Feed chickens without grains - reduce costs by 100% - permaculture abounds (2023)

also throughUse of chickens to control pests and diseases in orchards, you can control the pest population while providing free, natural food for your herd. Feeding chickens without grains is somethingUse the permaculture approach for your pollo parvadait's all about

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Why we try to feed chickens without grains

when we startBreeding of meat chickens, we would buy commercial food without even thinking about what it contains. Finally, to ensure the health of our chickens and our family, we decided to buy feed classified as organic.

We discovered that organic food tripled our costs! It would cost us more to raise organic chickens than to buy organic meat at farmers markets. We needed to do something to reduce costs, so we started experimenting with feeding our chickens.

us firstbuilt a chicken tractor(and then I designed andbuilt the chick) to move the chickens to new pasture every day. Transporting the chickens only took about ten minutes of our time and reduced daily chicken feed from ⅓ pounds per day per chicken to ⅒ pounds per day.

We were so excited about the cost savings that we decided to try the outdoor system. We did an experiment where we raised a group of free-range hens and a group of hens on grain and we were surprised that the free-range hens ended up weighing more.

We have raised delicious free-range chickens with organic meat and we have been able toslaughter our chickensat less than 67 cents a pound.

Not everyone can let their backyard chickens run free. Trash is everywhere and most people don't have space. Onefficient stationary barn designmay work better in this case. Don't despair if you can relate, there are plenty of other ways to feed grain-free chickens!

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Can chickens survive without grain?

The truth is that grain-free chickens can be healthyproductive egg layers. There are many ways to feed grain-free chickens inexpensively.

Chickens have only been fed grain for 100 years. Before that, the chickens were kept free for feeding. Chickens are exceptional at foraging for food.

Raising free-range chickens offers many benefits, including the fact that they produce more nutritious eggs for your family. Free-range eggs have a third less cholesterol than grain-fed eggs and are richer in vitamins A, E and omega-3.

Free-range chickens are less destructive than caged chickens and exhibit fewer boredom behaviors, including fighting among themselves. Also, all the scratches they make outside of their coop will naturally cut their nails.

Ways to feed chickens without grains.

Feeding chickens grain-free is not only possible, it's relatively easy. Look for protein-rich foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and your herd will be fine.

be okay

Most farmers consider comfrey an invasive weed, but it makes excellent forage for your herd. Not only do chickens love it, it is rich in protein, vitamins B12, A and C, potassium, sulfur, calcium, iron, phosphorus, selenium and fiber.

Comfrey is high in nitrogen, making it a great addition to your compost pile. Its addition encourages bacterial growth, which helps warm compost piles and speed up the composting process.

(Video) RAISING HENS WITH NO GRAIN. Some thoughts...

Order comfrey online, plant in a fertile hole, and harvest eight times a year by pruning to two inches.


Another plant considered an invasive weed is the nettle. This plant is both edible and medicinal for your chickens. Nettle contains vitamins K, B and A, iron, manganese, copper, calcium and magnesium. When dried, it has excellent protein properties.

Nettle also contains omega-3 oil similar to that found in sunflower seeds and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Nettles are rich in carotenoids and give eggs that beautiful dark yolk.

Nettle grows wild and can also be planted and harvested. Nettle is also excellent for mulching and composting.

professional advice: Other beneficial weeds include dandelion, burdock, yellow dock, and lamb's quarters.

Grass and lawn clippings

Fresh grass or grass clippings can replace chicken feed for up to 20 percent of the chicken's diet. Fresh grass also contains insects, which are protein-rich fodder for your herd. The herb is rich in protein, iron and vitamin C.


Your chickens will enjoy a bale of hay to the fullest. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of fiber and protein, and your chickens will peck at it with gusto.

Hay often contains various types of grass, including ryegrass, clover and fescue, and legumes. These herbs are rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as calcium and iron. Hay also helps keep glucose levels stable, as it slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood.


Why not turn a problem into a solution? If you have a predator that is giving you trouble, capture or shoot it and feed it to your chickens. Chickens are omnivorous and meat helps meet their protein needs.

