Because they are so prolific this season, I’ve been researching using acorns as chicken feed supplement and have discovered some amazing facts:
- Acorn nutmeats are very high in fat
- Acorns have 1700 calories per pound
- Chickens love them
So, I’ve been collecting our White Oak acorns by the masses and putting them aside to crush and feed to the chickens this winter. I don’t intend to make crushed acorns their entire meal but rather will supplement their corn and grains with them as a treat and winter calorie boost.
A sampling of our nutritious native acorns
I started by researching and as a result of what I have read, I set them out on pans to dry for a couple of weeks. I picked carefully through them to make sure there were no worms involved and will store them in plastic buckets with a secure lid. I want ot be very careful that the mice and other critters do not find their way into my stash. I had saved a few Epsom Salt buckets not knowing at that time how I would be using them. But now I know!
An early spring view before the White Oak trees have leafed out. Our White Oaks play a huge role in our life here
Acorns are apparently high in calories and that is just what my chicken’s need in Michigan’s cold winter months.
The kind of acorns I am collecting this year are falling hard onto our pole barn metal roof which is apparently knocking the little caps off of them. So when I pluck them out of the grass I am picking just the acorn with its shell. This makes my preparation job a bit simpler.
The carved wooden sign I had made for the side of Gene’s White Oak Blacksmith Forge
When it comes time to feed them to the girls, I’ll use an old hammer and crush them down to the nutmeats, and toss them into the coop or onto the ground. Over the course of the year I also hope to supplement their commercial feed with sunflowers, gleaned corn, kitchen scraps, dried and crushed egg shells, our crabapples and homegrown green fodder. Next season, I’ll be growing Amaranth, comfrey and wormwood too.
My goal is to give my girls excellent nutrition, with healthy treats and rely less on purchased Industrial foods whenever I can.
And isn’t the goal of sustainability to grow or collect as much of your food as you can! Happy eating!
Donna, Small House Homestead