The season is definitely changing here in Michigan. The temps have cooled, leaves are changing and most mornings around my little town are filled with fog as the air has cooled more than the lakes, streams and swamps. It is a magical time of year in my opinion. My garden has for the most part, wrapped itself up. I have one random tomato plant, that some how grew in the chicken run, still producing. The ladies love it.
I have turned to making heartier meals at my house. The stick to your ribs kind that warm your soul as well as your body. It isn't just us that eat seasonally. The needs of animals and birds change as the weather changes. Your birds may have less to find in your garden and more to find in the feed buckets.
Do you have to supplement a chickens diet for the upcoming winter? No, not necessarily. Commercial layer feed will hold them over just fine from season to season, however, I do change my birds diets as the seasons change. If you are indeed what you eat, the added fruits and veggies to the birds diet can not hurt.
I always offer feed in the coop for my girls, but during the day, they range about a fenced in section of my yard. There are plants, grass, and bugs to keep them happy and in Spring and Summer, that is where they do most of their eating. I notice, that the feed bag lasts a bit longer during the abundance of Spring and Summer.
Lately, I have noticed that I am going through more feed. The ladies are staying in the coop a little longer on the cool mornings. While they like to eat the tasty morsels from the yard still, they have turned to eating more from their feeder. Molting is in full swing and their beautiful feathers are not quite what they once were, but will be again I'm sure. This is the time, that I supplement their feed. I like to add more of a variety to their diet.
One such way to do this is to make a mash of sorts in the morning. I use Oatmeal, Apple Cider Vinegar and then fill with leftover fruit and veggie scraps. I try to incorporate greens whenever possible as they become scarce in the coming cold months.
To prepare, I cook the plain steel cut oats as the package suggests. As the oatmeal thickens, I turn off the stove and mix in whatever greens, fruits and veggies I have on hand as well as the apple cider vinegar. I let this cool to room temp before serving it to the girls. They will scratch about in it and we don't want anyone to get burned. This morning my ladies feasted on some oatmeal mash with leftover beet greens and stems and well as a diced up apple core.
Do you change up your flock's diet as the seasons change?