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Raising Chicks

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Growing Chicken Feed

Grow chicken feed picture

Growing Chicken Feed

Raising laying hens and meat chickens is an amazing activity. A great way to decrease your chicken feed bill and ensure great chicken health is growing chicken feed.
Aside from the cost, growing chicken feed in your own soil is fresher and healthier than anything you can ever buy in a bag. Feeding your chickens with home grown feed makes them stronger and more resistant to illnesses. Growing chicken feed yourself also gives you food security in the real sense of the word because you are not totally dependent on commercial poultry feeds to make them grow and produce eggs.
Admittedly, not everyone has the space to grow their own chicken feed. But before you immediately discount the idea, keep in mind that a lot of backyard chicken keepers practice growing chicken feed for their flocks.
Besides most of the vegetables, legumes and seeds we eat are also eaten by our chickens so it’s not as if you have to grow food exclusive for them alone. If you are not free ranging your flock, a mobile coop is be a good idea so that you can simply plant the feeds in various areas of the garden and get the chickens to them when they are ready to be eaten.

Common garden cover crops like clover, kale, rape, turnips, and mustard are easy to grow and make nutritious chicken feed. It only takes anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks to grow them. They can be sown in the garden or placed in individual containers for you to clip the greens and serve to your birds once they grow. Sunflowers do not only make your garden come alive in the summer, sunflower seeds make excellent human and poultry food.
Another summer or spring chicken forage that’s not only easy to grow but is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients is pigeon pea, Ceylon spinach, golden purslane and mibu greens.
Other seeds that are good for growing chicken feed and your chickens are arugula, saltwart and garland chrysanthemums. Chickweed, dandelions and yellow dock are leafy greens that can be grown the whole year round. And flowers like marigolds, nasturtiums and pansies also make good treats. Just make sure that they have not been treated with pesticides.
The vegetables we eat like carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are also well-loved by birds. Just throw them little bits and pieces when you’re making lunch and they’ll certainly be waiting for the same treat in the days to come.
Fruits, too, make very good and nutritious feeds for chickens. They especially like grapes, watermelons, pomegranates, apples, bananas and strawberries. Obviously, if the foods you grow in your backyard are not enough, you will still need to supplement these with commercial feeds so that you are sure that your chickens get all the nutrition they need. But growing chicken feed will drastically cut down your feeding costs and give your birds the benefit of fresher and more nutritious meals.

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