Cut up the carcass so that the chickens can access the interior. Chickens will peck at the meat and tender parts, leaving behind the bones, so remove the carcass after a few days and before it rots.

The food

Another great thing to do with a pesky predator or stray killer is to make a bucket of worms. Using a wooden tripod, hang a bucket with ⅜-inch holes drilled into it. Enter the meat. As the meat decomposes, the flies enter the holes and lay their eggs. The larvae hatch and fall through the holes.

Worms are rich in protein, fat, and amino acids, and your chickens will gobble them up.


If you live on a farm, you have mice. Once again, chickens are omnivorous and enjoy a meaty snack. Be careful not to use mouse poison, as your chickens will eat a mouse if given the chance.

Mice are high in protein, and since their bones are relatively small, chicken eats them too, giving them a significant boost of calcium to make eggshells stable.

(Video) 6 Feed Chickens Without Grain


If you have extra potatoes from your garden, they can become very nutritious food for your chickens. Boil and cut potatoes before feeding them to chickens to make them easier to eat.

Potatoes contain vitamins, potassium, and iron that help build strong bones. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and improve fat absorption. Potatoes are high in potassium and low in cholesterol, contributing to strong heart health for your herd.

professional advice: Green potatoes contain the toxins solanine and chaconine, which are toxic to chickens. Do not use any part of green potatoes.

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winter squash

Winter squash keeps very well even at room temperature. Keep them in a cool, dry chicken place as a healthy addition to your chickens' feed all winter long. Cut the pumpkin in half and feed it to your chickens. You will love the pumpkin seeds and pulp.

Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which helps the immune system to function optimally. Chickens lacking in vitamin A are more likely to get sick.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, which helps in stressful situations. Chickens can be stressed by heat, cold, and other environmental factors. During this time, they need more vitamin C. Pumpkin is also high in zinc, which supports the overall growth and development of your herd.


Chickens will love all kinds of berries. You can eat blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, June berries, and fall berries. The berries are soft, making them easy for your chickens to eat.

The berries will tempt your chickens because they are sweet, like a sweet treat for a human. The berries are full of vitamins and minerals and are rich in fiber suitable for your herd's digestive system.

The berries are also rich in vitamin A, which is necessary for good egg production. If you notice a drop in egg production, consider giving your laying hens a vitamin A-fortified treat.

Forage or cereal crops

Consider planting a grain crop just for your chickens. Sunflowers, dent corn, alfalfa, clover, sorghum, amaranth, and buckwheat make excellent forage crops for chickens. These plants are rich in protein and fiber.

If you build up your soil through cover crops, have your chickens come inside and eat the remaining greens after you've harvested the crop. The advantage is that they also work the land.

(Video) Grow Your Own Chicken Feed |Sustainable Chickens

professional advice: If you feed your chickens grains, consider fermenting them. Fermentation will give your health a huge boost. Get a bucket and cover the food with water for a few days. After a day it will be easier to digest. After two or three days it ferments.

Collect your daily ration and add more grains. Fermentation increases the digestible nutrients in the grains and provides immune-boosting probiotics. Also, chickens eat 50% less fermented feed because it is denser and more satiating.

walnut trees

Walnut trees are an excellent source of food for chickens in the fall. Chickens can eat acorns, beeches, walnuts, black walnuts, and walnuts. Take the nuts, break them with a hammer and feed them to your chickens. You will love them.

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fruit trees

Plant fruit trees for yourself and use the imperfect fruits for your chickens. You will eat persimmons, blackberries, apples, peaches and pears. Harvest the fruit and bring it back or put your chickens in the orchard after harvest to clean up the fallen fruit and sanitize your orchard.

If you put chickens in your garden and the pest-infested fruit falls to the ground, they will eat the fruit and the pests. Even if you place your chickens in the garden in early spring, pests will eat them while they are still in the pupal stage and before they become a problem.

professional advice: Apples are great for chickens, but you need to remove the seeds first. Apple seeds contain cyanide, which kills chickens.

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garden pests

Turn a problem into a solution by feeding garden pests to your chickens. If you have pests in your garden, take a bucket of shallow water and push the insects into the water. They cannot fly with water on them.

Given the choice, chickens will always reach the insects first, so they'll love this tasty treat.


