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?
Along with layer ration I feed my small flock ground up broccoli plants and reject carrots. I grind the leaves and stems of the broc plants along with the tops and roots of the real crooked carrots. I wash off most of the dirt but the cutter blade still seems pretty sharp and I have ground probably 200 ibs. the last few years. I bag ‘2 pounders’ and freeze them. Most I feed raw but occasionally they get one cooked with something I’m cooking for them anyway. ie, meat trimmings.
You mentioned adding apple cores to the chicken mush. I have read the apple seeds are not good for chickens and dont give them the core at all. What is your experience or knowledge on this? Thank you.
Apple seeds contain a plant compound known as “amygdalin”, found in the seeds of fruits of the rose family such as apples, almonds, apricots, peaches, [ears, quinces, medlars, loquats, and cherries. When the seeds are digested, the amygdalin degrades into hydrogen cyanide which is poisonous. However, the amount of amydgalin in apple seeds is quite small and the cyanide yield is even smaller. One gram of crushed apple seeds delivers no more than .06-.24 mg bio-available cyanide total. For humans, you’d have to eat around 2 cups of ground up seeds or 1.6mg per pound of body weight to cause acute poisoning.
As always, please do what makes you most comfortable. If you look on chicken chat forums, you’ll find lots of folks who feed their chickens apple cores (I do) without any ill effects. But if it makes you nervous, don’t do it.
I slice the apples in half they eat the seeds and have never had a problem. In the winter I have flock blocks for them to peck at as the snow is to deep for them to get out. I try and save the leafy parts of my broccoli and older swiss chard for them. For me to feed oatmeal would be hard as I can’t see myself making oatmeal for 75 birds.I also like to scoop up the finer chaff from my hay bales.Heads of cabbage are feed to them also.
Yes, 75 birds may be a bit of a challenge with making the oatmeal. What you are doing sounds more than ample. The leafy parts and flock block I am sure make your birds happy campers!
HI, I have never had encountered problems when feeding whole apples to my chickens. In this recipe, I chopped up the apple after my son had finished eating it. There was a quite a bit of fruit left but I did take out the 2 seeds when chopping.
I’ve read that apple cores/seeds are toxic to chickens, no?