13 Best Winter Vegetables To Grow: Ultimate Guide

13 Best Winter Vegetables To Grow: Ultimate Guide

What are the best winter vegetables to grow?

 

This year, we purchased a 10 foot by 12 foot greenhouse just so we can grow more vegetables in the colder months here in Southeast Missouri.

Just because the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping, it doesn’t mean that you have to set your gardening gloves aside. Winter isn’t just a time to dream wistfully of the bountiful harvests of summer – it’s also a great time to plan for the year ahead, as well as to jumpstart your garden for next year. 

There are plenty of winter vegetables to grow, particularly if you live in an area that experiences mild winters. Even if you live in an area with more severe weather, there are plenty of ways to keep your garden growing throughout the coldest months of winter. 

The 13 Best Winter Vegetables to Grow 

1. Onions

Onions are easy to plant and you won’t have to do anything all winter. In most areas, onions have a long growing season and won’t be ready for harvest until next summer anyway. Just make sure you plan carefully because they will still be in the ground when it’s time to begin planting crops in the spring. 

2. Garlic

Garlic is an easy vegetable to grow and there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Even if you experience harsh winters, garlic can survive – you will just need to mulch it heavily to protect it from the heavy freeze. Consider growing options like Chesnok Red and Wight Cristo for a variety of culinary applications. You can learn how to grow garlic here and how to store garlic here.

3. Spinach

Spinach is a cold-hardy crop that can grow throughout much of the winter months in many areas. For the best results, choose perpetual spinach varieties, which will yield you multiple cuttings throughout the season. Sow in the early autumn and you’ll have a crop well into early summer. 

4. Peas

You may not be able to grow peas if you get a heavy snowfall, but in most cases, peas are quite cold hardy. Sow rounded variants in the fall for a headstart next spring. You can also learn how to preserve peas here.

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is a perennial and takes several years to establish. It can survive even the roughest winters in colder growing zones, and fall is the best time to plant it. Choose a variety meant to be planted in the fall, like Pacific Purple. Once you get it established, asparagus will produce up to 25 spears per year – for up to 25 years. You will need to be patient, but you will get a serious return on your investment. 

6. Parsley

One of the hardiest herbs you’ll find, parsley can sometimes survive up to zone 5 in the winter. It will yield bushy greens in the spring before going to spring. Curly parsley tends to be more frost-resistant than flat-leaf parsley.

7. Carrots

Carrots can be grown outside well into the winter months in many areas. Plant them directly in beds and mulch heavily. Carrots that are hit with a frost are often sweeter, so it may actually be to your benefit to keep growing them throughout the colder months. 

8. Leeks

Leeks are inexpensive and produce a bountiful harvest. You can harvest them throughout the year and as long as you have a mild winter, you don’t have to worry about them dying. 

9. Turnips

Turnips grow great during the winter months. As long as temperatures remain just above freezing, you should be able to harvest both the roots and the tops during the winter months. 

10. Leafy Greens

Kale, along with other cold-hardy leafy greens such as chard, lettuce, and bok choy, usually do just fine in the cold temperatures of the winter. You can usually harvest them straight through the winter months (and they’re great for chickens). 

In fact, most greens perform better in the winter. In the summer, these plants often go right to seed. Just don’t forget to water and fertilize when growing greens during the winter – even though they won’t need as much water, the drying air of winter can still sometimes be a problem. 

11. Potatoes

Depending on where you live, you might be able to grow potatoes all throughout the winter months. Although it’s not the best winter vegetables to grow, the potato is still a great option if you experience minimal snowfall. Learn more about growing potatoes in containers here and curing potatoes here.

12. Radishes 

Radishes mature quickly, with some varieties ready in just a month from when you have seeded them. They also don’t need a lot of heat – too much heat damages the texture and flavor of delicate radishes – so they’re perfect candidates for winter growing. 

13. Broad Beans

A sturdier variety of green beans, broad beans can often be planted in fall gardens because they are heartier and more rugged than their narrower cousins. These plants can be grown directly in the winter garden in many areas with mild winters, or they can be grown in an unheated greenhouse. 

