70 Degrees Outside/I’m Busy Collecting Acorns for the Chickens

We are having a bit of a warm up on our homestead weather this week; sunshine and 70 plus temperature days. So I’ve been out collecting acorns for the chickens as we are enjoying a banner year in acorns here in SW Michigan.
east Oak house planter shows air con
Our Small House home is nestled among the majestic White Oak trees, front view
You may recall we have 47 White Oak trees on our 5-acre property and many, many more trees in the 5-acre woods behind us.  They start falling here in early September and continue on throughout October. They fall with a loud ping onto the roof of our metal pole barn and three-seasons roof and even Sassy jumps when a falling acorn has a direct hit with a loud clang.
From back show porch-garden tree canopy NICE
The rear view of our home sitting among the Oaks. From these oaks we took our property and business names; White Oak Studio & Gallery, White Oak Blacksmith Forge and White Oak Acres. 

 

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.

Acorns in bowl

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!

Turn around bed by sky

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s