Food Scraps for Chicken Feed

the the basic principles of feeding

laying hens food scraps is to maintain a

composting environment in which the hens

are foraging for food scraps with a

blended material of other carbon

materials like hay in wood chips

this gives the hens access to the food

scraps but it also allows the compost

mix to get developed for easy management

later in the process a feeding food

scraps to chickens is a great way to

meet the protein and nutrient

requirements of hens without paying for

feed and without importing grains giving

you as the grower both the confidence of

knowing where your feed is coming from

and getting to source that material

locally you can have your neighbors drop

them off at the farm you can have your

neighbors bring food scraps to your

local recycling facility where you can

collect them and then you can pick up

from schools and businesses in your area

the other piece to the equation is the

bedding material that you're going to

blend the food scraps with essentially

what you're trying to do is create a

good composting recipe typically we feed

out two pounds per hen per day they're

not going to eat all that material if

your container is full of pieces of

melon from a school lunch they're going

to eat the flesh off the melon but

they're going to leave the rhein because

they're not going to eat everything that

you put in there you need a way of

managing those residual materials manure

from the hens when they're in the

compost bins and residual food scraps

and the betting that you throw in there

will allow you to start building layers

of a perfect composting recipe as you go

then I'll rotate the material and I'll

put it in my finishing bin and I'll

start feeding against one of the tricky

parts to managing food scraps is you're

not feeding other critters that might be

interested in free food so the best

thing to do would be to line your

containers with hardware cloth to

prevent material from falling out and

attracting them in the first place when

you're managing a laying flock you're

going to either have them in a place

where you have a permanent thin system

or if you're rotating your poultry

through a pasture system you would need

to either have a central bin system that

that pasture rotates around or have a

system that will follow your hands if

you're setting up your farm to receive

food scraps you need to set up and get

good clean material from the businesses

and the schools that you collect from

getting clean material is one of your

biggest and most

management challenges signage education

programs training videos are all

available through Highfield center for

composting and on their website those

are really great resources to access to

help you make sure that your partners in

the community know how to participate

effectively and send you clean material

and then you need to be sending them

nice clean containers back after you

feed when you empty a bucket or a

container you're going to want to clean

that pretty much right away because

plastic has memory and it absorbs odor

and so a very simple washing system is

important part of the program any of us

who have the desire to feed our families

good quality eggs and provide eggs as

part of our farm products to the

community at large

should be considering food scraps as a

source of feed feed is often 30 percent

of the value of an egg that you sell

taking that portion out of there really

increases your margin and allows you to

bring your overall scale down while

maintaining a decent income it's also a

great way to help the state to prevent

the landfilling of these materials the

key thing is setting yourself up well so

that it's not a management headache as

you go forward