I thought chickens ate worms and slugs and stuff, if you free range or chicken tractor them. In the cold months I thought you could feed them waste meat and what about parts of cows milk you don't use. Will they consume that? Also, how about egg yolks. I eat a lot of eggs, but I throw all the yolks away or I used to compost them. Also, I thought chickens would pick worms/whatever right out of larger animal's manure (sheep, dogs, cows) and sort of help break that down some.
I get grains for about a dollar a pound. Beans are about the same price. Wouldn't a mix of those be good enough?
Yes, they do a good job of controlling various insects and other "pests" on the land. You can give them meat scraps, but almost always give those to the dogs (which are a lot like hogs in some ways).
I'm glad that you mentioned surplus milk because I think that would be a good calcium supplement.
As for egg yolks, yeah, that's what they eat when they are in their egg - the yolk. I feed surplus eggs back to my birds when I have too many.
And if you have manure or compost piles here and there you should let the birds scratch through them because there are worms and insect larvae (mostly black soldier fly larvae) in there they can eat. One of our roosters who's half blind lived out on his own for about a year because we couldn't catch him... yep, lol. He ate mainly black soldier fly larvae from a nearby compost pile I made and a particular type of grass growing here. What else I couldn't say, but that's what I saw him eating when I could get close enough.
Your paying A DOLLAR A POUND FOR GRAINS? :faint:
I tell you what... if everyone paid a $1 per pound for plain grain, one of two things would happen around here...
1. Everyone would butcher their animals
2. The feed store would be sacked and burned to the ground
I strongly suggest getting your grains at another place man! Your paying WAY too much!