Extra carbs for your chickens in the winter

Supplemental winter chicken feedLast year, I wrote about preparing chickens for the winter,
but I didn’t entirely take my own advice.  I had read that it’s
handy to give your chickens free-choice whole grain for the winter
months (in addition to their regular ration) so they can use those empty
calories to produce heat and counteract winter’s chill.  But
actually making that happen seemed hard, so I skipped it.

This year, I had over half a bag of buckwheat left over from cover crop experiments,
so I filled a spare hanging feeder with the grain.  At first, I
thought our hens weren’t interested, but as the days got colder, they
started supplementing their feed with the buckwheat, and soon the feeder
was empty.  I guess they liked the idea after all.

As a side note, we’re hanging our new experimental heated bucket waterer
in the back corner by the grain feeder.  It does seem to be handy
to have feeders and waterers that hang so they stay out of the way and
are easy to fill.

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