

More on Composting: Continue reading

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Homesteading

Homesteading is the foundation and a right of passage upon which anyone seeking a simple life must undergo.

Your homestead is many things, but most importantly it’s where you’re going to spend the rest of your life. Finding a place to homestead isn’t an easy process, it has to have enough available resources to allow you to live a simple life, and it has to be affordable – few people seeking the simple life start out with millions. That being said, you also don’t need a lot of money to homestead – but you’ve got to have support of neighbors, family, and friends, aswell as the ambition and drive to complete what you set off to do.

Important things to keep in mind while searching for that ideal homestead:

(Work in progress)

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Introduction to Simple Living

The point of this blog will be to update our readers on methods to save money, live with nature, become better citizens, become better people, and develop ways to live sustainably in the fast-paced, materialistic world, of today.

I’ve long been an enthusiast of simple living and survivalism – visit our sister blog www.blogtosurvive.com, and last year I purchased 5 acres at the base of a mountain range in Western Montana. This blog will serve as a testament to my experiences, trials, and tribulations, on a quest to live closer to nature, help my fellow man, and decrease my dependency on the utilities of the world.

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