Best chicken feed is allowing them to range freely for your organic eggs.
Research done at Penn State university found that the eggs of chickens raised on grass pastures, clover and alfalfa all had about three times the omega 3 compared to those in cages on a typical corn diet.
Corn in flower is in itself a miracle to behold.
Of interest to chiropractors like Dr Bernard Preston, that means less inflammation in the body; fewer painful joints and muscles.
To the heart surgeon it means less angry, red blood vessels; and to the rheumatologist fewer auto immune disease patients.
Prevention is the name of the game; before you get nasty diseases like type I diabetes or lupus.
The incidence of painful joints and muscles, heart conditions and especially awful, once rare, auto immune diseases continue to soar despite medical and chiropractic interventions.
Vegetable protein rich alfalfa was healthiest for the birds with 25 percent more omega 3 than those on grasses alone, but the latter still far exceeded the corn fed caged hens.
In addition, those free range chickens had twice as much vitamin E, and 40 percent more vitamin A; hence the brightly coloured yolks.
I like to toss our maize on the cob to our hens; that's definitely not the same as the food that corn fed caged birds get.
How to grow corn is an important subject if you're interested in best chicken feed. Every summer at least half the veggie garden is taken up by mealies, as we call them in South Africa. Right now it's midsummer and they are in full flower. We have at least 600 plants; notice how many have two and even three cobs forming; enough for us and the birds.
What on earth has best chicken feed to to do with depression and anxiety you may well ask.
Plenty say the researchers. Dr Karen Swartz, director of the mood disorders clinic at Johns Hopkins university states that low levels of omega-3 has been associated with depression and anxiety. Eating more fatty fish and free range eggs is part of the solution; freshly ground flax seeds too.
Best chicken feed for brightly coloured yolks should ideally include legumes likes alfalfa and clover; if they spy your green beans you can be sure they won't hesitate to sample them. Rich sources of the vitamin choline like these are important for the best eggs.
Of concern for the gardener, your free range chickens just love the green beans in your veggie patch. Again, it's the vegetable protein that they are enjoying, and of course are passing the benefits of that on to you via their eggs.
The simple solution is to grow pole beans in the garden; they are less likely to hack them.
Eggs are the fourth highest protein source in most Western countries and so naturally, ensuring that the omega 6 to 3 ratio is low is vitally important to reduce inflammation in your body. Moving to healthy choice foods means less pain and fewer doctors' bills.
If you watch your hens in the typical vegetable garden, you'll soon notice that as far as they are concerned the best chicken feed is to be found in the mulch under your plants. They just love the grubs, worms and snails that are lurking there, scratching vigorously and pecking at tiny often unseen bugs; their eyesight is a good deal keener than ours, thanks in part to the lutein and zeaxanthin they have much better access to than we do.
Corn to supplement their scratchings for their food is also a good thing naturally. Those who know how to grow maize will add the odd cob, or better still slice the pips off as they tend to trample the whole ear in the mud.
So, in summary, your best chicken feed for golden orange yolked eggs should include a starch such as corn, or wheat, a vegetable protein such as alfalfa, plenty of grass and the insects found in every garden.
Many of these bugs damage your vegetables, so keeping your own hens is an excellent way to harmonise with nature, allowing you to avoid the use of toxic organic sprays; with the best will in the world, those poisons will find their way into your body.
The organic gardener uses zero of these organophosphates that are so toxic to the bees, and also to us.
The other great benefit, of course, is that your chickens will fertilise your garden with their droppings.
The chicken tractor gives you more control over your birds, allowing you to make sure they don't attack your precious salad vegetables, and that they clean up after a crop.
I like to run the chicken tractor along the bean fence where devastating Mexican bean beetle larvae are lurking once the crop is over, waiting to attack your legumes again next spring; it's been extremely successful and have had a normal bean crop again.
There are many chicken tractor designs, but this one has been particular satisfactory for me and is very easy to make; the first was rather heavy to move; the later model has much lighter steel. The question to focus on is whether you want your hens to live permanently in the tractor; we did that first, and believe it was a mistake.
