Since the beginning of June, so that’s seven weeks now,  our 600 chickens have flourished without any store bought feed.  Instead they dine on the leftovers and prep scraps from local restaurants,  day old bread from the bakery, outdated produce and meat from grocery stores, and spent barley grain from breweries.  Besides this daily fresh food, our chickens have an orchard pasture for bug hunting, and compost pile they can scratch through for probiotic rich treasures.

Buckets and buckets of throw-away food that feeds our chickens.

Main point – we’re thrilled to be recycling food waste and turning it into premium eggs.  Beyond creating great eggs, we’re now helping reduce impacts on our planet.

Deeper point – here’s some perspective on land and food.

How much land would it take to grow grain for our flock? A chicken needs about 1/3 of a pound of feed per day.  For our flock of 600 chickens, that’s 200 pounds of feed per day.  Or, thinking about a single chicken, she eats about 120 pounds of feed per year.

A typical acre of wheat produces about 60 bushels or 3600 pounds per year…so…it takes an acre of wheat to feed 30 chickens.   Our local wheat farmer friend would need to grow 20 acres of wheat each year just to feed our 600 chickens.

So that’s 20 acres of wheat that get freed up for another use.

How many people would 20 acres of wheat feed?  Assuming a person needs 2000 calories a day, it turns out that an acre of wheat feeds about 7.5 people.   Those 20 acres of wheat that we’re not feeding to our 600 chickens — those 20 acres could feed 150 people.

Our daily food run, plus weekly brewery run provides the farmland equivalent of feeding 150 people each day.  And that doesn’t even count our eggs.  Figuring a 2/3rds lay rate, that’s about 400 eggs per day or 40,000 calories created each day in these eggs.  At 2,000 calories per day, those eggs provide the calorie requirements for another 20 people, or a total of 170 people per day.  And the vast majority comes from throw away food that we’re saving from the dump.

We’re early in this game of raising chickens and selling eggs, but this bit of research has deepened our appreciation for the benefit of food scrap hens.. We’ve always liked the idea of using food wastes for feed, but I had no idea how great the impact could be – freeing up food for 150 people in out world.

We’ll keep you posted,

Lars and Anne