May 24, 2008

Chicken Feed Experiment

In an effort to reduce our feed bill, I've been investigating what I can produce here on the homestead to replace what we'd normally bring home from the feed store. We already grow our own hay on approximately 10 acres, which we cut and rake by hand because we do not have a tractor.

My first project is the poultry. I have a dozen hens (which need to be replaced, as they are older and not laying well) and a dozen guineas. The guineas used to free range, but our dogs are fond of poultry meat, so... well... I'm feeding the birds now. I haven't figured out what to do about that yet.

They already get any kitchen scraps that we generate, with a very few exceptions, such as carrot peels that I give to the goats instead.

Up until this week we had no extra milk - we were even a bit short of milk - but one doeling has gone to her new home, one of the bucklings has nearly weaned himself, and the other is down to two bottles a day instead of three, so there is now a surplus in the refrigerator. My chickens aren't fond of milk though - they'd much prefer to have something soaked in milk instead. I will make some yogurt and see if they like that any better.

This week's experiment is growing maggots for the birds. Yes, really. We have plenty of flies around to produce them. I won't have to touch them, and hopefully the birds will eat them so fast that I won't even have to see them. Here is what I'm doing...
Free chicken feed

Feeding Chickens Maggots

Yesterday I found the bucket - not the one I was planning on using, but it will work - and drilled the holes in the bottom. This morning I added a half pound of ground beef that sat in the refrigerator waaay too long and isn't even safe for feline or canine (to be honest here, I've been planning to try this experiment for awhile, and when the meat passed its prime in the fridge, I let it hang around even longer so that I could use it for this purpose). I hung the bucket on the nail I'd hammered into the chicken coop ceiling beam long ago in anticipation of this very moment. I am waiting with bated breath. The chickens will be taken by surprise by the maggots falling from the sky - lots of maggots, I hope.

If it works, I'll be adding a bucket to the guinea gazebo as well. I'll let you know how it goes.

Till next time...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:09 PM

    check out this web site they a lot on eathworms but also in all that is a small artical on using magots for food good luck yours lordsteven1st@gmail

    http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/oliver/oliver_farm.html

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