In addition to their insect patrol work the chickens also scratch the soil smooth, eat some plants and break apart manure patties out in the fields. All of this helps to contribute to better pasture quality and makes it so that we don’t have to use machinery on our swiftly sloping hillsides.
We keep heritage layer hens and they lay up a storm during most of the year without any feed beyond what they scavenge. Most of their diet is the pasture, insects, frogs, snakes, mice and such. In the winter they eat some hay to replace greens as well as getting butchering scraps from our weekly pigs to market which provides them with protein and fat.
The eggs are an excellent source of protein for our weaner piglets. We concentrate the eggs towards the younger pigs where we get the most nutritional leverage per egg. Did you know that cooking an egg doubles the available protein and resolves the biotin antagonist issue?jn.n1716