The tractor enables you to maximise on the best chicken feed whilst minimising the damage the birds might cause to your garden. Actually we have been very pleasantly surprised just how little havoc they have caused. They trample on a few seedlings, take a peck here and there but on the whole prefer the weeds to your veggies; that's not entirely true; right now our kale is under the beak.
We have a clover patch growing in the garden where the chooks like to harvest extra vegetable protein. So too the purslane plant, rich in omega-3 that the hens love.
A chicken tractor is a fine instrument but in our experience not a substitute for simple chicken coops; you need one of them too to keep marauders and the elements out.
This is what your land looks like once the tractor has been hauled over it. The roughage has been raked up and will taken to the compost heap; it's rich in chicken manure and perfect for making humus.
There was corn here prior to moving the chicken tractor in; now we'll plant peas.
Of course it's not only we who love corn and peas; we'll be sharing them with the hens, in exchange for their beautiful omega-3 rich eggs. That means less inflammation in the body, and few painful joints and muscles.
The wonder of worm farms is a topic that harmonises with best chicken feed; the hens just love a gourmet meal when you clean out the tank. Their eyes can pick out tiny grubs that we have missed; and cutworms too. This is natural pest management at its best.
If you plan to keep your hens in the chicken tractor then my advice is never to let them out; once you see the birds foraging in the garden, you're less likely to cage them again, at least on a permanent basis.
We do keep them in the chicken tractor periodically when there are vulnerable seedlings in the garden.
The plus is that they won't scratch out your seedlings; the downside is that you will have to feed them more and they won't enjoy the rich variety of food in your garden.
We have come to a compromise; the area is now split by a fence with a gate. The one side is actively gardened, and the other belongs to the hens. Once the seedlings are established, we'll swap.
In general, with the exception of green beans, kale and spinach, the chooks don't seem to attack your veggies; but they will scratch out the seedlings in search of worms in the compost you've planted them in. Well, that's what I thought initially. Once winter sets in and there are fewer vegetables available, they'll eat anything, including your broccoli and lettuce.
Today I opened a compost heap; just look at them tucking in.
Like us, chickens need greens too. I'm not expert in best chicken feed but what strikes me is how they absolutely love little creepy crawlies like snails, worms, grasshopper and flying ants; but they love their greens too.
You can keep them caged in as the chicken industry does, and your tractor too, but if you let your hens out they seem to know that broccoli is queen of the greens.
Actually these are cauliflower and broccoli, I'm not sure which is which. Clearly the caged hen, is a deprived chicken. It's little wonder that our truly free range eggs are so wonderful. They are just one more reason why we can enjoy a life without medication.
However, we've had to split our veggie garden in two; one half for the hens, and the other for us. Once the corn is established, then we swap halves. We're still on a learning curve; they are welcome to share our greens, but not to have it all! The caged bird has zero access to fresh greens.
We've taken this a step further; a third and fourth chicken run, the largest of which is a thousand square feet.
One of the beauties of the green life is the learning of new skills; it's meant learning how to put up a proper vegetable garden fence. For that I needed to purchase a puller to get the wires properly tight; you could do it too.
It's amazing that you can put up fifty metres of fence, and the poles and gate for less than a hundred dollars; well, I did have to learn to weld too along the way! That also doesn't need a diploma in higher mathematics. The chickens love to lie in this corner in the winter sun; it's the best life and the eggs are amazing.
Hens need yellows too; it's interesting their very choicest foods are legumes, kale and yellows like papaya, butternut and carrots; the latter have to be cooked.
Best chicken food is a highly scientific business in large scale farming, but like humans given access to widely divergent coloured foods they will get what they need for optimum nutrition.
The chicken industry cheats by adding yellow colouring to the feed of their hens to fool us. But it is important, both for their eyesight and ours; the macula of the eye is where colours and fine discrimination are detected; it's where two vitally important phytochemicals called lutein and zeaxanthin are found in very high concentration.
If you've ever walked with a hen in the garden, you soon realise they can see tiny creatures that are beyond our eyes.
The macula of the eye is where a very rich supply of a carotene called lutein is found; it absorbes the damaging high frequency light entering the eye, giving the macula its yellow colour.
A deficiency of lutein means almost certain macular degeneration and cataracts; the best source by far is kale, but also greens like broccoli, spinach and the yellows like butternut; and egg yolks.
