By Bernard Preston


Best chick food

Best chick food should not be expensive, nor need it be a time consuming chore.

Best chick food should have plenty of complex carbohydrate, like sprouted corn and wholemeal bread, and a protein like an egg and the chickpeas in the bread.

There's no doubt whatsoever in my mind that chickens prefer a wheat based product to corn. I'm not a scientist, but that's my observation; given the choice they will choose bread over mealies, as we call them in South Africa. The vitally important nutrient betaine may be the reason.

The problem is getting wholesome full grain bread; that may be arduous for you but not for us as we bake it daily. I prefer not to eat the supermarket loaf; mostly it's tasteless and highly refined and not fit for human or chick consumption. I recommend you do the same and you'll find plenty on this site about using kefir and other ingredients to make a sourdough artisan loaf; it takes only five minutes every day.

To the bread we add a chopped up hard boiled egg for our chicks; they absolutely love it.

The sprouted corn you can see in the graphic above is for the hen and not for her chicks. That's another topic all on its own.

To that homemade loaf, we add extra vegetable protein; the easiest for us is a couple of scoops of hummus, made from chickpeas, since I make it several times a week anyway; the excess goes into our low GI bread.

So your chicks will have a ready carbohydrate source in the wholegrain bread, and two kinds of protein, one vegetable and the another animal.

Into the bread dough we add either butter or coconut oil, so they are getting essential fatty acids too.

Added to which of course the hen starts teaching her chicks to scratch when they are less than a week old; already they are supplementing the diet we supply with microscopic creatures far too small for our eyes. If your birds are confined then you may need to supplement this with a ration from seed merchant.

Since our hens are free range, within a few weeks they will be scratching amongst the cabbages and broccoli for yet more insects and grubs, adding their manure to the soil, and enriching the plants.

We don't let them near small seedlings; the mother will scratch them out in search of more grubs and worms.

Best chick food

Best chick food can be made from nourishing whole grain bread and a boiled egg and access to the garden.

These chicks are already being taught by their mother to scratch for worms to supplement our best chick food.

Over and above that, our hens get a shovelful of worms several times a week and sprouted corn for chickens daily; it came as a quite a surprise to me that best chick food might include these creepy crawlies; even quite small babies will down one of the fetida.

Notice here the synergy of green living; we make hummus and bake our own bread, because we are passionate about healthy, tasty food; it also makes best chick food. The wonder of worm farms is that they enrich the earth; getting your garden soil ready for the spring vegetables is so important. Simultaneously both those greens and the creepy crawlies are providing better nutrition for the flock.

Increasingly scientists are pointing to our depleted soils as the cause of many of our chronic diseases. Hens and worms and the compost all contribute to healthy plants for us to eat, replete with the necessary minerals and phytochemicals that both we and best chick food need.

The full cycle means growing those chicks into healthy hens that will produce delicious eggs that are so different in both taste and appearance, not to mention nutrition, as compared to those from cages.

And the young cockerels, if you have the heart, make the most delicious, tender organic chickens you will find anywhere. That's another subject we'll leave for now.

Perhaps you know that nearly one third of food grown for human consumption is never actually eaten; it's a sin. In the backyard permaculture home and garden all is devoured; nothing goes to waste from the potato peels to the last apple core. Since we are at the top of the food chain, the whole family benefits from chickens in the garden, as does the environment. 

» » Best chick food


The next question of some importance is how many eggs?

I've worked on one egg per day for five or six chicks; it's a randomly chosen figure, and it's worked for us. Our little guys have flourished and produced beautiful, healthy adults.

They grow incredibly fast on our best chick food; here they are at three months old.

These are truly free range chickens. They are now three months old; best chick food and done them proud, with none of the expensive fast food from the feed companies. 

Sprouting

Sprouting increases the nutrients from a seed, be it a grain like corn or a legume like a chickpea. Plus, perhaps because they've been softened, the chicks love them.

Whether the concerns about anti-nutrients affects fowls is relevant, I doubt anyone would know for sure; perhaps so. Personally, I am not bothered after soaking, rinsing and sprouting, neither for ourselves nor our best chick food.

Sprouting corn for hens is part of our best chick food too; they can swallow the softened kernels within a few weeks.

They too need plenty of protein; chickpeas are relatively expensive to use for chicks, and we are looking at other possibilities. This spring I am going to see how they take to green broad beans straight from the garden; should they be cooked or raw? If any of you have comments, I'd appreciate your thoughts to contact.

These sprouted chick peas are a great favourite of best chick food.

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you ever need."

- Marcus Cicero, Roman politician, lawyer and orator


Louis de Bernieres is my favourite author. Every writer must read too. The latest is Nothwithstanding, a series of gentle short stories set in a village in Surrey.

Some of his books though are so violent that I find it hard to recommend them; religious intolerance, war and forced relocation of whole communities are his favourite topics.

There's nothing glorious about war; it's all about dying in a savage manner, and de Bernieres wants to remind us what it's all about, often in graphic detail.

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Bread machine loaf by Bernard Preston

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Bees workforce in Bernard Preston's garden

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Chickens for free range eggs.

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