Tips for Growing Vegetables in the Winter Months 

Use a Hoop House or Greenhouse

Growing winter vegetables outdoors might be possible in areas that don’t experience hard freezes or heavy snowfall, but if you live in a colder climate, that might not be an option. However, if you have a greenhouse or hoop house (a greenhouse covered in plastic instead of glass, you can easily grow some plants throughout the entire season. Here are some plants to consider:

  • Salad mixes (mustard, lettuce, land cress, etc)
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Thyme 
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes

You can even grow many flowers and fruits in your greenhouse, too!

If you have a greenhouse, you can choose to leave it heated or unheated. Some warm-weather plants, like tomatoes, peppers, and squash can even be grown during the winter months, too. As long as you heat the greenhouse and transfer these plants to pots, you may be able to get them well into the next growing season. 

Consider a Cold Frame 

Cold frames are a great way to extend your growing season, even if you live in a colder growing zone like 3 or 4. Essentially miniature greenhouse over your plants, cold frames can be purchased dor built inexpensively from scrap lumber and glass. 

Just be sure to vent your cold frames, as too much heat can become an enemy to plants in the winter even more quickly than too much cold can. Trapping too much hot air inside can not only dry your plants out but it can also conversely lead to fungal issues should too much moisture also get in there. 

Don’t have the time or resources to buy or build your own cold frame? Don’t worry. You can easily construct a DIY version by positioning hay bales on all sides of a planting bed and then covering the area between with old windows. 

Don’t Forget About Dormant Plants

Some plants might not actually grow during the winter months, but they won’t die back, either. They will simply remain dormant until the temperatures rise and growth can resume. Consider planting a winter vegetable garden in the late summer or early fall so that the vegetables have time to get established before they go dormant.

Mulch 

Mulching can help protect your crops from becoming too dry or frozen. It will also keep the soil warmer when temperatures plummet. Consider using mulch materials like straw or dried leaves, which will help nourish the soil as they break down, too. 

Do a Deep Clean

Even if you have a long list of winter vegetables to grow, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your normal fall planting chores. Cut away any dead foliage and make sure you throw out any diseased or damaged plants. This will prevent rot and also stop pest eggs from proliferating. 

Know Which Plants to Bring Inside

Indoor gardening is a great option for many gardeners who can’t keep things going during the winter months, either due to extreme temperatures and precipitation or because they simply don’t want to garden outside during the winter. 

Many plants can be grown inside in containers. Cold-sensitive plants like tomatoes and peppers are great candidates for this, as are many herbs. 

Protect from Frost and Wind

You can’t control when a frost might strike, but you can take steps to protect your plants. Cover frost-sensitive varieties up with blankets, sheets, or row covers that are draped over stakes. This will help get them through brief cold snaps at the very least. You can also consider heating your greenhouse.

Select Ideal Varieties

Try a variety of crops to see what works best for you, keeping your growing zone and gardening preference in mind. You might also want to experiment a bit with timing to see what planting schedule and rhythms work. Put in new crops whenever you see an empty space and save seeds when you find varieties that perform exceptionally well in your area. 

Why You Should Consider the Best Winter Vegetables to Grow

Winter gardening is a great way to keep the garden going all year long. Not only will it help satisfy your green thumb urges during the colder months of the year, but it will also provide you with plenty of healthy vegetables at a time when they are normally scarce on your dinner plate. 

Plus, growing vegetables in the winter is surprisingly easy. They will naturally grow a bit slower, but you’ll have fewer weeds to contend with. You may not even need to water much between mid-November and mid-February! 

You can start with this list of best vegetables to grow in winter. Try lots of crops to see what works best for you – perhaps start with just one this year and add more varieties as you gain experience. Stay warm!

Wheat Berry & Lemon Balm Happy Tummy Treats

Wheat Berry & Lemon Balm Happy Tummy Treats

Taking time with your hens is the highlight of anyone’s day, and treats make it all the more special.

 

My hens come running when they see I have goodies (and sometimes jump ON me), and it’s definitely adorable watching how excited they get.

