So you’ve found your great dual purpose breed and have made the commitment to stop buying commercial chicken. What next?
I have to say that for most people, it’s impossible to keep enough chickens to feed their family all year long. Or perhaps they live in an urban area with restrictions on how many chickens are allowed. In this instance, I would suggest joining a local CSA, buying club, or hunt down your local farmer’s market. Here in Kentucky, there is a strong local movement and you can find an abundance of locally produced, GMO free food. Even if it’s not organic, many farmers locally have committed to feeding their animals naturally and provide plenty of access to pasture land. You can look for ASH free, which stands for Antibiotic Steroid Hormone free.
Even then, you have to be willing to pay the usually higher prices. It’s a personal choice: do you want to eat chemicals and GMO’s or not? Even surface research will turn up the dangers of modern industrialization on health. I won’t scare you with that today. What I will say is that every person on the planet deserves access to clean food and water. You and/or your children certainly do. So skimming a little off of your cable bill to pay for fresh food is a wise investment in the future.
For some, especially after the tumultuous recent years, it still isn’t feasible. To you I encourage not to feel guilty and to look at other ways you can make the best of things. A lot of farmers work in trade, so if you have extra time on your hands make friends with the farmers in your community (maybe at the farmer’s market) and offer your labor in exchange for food. This is a solution that helps everyone, building strong friendships and communities.
Or get your church or other group involved in group buying or building a garden. There are several churches locally that have not only built community gardens, but community farms with chickens and goats to nourish the community both physically and spiritually.
If you do happen to be lucky enough to have enough land to raise chickens for your whole family then how are you going to feed them?
Buying organic, non-corn, non-soy, non-GMO feed is ridiculously expensive as some of you are probably aware. If you have the money to purchase that then by all means do so. For the rest of us, there are ways to get around that cheaply.
Commercial feeds generally are the cheapest ingredients possible mixed into a pellet. Like dog and cat food, it’s poorly regulated and what’s in it today may be something different next month without notice to you or your flock.
To avoid this problem, it’s simple enough to make your own feed. I hear the groans already, but it’s not as hard as you may think. Bear with me for a moment.
There are recipes all over the internet for making your own chicken feed. A brief search on google turns up hundreds. What you want to look for is no soy, no corn, and generally easy to procure ingredients. Anything too fancy or expensive fed to BIRDS and I’m going to sit in the corner and cry when I get the bill.
To source ingredients, there are a lot of places you can look. If you’re part of a buying club locally then that’s the best place to go for bulk bags of winter wheat, oat groats, sunflower seeds, etc. If you want organic, this will definitely be your cheapest option. I’m usually just happy with GMO free for chickens unless it’s something I know is sprayed heavily, in which case I will go with organic only. Cotton tends to be sprayed with pesticides heavily, so cottonseed meal is a definite no-no. 63% of wheat in the US has significant levels of malathion, among other toxins. Corn is almost always GMO, about 75% of the corn grown in the US. Ditto for soybeans.
For more information, check out this link:
In upcoming posts, what would YOU like to see addressed? Leave a comment below and let your voice be heard.