I’ve heard people mention in the past that you can go to grocery stores and restaurants and get old material that they’re not using from their salads and so forth, their produce isle, and use that in your compost pile or feed your animals, whatever the situation may be. One thing I had never considered is something that I found at the co-op.
I went to the farm co-op today and was picking up some feed for our rabbits and some cotton seed meal for our garden and noticed they were using these huge shelling machines for some purple hull peas that somebody had brought in, and there were these huge piles of pea hulls. I asked them, “What are you going to do with those hulls?” and he said, “Well, some people take them, some we just throw away.” And so I asked him what was going to be done with those, and he said, “If you want a bag you can have one.”
Well, I noticed they had these small little bags that they were putting the peas into, and I thought well, you know, anything’s better than nothing, and if he wanted to give that to me I’d be happy to take it, so I said, “Sure”. He turned around and went into the warehouse and brought back a large black sack and filled it with pea hulls.
I was a little taken away that he was willing to give all that to me, but I suppose one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
So if you are familiar with purple hull cow peas, the hull has this purple hue to it. When you cook it, it turns green. It’s actually kind of fun. Otherwise it tastes like any other string bean in my opinion.
Despite the best efforts of the shelling machine, this still has a number of peas in it, so I’m sure the chickens are going to enjoy that.
It’s always kind of fun whenever we bring something new to the chickens, to see what exactly will interest them and how long it takes for them to figure it out. We brought back a watermelon that had a hole in the side of it. It didn’t develop well in one spot and the rind rotted through and it took them a little while to figure out how to get through it, but once they did it was a party around the water melon. They were just going to town at it.
As they figured out that these still have cow peas in them they start digging for them. It’s kind of funny, I’m watching them, they’ll find a cow pea and move on to the next pile, trying to find it before somebody else does. It’s about 3:00 in the afternoon now, but by morning we expect most of, if not all, the pea shells will have been consumed as well.
Any other feed ideas?
So, let’s hear about it. What other interesting ways do you have to save money when it comes to feed for your poultry?
Of course, one day we would love to have these guys a lot more free range, or at least like a pseudo free range. We want to have them out on a chicken tractor in the pasture with electric net fencing that we can move them around the area.
Until then, we have to supplement their feed, and bring them a lot of things out of the garden. I bring them cuttings from the comfrey, and now this new find.
I asked the guy at the co-op how often they run this machine, and he just looked at me and smiled and said, “all day.” So I said, “There’s no particular time that’s better than another?” and he said, “Nope.” So, I’m just going to go over there, maybe once a week. I’m not interested in trying to get to the co-op every day, and ask them if they’ve run the machine, if they’ve got any hulls they’re looking to get rid of.
So let me know what you do in the comments below and share so that people can get ideas and maybe they can find a way to repurpose, because stuff like this should not be getting to the dump. We can use it to feed our livestock.