 

Suet cakes (treats made with a fat to bind the ingredients together) are definitely a favorite around here, and they’re a great treat to make sure your hens are getting enough fat in their diet as well as make sure they gobble down their herbs.

 

This week’s treat for hens is a brand new recipe that includes our old favorites, sunflower seeds and oregano, with an extra twist: lemon balm and wheat berries.

 

Wheat Berry & Lemon Balm backyard chicken Treats

 

Why these ingredients?

I made these suet cakes using coconut oil because of its health benefits for you AND your chickens.

 

If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute tallow (rendered beef fat) or lard (rendered pork fat). You can also use leftover bacon grease (which chickens LOVE).

 

Coconut oil itself is great to help your chickens maintain their weight (has lots of healthy fats) AND it’s known for its antibacterial properties. So if you’re worried about your chickens as they free range and wander around in the dirt, the coconut oil is a great basis for any treats.

 

Oregano is also known for its antibacterial properties (it’s become the darling of the chicken industry because of it), and contributes to overall health for your flock.

 

Lemon balm (aka Melissa) is well known as a natural antibacterial and has anti-inflammatory properties – great for helping your chickens’ tummies.

 

It also has a bright, citrus scent, which will leave you feeling happy as you shred it for your chickens (if you have any left over, make it into a tea for yourself, which you can drink while spending time with your fluffy butts.)

 

So why wheat berries? Well, they’re pretty inexpensive, and chicken love them. Non-GMO and organic wheat berries are a favorite of my chickens, and I know it’ll be for yours as well.

 

Also, the great thing about wheat is you can either use it straight out of the bag in these treats OR you can sprout them for 2 or 3 days into fodder.

 

The act of sprouting makes the wheat berries more nutritious and hens LOVE them, and the sprouts are a great boredom buster.

 

If you’re not sure how to sprout wheat into fodder for chickens, it’s easy.

 

Sunflower seeds, if shelled, aren’t worth trying to sprout, but chickens love them, and they’re full of healthy fats that are great for your hens. I’ve yet to meet a chicken who DOESN’T go crazy for sunflower seeds!

 

In this recipe, I used shelled sunflower seeds, but if you prefer to leave the shells on, that’s fine as well. Be sure to use black oil sunflower seeds.

 

I like to use a mini-cupcake pan for suet cakes because it makes great single-sized servings and they’re not so huge your chickens take a few bites then ignore the rest.

 

The pans are also a great way to make sure each hen gets a treat. If you have a large flock or a bossy alpha hen, some of those down further on the totem pole might not get a chance at the larger treats.

 

Ready to make your hens some healthy treats?

 

Wheat Berry & Lemon Balm Happy Tummy Treats

Ingredients per chicken

¼ cup melted coconut oil

¼ tsp dried lemon balm

⅛ tsp dried oregano

2 tablespoons wheat berries

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

Mini-cupcake pan

 

(If using a regular-sized cupcake pan, double or triple ingredients, and know that each treat is enough for 2 or 3 chickens. You can always cut them down to individual portions.)

 

Directions

Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Melt the coconut oil so it’s completely liquid.

 

As the coconut oil is melting, fill each cup in the cupcake tin with the dry ingredients. You want each tin to be nearly full.

 

When the coconut oil is completely melted, pour over the dry ingredients until the coconut oil reaches the top. Refrigerate until solid.

 

To remove, turn the pan upside down and knock on the bottom a few times until the treats are loosened. Serve to your chickens immediately.

 

Make yourself a cup of tea with any remaining lemon balm and drink while you enjoy watching your chickens gobble up their goodies!

7 Hacks for Healthier Urban Chickens!

7 Hacks for Healthier Urban Chickens!

One of the questions I get asked the most is: “Can I keep urban chickens even though I live in the city?” And my answer is always a huge YES!

 

Raising chickens is a rewarding and meaningful experience and I highly recommend it to everyone! There are, however, some things that you need to keep in mind when you are raising urban chickens in the big city.

 

It’s totally possible, but you will need to make some adjustments for an urban coop in order to keep you chickens happy and healthy.

