Chicken Coops – Free food for chickens
This blog may turn out to contribute to the reluctant spouse syndrome that I wrote about recently, but I’ll let you judge that for yourselves.
Chickens eat vegetables, grains and protein. When you buy “Chicken Feed” at the “Feed Store” with a balance that is healthy for the chickens at their particular stage of growth. But you don’t have to buy commercial food products for your chickens to have a healthy diet. Free ranging your chickens will give them access to everything they need for a healthy diet. But it will also give them access to destroy everything you have planted in your garden. So Eventually you need to strike a balance between what you let your backyard chickens find themselves and what you find and bring to them for food.
I have mentioned before that compost piles are a chickens best friends (http://creativecoops.com/chickens/chicken-coops-should-go-near-the-compost-pile/). The other night I was out at the compost pile contributing my daily bucket of kitchen scraps and I decided to get a shovel and open up a hole to put my scraps into. Now, my pile is very young still and is mostly grass clippings (nitrogen) and very wet. I don’t yet have a lot of dry leaves (carbon) to balance it out with yet. So it is pretty mucky at the moment. After turning over a shovel of compost, I notice a sound. So I stood still to listen more carefully and what I heard was a kind of slurping sound. I looked closely with my flashlight in the dark and the inside of the hole I had dug was teeming with all kinds of night crawlers and bugs. Earwigs, worms, bugs, you name it. So many milling about in the slime that they actually made a slurping noise. This is what chickens are digging for in the ground. But the chickens have all gone home to roost in the chicken coop at night so they can be safe from their predators and besides chickens are also night blind. The worms and bugs now know it is safe to come near the surface (it is also cooler and more moist at night). What a wonderful balance of nature. Hence the expression “The early bird gets the worm”.
I took my shovel and scooped up a good amount of worm loaded sludge and put it in a bucket with a tight lid. In the morning, I dumped it in the chicken yard and viola, a high protein breakfast for your chickens for free. It is the protein that makes for those nice dark yokes. There are some interesting methods of producing sources of protein for chicken feed that you can do yourself for free. Consider this link. http://creativecoops.com/chickens/chicken-coops-should-go-near-the-compost-pile/
Let me know if decide to try a night time compost raid for free chicken feed yourself.