Continuing my saga of ABC with the chickens in the Nesbitt household!
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! Breakfast for the chickens. A mixture of mixed chicken corn, porridge and white long - grained rice.
There are some who say chicken food should have XX% of this and XX% of that, but only on a Friday in August etc, but I tend to go down the route of a 'base' proper feed (mixed corn) and anything else they would like, because if they don't want it - they won't eat it!
In the early 50's, a left over of WW2 where 'self sufficiency' was just a way of life and not an alternative like it is today, rationing was still going and the open market amongst neighbours was a terrific 'local economy' in it's own right.
My grandparents wouldn't have a clue about XX% of vitamin X. They fed the chickens with what they had and that was usually a mixture of corn and left overs - potato and other peels boiled up and thrown in the Pen.
The chickens were happy and they laid eggs!
hat's the thing really, which I know from my own experience of getting my first hens, putting them in a hen house built by Jon and then wondering what the heck I do next ? Will they starve? will they die?, are they too hot, cold etc. The list goes on.
But after a while you realise they are pretty good about anything you do and you'll soon know from lack of eggs or general health that it maybe (maybe) something to do with you.
There are basically two types of feed; 1. Mixed Corn, probably the most essential and 2. Layers Pellets.
Before we continue - Layers Mash is the same as Pellets but crushed up into a powder and especially easier for very young chickens. There are also Layers 'Crumbles' which is a kind of halfway house, but my local Farm Supply Merchants don't sell it, so I assume there isn't much of a market for them.
So it's a bit the same as a baby growing up Mash to Crumble to Pellets.
In the mornings I feed them what amounts to about a handful each and in the afternoons, about the same. Teatime is treat time – egg noodles, rice noodles, spaghetti etc. You should bear in mind though that mine are in a large open area in which they can scratch around and find their own bit and pieces.
During the summer I have the benefit of the Kitchen left overs and they are spoilt on almost a daily basis with jacket potato's, bread, sandwiches (not meat) etc.
In the winter we boil up all our left overs and peels and this goes in as well.
The only other thing is grit. This can be purchased in Farm Suppliers, maybe good garden centres.
I also use the shells of the eggs I’ve used in the kitchen and roast them til they're nice and crunchy brown, then crunch them up into a grit like condition.
This is a common and known method and is not scorned upon.
Our chickens are not fond of greens – this is probably because they have such a large area of grass to please them. Over the past few nights we have made the most of the weather and have been having BBQ’s. We see the hens searching the grass for insects and the like – often until dusk when they will make their way to bed.
When we do feed them it is always interesting to watch them eat all the sunflower seeds first!
Whatever we feed them, nothing beats the tranquility of sitting in the garden and watching them eat away!
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