I wrote before about feeding the chickens, and whilst I know it’s entirely possible to feed your chickens entirely from scraps and leftovers and cooked-up mashes it was already clear that the best way forward for us is definitely a decent all-in-one pellet feed available at all times for the girls. This we can then top up as and when leftover scraps are available with ‘afternoon tea’, without worrying about whether they’re getting enough good stuff to keep them thriving.
But back in November we started looking at the economics of chicken-keeping. And we wondered if the 10kg-for-£9 organic feed from Omlet was the best deal. It didn’t last them a month, and almost counteracts the cost of simply buying the eggs…
So we looked around, and bought in a couple of sacks of all-in-one feed/grit that were almost half the price. It looked pretty similar, and the chickens nibbled away as soon as it was in their bowl, so all was fine.
But over the next few days, things started to change in Chicken Corner. Their contented chuckings turned to irritated squawking as soon as one if us stepped outside the back door. There was a LOT of pacing up and down the run – not casual scratching and pecking at the ground, but serious, concentrated pacing.
And then the eggs tailed off – our regular four-a-day supply dwindled to two. And often that was one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.
And then we had a shell-less egg (yes, that’s really a thing).
In short, the chickens were discontented.
And discontented chickens let you damn well know their lot is not a happy one.
It was annoying, their bloody screeching going on all the time.
But then I realised I hadn’t actually topped up their food bowl for around five days… but when I checked, it was still more than half full.
So why then when C appeared with their afternoon tea did they go properly crazy? Like they were starving?
We ordered a sack of Omlet’s finest that day, and the following morning we emptied their bowl (still full of the clearly inedible cheap nutrition-less crap), and replaced it with a feeder rammed full of the best organic pellets.
Yo ho ho – four contented fluffy bottoms lined up in a row as they all managed to squeeze inside at once.
The next day was a Four Egg Day.
Lesson learned, ladies. Lesson learned.
The Chicken Run column is in conjunction with Omlet, fine purveyors of All Things Chicken. We have the Eglu Go UP coop which houses up to four birds, plus we have the 1m run extension to give them a little extra room.