 

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks for raising urban chickens in small spaces.

 

My top tips for raising urban chickens are:

  1. Make sure you can have chickens in your area
  2. Feed organic herbs for healthier hens
  3. Feed your chickens a balanced diet with calcium and protein
  4. Use calendula
  5. Practice good coop hygiene
  6. Provide environmental enrichment
  7. Predator-proof your coop

 

 

 

Make Sure You Can Keep Chickens In Your Area

Before we get started with the rest of the tips in this article, first and foremost you need to make sure you can keep chickens in your area. Not every town allows them – PLEASE do your homework first!

 

Your town might allow chickens, but have limits on the amount of chickens, how many feet they need to be kept away from other homes, or whether you can keep roosters or not.

 

It’s no good trying to keep chickens if your area doesn’t allow them – you’re doing your chickens a disservice because you might have to re-home them. Not fun for anyone!

 

Now, if you CAN keep chickens and you know all the regulations, then read the rest of the tips in this article to help your flock be healthier and happier!

 

Use Organic Herbs in Feed & Nesting Boxes

For people keeping chickens in smaller spaces, such as urban backyards, my favorite piece of advice is keeping them happy and healthy with organic herbs.

 

Because urban coops tend to be smaller and owners need to protect their flock from predators, such as dogs and cats, urban chickens run the risk of developing negative behaviors such as feather picking because they don’t have as much space to roam.

 

Urban chickens also tend to have more stressful lives than pasture raised chickens, so herbs such as peppermint, oregano, garlic, wormwood, and calendula.

 

(And blends such as the herbs we carry in the Living The Good Life With Backyard Chickens store) provide both a natural health boost and environmental interest because hens can pick at the herbs and explore their treat.

 

 

nesting box herbs

Feed your urban chickens a high-quality, nutritious diet

Especially for urban chickens, it’s important that you make that they have a well balanced diet. They can’t forage for nutrients, and they lead slightly more stressful lives because urban chickens are typically cooped all the time, or face environmental stress such as polluted air, lots of noise, etc.

 

One important nutrient to ensure the health of your chickens is calcium. Making sure your hens have ready access to high quality calcium supplements is important to ensure they lay eggs with strong egg shells.

 

You can offer a calcium supplement in the form of oyster shells or dried, crushed eggshells. To dry your egg shells, simply wash them so the albumen is cleaned off, then allow them to air dry a bit.

 

Next, toast them by placing them in your oven at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. Then crush, and offer separately or mix with your flock’s feed.

 

It’s also important to make sure that your urban chickens are getting enough protein. If you want an out-of-the-box treat, black soldier fly larvae are full of protein, fat, AND 50 times more calcium than treats such as mealworms.

 

And hens LOVE them! I have an in depth article about the benefits of black soldier fly larvae here if you want more information!  If you want black soldier fly larvae for your hens, we carry them in the store right here.

 

Keeping urban chickens is easy and healthy!

Mix Calendula With Your Urban Chicken’s Feed

 

For golden yolks (which is why most people keep chickens – for healthier eggs), adding the herb calendula to your chickens’ diet is a must. (We carry calendula in the store right here.)

 

Calendula contains beta carotenes, which lend their orange color to your hen’s yolks.

 

Practice Good Coop Hygiene

All natural hygiene is a must for urban chickens. They are more susceptible to internal parasites such as worms and external parasites such as mites because they’re not able to move around as much as their country cousins.

 

Using essential oils such as melaleuca and lemon when cleaning their coop will help keep their home clean and hygienic.

 

It’s important to not use household cleaners such as bleach – the fumes can harm your chickens, and when bleach mixes with the ammonia from your flock’s droppings, it can produce mustard gas! Yikes!

 

So, all natural cleaners are a must to keep your flock healthy.

 

Keeping urban chickens is fun!

Provide Environmental Enrichment

Like we talked about earlier, urban chickens have more stressful lives due to different environmental circumstances than their pasture raised counterparts.

 

So in order to avoid negative habits such as feather picking, you need to provide your chickens with some environmental enrichment activities.

