While reading Newman Turners book FERTILITY FARMING. which I highly recommend by the way, I came across a section on poultry. Newman makes the statement that " hens will generally mop up all the food which one is able to allow them, even when on free range."
If you have chickens you can say a big "amen" to that. Chickens have a high metabolism and therefore a big appetite.
Newman also says that he found birds ranging on high fertility soil that contained good quantities of hummus ate less feed. Especially on oat or wheat stubble.
He writes, "They would usually come to meet me when I arrived with the food which in the semi-confinement of folds they would consume to the last morsel, but after pecking away at it for a while they would wander off to their obviously far more palatable and juicy soil organisms -- worms, insects, and much that was invisible to the human eye -- which they were getting from the humus-rich soil without overmuch scratching. If it weren't that I am sure there is much in compost and humus-rich soil which the hen eats, and which I am unable to identify with my own eyes, I would almost venture to suggest that compost is in itself a good food for poultry. For the hens most certainly consume large quantities of what looks like pure compost whenever they get the opportunity."
I have definitely seen poultry picking away at nothing I could really see with my eyes many times.
Newman goes on to share an idea he used to supplement his hens protein by starting a compost pile in what he calls the "hen yard."
He basically started a compost heap in the yard where he would be running the hens in the fall and winter. Seeded it with earth worms, and then let it compost until he turned the hens into it in early Autumn when he says it will be "an ideal dinning table for the hens."
I'm planning to do this and see how it works. Give it a try and see what you think. If you already do something like this let me know how it works!
**Update** I found this really cool book on worm farming called "Worm Farming Secrets"
“DISCOVER HOW TO GROW
BIG FAT COMPOSTING WORMS & PRODUCE MORE PREMIUM ORGANIC WORM
COMPOST & WORM TEA FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE...
Until next time....