There are five million blind Americans from a dietary lutein deficiency. Enjoying eggs from hens that can range freely is vital for our eyes; interestingly it's the kale and broccoli in our garden, cooked butternut and squash, and the legumes, that the chickens love most; I mustn't forget the cockerel.
Read more about how you can avoid lutein macular degeneration, and cataracts too.
Wheat for your hens will give their best chicken feed a leg up; unlike corn, it's an excellent source of choline and betaine and I'm sure you know that eggs are the best.
Hens deficient in good choline food sources are of course also not going to produce the best eggs. The growing chick, and the baby human foetus, are utterly dependent on this very important vitamin for normal neural tube and brain development.
There is some choline in the alfalfa which is usually added to the feed, but free range hens have access to all the other greens; read more about choline food sources.
Little doubt they approve, eh!
Hens need choline and betaine just as humans do; choline is converted to betaine, so the latter is not considered a true vitamin. It's essential however as an enzyme involved in the methylation of toxic homocysteine.
Healthy hens and humans need ample choline, or betaine in the best diet.
Hens are luckier actually; nutritionists make certain they are getting ample in their diet, whereas the average Western human get less than fifty percent of the required daily requirement. It's one of the many reasons why chickens are healthier than humans, and they have few birth defects.
I doubt any poultry farmers are reading this to improve their hens' diets, but if you're interested these questions regarding choline in poultry diets are well answered.
Chickens in the garden; let's get started.
Bernard Preston is a semi retired chiropractor with a passion for healthy living. Yes, it takes time and energy to grow your own vegetables and fruit, keep your own bees and be thinking about subjects like best chicken feed.
The benefits are enormous; getting back to nature is soothing to the spirit and very soon you'll be able to dump those anti inflammatory drugs; there's a strong inverse correlation between exercise and cholesterol, so the statins will with luck go too. It's well over a year since either she who must be obeyed or I took drugs of any sort; not even an aspirin; a life with medication is a realistic possibility for those who focus on backyard permaculture.
It's interesting that eggs are once more being allowed in the heart friendly diet.
Every person who has live stock must consider predators; ours turned out to be a beautiful and rare raptor. A juvenile checked in for breakfast this week. We're sad about the loss of Snowy; but she made best crowned eagle feed; she was so visible on the landscape and a tempting feast.
That's all that is left of Snowy; now the hens are confined to quarters in the winter unless we are working in the garden. Her remains went to the worm farm; they I'm sure rejoiced too.
Actually we've only lost hens to eagles in the winter months; this summer we've had no trouble.
A hen is in effect processed best chicken feed; we approved of her eggs. She herself made best crowned eagle feed.
Having to feed them more vegetables Helen and I pay weekly visits to the green grocer; we bring home a mountain of best chicken feed for the hens; but quite a lot of it goes straight to the worm farms.
The hens particularly like over ripe fruit like tomatoes and melons.
A large part of the permaculture philosophy is activities like operation end waste; a quarter of the food grown is never actually eaten; much of it is tossed by the supermarkets, but is quite suitable for the hens and worms. In fact, Second Harvest reckons much of it is fine for us too.
Free range eggs are of course what best chicken feed is all about.
I find it interesting that various sites state that you can expect about four eggs a week, yet we get a full house most days. That's because of worm farms, and plenty of greens and yellows, and corn on the cob.
I'm sure a low stress existence and a fulfilled sex life has something to do with it too!
"She also decided she had better start a 'basse-cour' - keep some fowls and good masterful cock to keep them in order."
- For Love of a Rose
If you haven't read it, get a copy; by Antonia Ridge. It's a simply wonderful read; cheap on Amazon.
Healthy choice foods must include eggs and, if you're going to keep your own hens, then best chicken food comes to the fore.
Eggs, and particular those that are pasture fed are the best source of the vitamin choline; a deficiency has a devastating effect on our health, and the average American diet contains only 50% of our needs. It is part of the most important pathway to methylate homocysteine, a toxic protein breakdown product.
We make time and effort to obtain and consume healthy choice foods, or we will spend far more time and money consulting doctors every week; and dying long before our time.