 

This could be things like providing herbs for them to pick at or ensuring that there are places for your chickens to perch in your coop.

 

Providing environmental activities for your chickens helps to keep them happy and helps keep them from developing bad habits.

 

Predator Proof Your Coop

I’ve seen way too many urban chicken owners get burned because they didn’t predator proof their coop. They thought there weren’t chicken predators in the city.

 

While you might not have to worry about chicken predators like raccoons or possums in the city, you do need to worry about cats, dogs and any other animals that might be “interested” in your chickens. Always make sure that your coop is predator proof so you can keep your chickens safe.

 

Dogs can be another problem for those raising chickens in the city. If you have a pet dog they can be just a little bit too interested in your chickens and that can cause huge problems.

 

My number one tip is to keep your chickens and dogs separate. Even the best behaved dogs might get curious and ANY dog has the potential to seriously injure your chickens (even little dogs), so I recommend that you just keep them apart if you think there’s a chance your dog might play too rough with your chickens.

 

Make Sure Neighbors Are On Board

Many of the readers I get messages from are concerned about their neighbors getting upset because they have chickens. Honestly, as long as you don’t have a rooster, it very unlikely that anyone will know you have chickens at all!

 

In fact, I know someone who was raising chickens in the middle of a neighborhood for years and his neighbors didn’t even realize they were there! Hens can be very quiet!

 

I keep my coop super clean so it doesn’t smell as bad, and hens aren’t typically noisy. In fact, I think dogs are 10 times more annoying for neighbors than chickens could ever be!

 

Most chickens are docile, quiet, and pretty well-behaved from my experience. And trust me the second your neighbors try some of your chickens’ delicious eggs they won’t complain. In fact, they’ll probably want to get chickens of their own!

 

I always recommend that you check your cities’ ordinances and policies about chickens to be sure you know the rules about raising chickens in your area. Some cities might limit the number of chickens you can own based on how big your backyard is. Check it out to be sure!

 

Do you have experience with raising urban chickens? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!




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5 Herbs Every Chicken Mama Needs This Winter

5 Herbs Every Chicken Mama Needs This Winter

While there are a lot of herbs that are great for your backyard chickens, there are a few that are very important during the fall and winter months.

 

Their tiny bodies have to work hard to stay warm and healthy during the winter, and while a good layer feed is ALWAYS the basis of any healthy diet, you don’t need to stop there.

 

There’s herbs you can provide your chickens that’ll support healthy immune system functions – which is especially important when the mercury dips!

 

Here’s the top 5 herbs you should keep handy!

 

Oregano

Oregano is one of my favorite herbs for backyard chickens. It supports healthy immune systems, and hens love to GOBBLE down the little green flecks.

 

You can offer fresh or dried oregano – both are great – and you’ll want to use the leaves of the oregano plant. Mix with their feed, offer separately, OR make a “tea” by immersing them in water.

 

Whenever we have a chicken or duck that needs some extra TLC, I turn first to oregano!

 

You can find oregano for your chickens here: Oregano for Backyard Chickens

Echinacea

Without a doubt, you’ve heard of echinacea!

 

Echinacea has been used traditionally to support healthy immune system functions for centuries, and it’s a great herb for your chickens, too!

 

You can use the leaves or the roots of the echinacea plant – while the roots are more powerful, they’re also more expensive. Chickens love picking at the leaves!

 

It’s easiest to mix echinacea with their feed or use it as a top dress. If your chickens aren’t sure what to do, add an extra treat such as mealworms or dried river shrimp to the mix – your flock will quickly figure it out!

 

To make it easier for chicken owners to get echinacea, we’ve included it in my herbal blend StrongHen (TM). Wherever you buy echinacea, be sure it’s 100% pure!

 

 

Calendula

Calendula is not only good for giving your eggs the perfect golden yolk, but it’s also great to offer your hens during the winter months. In fact, it’s a bit of a “superherb” that’s used in traditional herbalism for many things: to support skin, immune system functions, healthy digestion, and more!

 

As a bonus, it smells DIVINE.

