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GROW A POULTRY GARDEN

Growing your own chicken food will not only save you money but also ensure your feathered friends have a healthy and nutritious diet. Julie Moore explains

Feed is the largest ongoing cost faced by any poultry keeper, but it also offers the biggest opportunity to save. Although it may not be possible to become totally self-sufficient, there are a number of crops you can grow to reduce the feed bill.

The natural foods you can produce are what Gallus gallus (the oldest ancestor of our domestic fowl) would have eaten in the wild some 5000 years ago: leafy plants, fruits, wild seeds and animal foods such as earthworms and bugs – all fresh and naturally nutritious straight from the garden. Growing foods that chickens like is not only easy, it’s good for their health and the environment too.

VARIETY IS KEY

Chickens like many of the crops we choose to grow for ourselves, so it’s easy to sow a little extra for your birds while helping you get through seed packets before the seeds reach their ‘use by’ date. Plenty of variety is key to their diet – they will willingly turn their backs on gluts of anything and instead search out an array of foods, ensuring they find the vitamins and minerals they need.

Plants, earthworms and insects are all ‘live’ foods that are loaded with minerals, vitamins and other nutrients hat can’t be found in dried feeds. Roots, stems, leaves, fruit, flowers and seeds all offer different nutritional and, in some cases, medicinal values.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

In this month's issue of Kitchen Garden ... - Rhubarb for rookies plus A-class asparagus - Win great prizes worth over £2704 - Sow peas for early pickings - 7 slug controls on test - A taste of italy fresh from your garden - Meet the hairy bikers Si & Dave talk veg - Get the most from oriental salads - Grow your own cuppa - Reduce garden plastic