If you have a pond on your property, why not fill it with fish for your family? Fish is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world for both humans and chickens. Your chickens can eat the leftovers or you can harvest the fish just for them.

Fish can meet the high protein needs of chickens while providing much-needed amino acids; The probiotics contained in the fish work perfectly with the biome of the chicken's digestive system.


Another benefit of a pond is the ability to harvest duckweed. Duckweed can be a problem in a pond, so collect it, let it dry, and then feed your chickens. Dried duckweed contains 40% protein, making it one of the highest protein foods.

soldier fly larva

Soldier flies look like wasps but are black. They only live for a few days, but they lay eggs that hatch into larvae that contain a lot of nutrients in a small package. Soldier fly larvae contain protein, fat, and many other vitamins and minerals.

(Video) Cut Chicken Feed Costs 100% - 20 Creative Ways

Build a special container and fill it with rotten vegetables. Soldier flies lay their eggs and you can collect the larvae for your chickens. Soldier fly larvae are an excellent food to help your chickens thrive through the winter.

on my blog,"Give Me the Soldier Flies"I show how I put mine together:

worm composting

Many backyard owners are discovering vermicomposting. Vermicomposting uses earthworms to turn waste materials, such as rotting manure, cardboard, and newspapers, into compost. This compost makes an excellent fertilizer full of worm droppings.

The added benefit is plenty of worms to feed your chickens. Just leave enough worms in the compost for them to reproduce and feed the rest to your chickens.

kitchen scraps

On average, 16% of household waste is food waste. Why not give all the leftover food to your chickens? Keep a bucket in your kitchen and turn your leftovers into eggs and chicken.

Agricultural products

If you have chosen aMost suitable breed of cow for milking, the probabilities are also after using the calf stock approach anddaily milking of your cow,You still have extra milk.

Reserve the milk for your chickens to drink straight from a bowl or add to cereal. Oddly enough, your chickens eat raw or boiled eggs.

Chickens eat the leftover meat from slaughtered animals. If you slaughter a cow and don't plan on eating the heart or tongue, feed it to your chickens or add it to the bucket of worms.

If you have bones you don't use, use them to make bone broth for your chickens. It has an exceptionally high calcium content and is perfect for layers.

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Foods you shouldn't feed chickens

Chickens are extremely intelligent; In general, they don't eat anything they shouldn't eat. However, below is a list of items that are not recommended for chicken feeding. Remember not to add these items to your compost pile if your chickens are eating from them.

  • Raw rice– Cooked rice is fine, but raw rice swells and causes digestive problems.
  • savory dishes- Salty foods can cause hypernatremia, an electrolyte problem.
  • onions– Onions contain thiosulfate which can cause jaundice and anemia in chickens. It's also a good idea to avoid chives and garlic. Eaten in large quantities, they can cause the same problem as onions.
  • citrus fruits– Chickens are sensitive to citric acid from citrus fruits.
  • chocolate– Chickens should avoid chocolate, sweets and any sugar as they can cause irregular heartbeat and even heart attacks in chickens.
  • Tomatoes– Green tomatoes contain solanine and chaconine. These are poisonous to chickens.
  • moldy food- Mold can develop toxins, so it's best to stay away from it. If you are fermenting grain, discard it if it becomes moldy.
  • raw or dried beans– All dry beans are dangerous for chickens, especially kidney beans. Dried beans contain hemagglutinin, a toxin that can be fatal to chickens.
  • some flowering plants– Certain flowering plants such as lupins, foxglove and holly can be poisonous to your chickens. Lupine can cause nervous system failure and death. Holly has a laxative effect and can cause vomiting. Foxglove contains a toxin called digitalis that slows down the heart.
  • Rhabarberblatter– Rhubarb leaves contain anthraquinones, which act as a laxative. They also contain oxalic acid, which can be fatal to chickens.
  • Avocado– The skin and pit of avocados contain a toxin called persin. In large doses, Persin can cause breathing and heart problems.

Ready to start?

download mineprintable worksheethow to do each of these alternate eating methods.

If you enjoyed this article, you'll love my favorite YouTube video.How I feed my 30 chickens for $1.25 a day.

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