 

The beta carotenes that gives these flowers their pretty yellow petals are also super healthy nutrients for your hens. Calendula has some antimicrobial properties, and is packed with many other vitamins that will help your flock be healthier during the cold winter months.

 

Plus your hens will love picking at these pretty yellow flowers, so it’s a great winter boredom buster.

 

You’ll want to use the dried flowers and/or petals. You can add to feed, create a tea (it makes a pretty sweet tea), or add to nesting boxes.

 

Find calendula here: Calendula for Backyard Chickens

 

herbs for backyard chickens

Elder

Elder is packed full of immune support power for your chickens.

 

Elderberry has been used as a traditional herbal remedy for centuries and researchers are discovering that it’s a powerful herb for keeping chickens healthy!

 

In a 2014 study, researchers found that elderberry helped prevent Infections Bronchitis Virus in chickens (source).

 

For humans, elderberries and elder flower are used to support healthy immune functions. With chickens, you can use the berries and the flowers – hens love both!

 

While humans can use elder in a tincture, you’ll want to stick with dried or fresh berries and/or dried flowers. Particularly if you offer dried berries, add it to their feed – your hens will love to pick at their tiny dark treats!

 

In our herbal blend StrongHen (TM), you’ll find elderberries (along with most of the other herbs I mention in this list). It’s an easy and economical way to get all these herbs in one product.

 

Garlic

Not only is garlic perfect for adding flavor to your meals, but it’s also great for supporting the immune system of your backyard chickens!

 

Garlic has been traditionally used for generations to support healthy immune functions, and it’s no different for chickens! The allicin in garlic gives the herb it’s characteristic smell AND it’s where the power of the herb originates.

 

It’s easiest to offer garlic steeped in your flock’s water. You can use fresh or dried garlic – both are great!

 

You can find garlic for your flock here: Garlic

PCM StrongHen (TM)

My StrongHen herbal mix combines the powers of oregano, echinacea, garlic, elder, calendula, and other great herbs to keep your chicken’s immune system strong. This mix is perfect for fall and winter because it gives your chickens the immune boost they need to stay healthy!

You can find PCM StrongHen here: StrongHen

Have more questions about keeping your flock healthy in the winter? Check out these articles:
These 10 Frugal Feeds & Chicken Water Feeder Hacks Are So Easy!

These 10 Frugal Feeds & Chicken Water Feeder Hacks Are So Easy!

Raising chickens can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want to make it. These 10 frugal feeds and chicken water feeder hacks are easy – and we’ve used them on our farm to help our flock (and our wallets) be healthier!

 

When it comes to raising chickens, I definitely think cutting corners is a bad idea – it puts your flock’s health at risk and might harm them in the end.

 

But that DOESN’T mean you have to spend a million bucks on your hens. So, in this article, I’m going to show you 10 inexpensive hacks that will help your chickens be healthier AND that chickens love!

 

(Need a chicken feeder? Here’s the brands we recommend)

 

Raise your own mealworms and black soldier fly larvae as frugal feeds

Raising mealworms is easy. Mealworms are the larvae of the darkling beetle – and raising them doesn’t take much space or investment.

 

In this article about raising mealworms for chickens, I show you step-by-step how to raise them in a dark, quiet corner of your farm. And chickens (especially my silkies and brahmas) love them!

 

Raising black soldier fly larvae is another option. Black soldier fly larvae are extremely healthy for chickens – with lots of protein and calcium, they’ll help your flock lay better eggs, grow beautiful feathers, and more!

 

Here’s my best article about black soldier fly larvae for chickens if you want more information.

 

Raise Mealworms for Your Chickens is easy with this guide!

 

Grow a garden with herbs and greens in spring

We all know fresh is better – and nothing is better than fresh food for your hens! One way we save some money on chicken feed and provide the flock with some healthy snacks is by devoting a corner of our garden to growing herbs and greens such as lettuce, kale, spinach and more for our flock.

 

Herbs are wonderful – they have way too many uses in the coop for me to list here. Everything from helping your hens lay better to being healthier!

 

Here’s some ideas about how to grow your own frugal feeds with herbs and greens:

How to get started with herbs for hens

10 herbs for backyard chickens

How to grow greens for your chickens

 

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks

Build your own automatic chicken feeder in 15 minutes and under $12

This is truly one of those genius ideas that takes just minutes but can be a lifesaver for your flock, especially on those super hot days!

 

Water is critical for your flock to stay healthy – chickens have a higher body temperature than humans, and feel the heat more than we do. Every day, you should double check (and during the summer, check several times a day) that your flock has free access to water.

 

This water is also easy to clean – just be sure to use a food-safe plastic bucket. If you have extra buckets hanging around, then you can easily use this hack!

 

My full plans to build an automatic waterer for under $12 are right here.

 

If you don’t want to make one, you can check out our review of the 7 best feeders on Amazon here.

 

Stop waste by building a frugal PVC feeder

PVC feeders are pretty popular – you can just drill some chicken-sized holes in a PVC pipe to stop your flock from throwing their feed everywhere.

 

This also will help keep mice and other critters out of the coop, since they won’t be attracted by the grain everywhere.

 

You can use these plans – and it should only cost you a few bucks.

Grow frugal feeds by sprouting fodder for chickens

Sprouting fodder is really easy – and I suggest only using seeds such as wheat and barley. If you don’t know what it is, fodder is simply seeds that have been sprouted into grass.

 

Seeds such as sunflower seeds, etc are great for sprouting – but fodder takes it to the next level by producing an actual grass.

 

Chickens LOVE it – they get the benefit of the nutrients from both the seeds and the grass. Your wallet will love it too, because while you’ll have to pay for the seeds, you’ll be maximizing your investment by quadrupling the nutritional benefit of the seeds!

 

You can read my growing fodder for chickens tutorial here.

 

Keep your chicken water feeder clean with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is wonderful for your chickens! If you’ve never made it, you can download my “How to make apple cider vinegar” video here.

 

It can help keep your waterer clean because it introduces beneficial bacteria – and it’s great for your flock’s digestive system!

 

In the winter, you can add it to their water daily (and if you have chicks, you can add it to their water too!). In the summer, if you’re concerned about the vinegar dehydrating your chickens, you can limit it to once or twice a week.

 

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks

Buy grain in bulk

One of my favorite frugal feeds hacks is to buy grain for your chickens in bulk – we’ve been able to save SO MUCh doing this, and we can get all non-GMO feeds this way.

 

The best way to do this is to contact grain manufacturers in your area.

 

Scramble eggs with fresh herbs as healthy & frugal feeds

If money is REALLY short one week, you can always scramble your flock’s eggs for them to eat. It’s not weird and it’s not cannibalism – eggs are full of protein, and chickens love them!

 

The shells also contain calcium, which will help your flock lay great eggs with strong eggshells.

 

Mix them with herbs from your garden to make them even healthier (try oregano), and (I promise) your flock will go BANANAS for them!!

 

Just be sure to add the fresh herbs AFTER the eggs have been cooked to preserve the essential oils in them!

 

Make your own frugal feeds with this recipe

Yes, you CAN make your own chicken feed! And in this organic chicken feed recipe, I show you just how to do it!

 

You will have to buy all the individual ingredients, so it’s a bit of a process, but especially if you can find a bulk supplier, you can save quite a bit!

 

If you don’t have time to make your own feed, then you can always try to buy non-GMO feed in bulk from a grain manufacturer (see above).

 

Add garlic to your chicken’s water feeder to boost their immune systems

If one of your goals is to save money when raising chickens, then making sure they stay healthy is important. Everytime you bring them to the vet, your care bill increases!

 

One thing you can do yourself is try to boost your flock’s immune system, and garlic is a great way to do it!

 

You can use garlic granules (which we sell in the store here) or simply chop fresh garlic and add it to their water. The essential oils – allicin – in garlic has been shown in studies to improve immune systems.

 

Plus, chickens love them!

 

You can start by adding garlic to your chicken’s water feeder once a week and make sure they’re drinking it. Go with 1 clove per gallon of water.