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Harvey Ussery Announces Home Feeding Project

Free Range Chickens by woodleywonderworks

Free Range Chickens by woodleywonderworks

Harvey Ussery, one of our favorite writers on backyard, sustainable chicken raising, has started a new project, called The Home Feeding Project. He shares our goal to become independent of purchased feeds, and is leading this project to compile the best information out there about how to create, yes, more sustainable chicken flocks.

As we’ve mentioned several times on this site, Harvey has an excellent website call The Modern Homestead. You can find the specifics about the Home Feeding Project here. If you’d like to email Harvey with your ideas you can email him here:, or, if you’re really old school, you can mail him a letter at POB 67, Hume, VA  22639. And hey, if you’re going to go to all the trouble to send him some info, please, mention it to us too in the comments, that would be much appreciated!

Here are the details he’d like for you to note when sending him ideas.

  • Some ideas are so obvious and commonly employed (“Feed table scraps to the chickens”) there is no need to mention them. Your unique twist on such widespread strategies may be useful, however. (“I’ve made an arrangement with a local diner to take their food wastes.”)
  • It is as easy for us to grow seed crops like corn and small grains as for farmers, though harvesting, threshing, and storing such crops are likely to be obstacles. Are there ways to make such options more practical?
  • If you do advocate growing particular crops for home feeds, please specify type (e.g. single-head sunflowers with large seeds, or multi-headed types with smaller seeds) and/or varieties you have worked with.
  • Remember to place your practices in context: species of fowl you are feeding, size of flock, management model, etc.
  • If you have kept statistics that demonstrate the effectiveness of your practices, please include them.
  • Some bright ideas that failed to work out in practice may be worth sharing as well.
  • Remember to include your location, and (if you know) your climate (plant hardiness) zone.

I first read about this idea in Backyard Poultry magazine, and most of the details came from Harvey’s website.

Gorgeous photo is from  woodleywonderworks on Flickr.

3 comments to Harvey Ussery Announces Home Feeding Project

  • ann eileen miller BAKER

    Mr. Ussery,

    Pls avoid publishing this email. With DEEP LITTER, have you
    had mice? rats? If not, how do you avoid having these pests?

    AEM Baker

  • Christopher Peck

    Hello AEM –

    This is Christopher Peck here, the publisher of this blog, not Harvey Ussery. I just wanted to be clear that it was me and not him replying to your email.

    I have never had problems with mice or rats in deep litter. I throw some grain or cracked corn onto the litter occasionally (no set schedule) and the chickens regularly scratch through and move most of the litter around, which makes an unappealing home environment for vermin. At the present time our chicken coop is about 18 inches off the ground (chicken space) which also discourages rats from making a home there. Chickens will eat rats if they catch them live.

    Another of our coops has the laying boxes low to the ground, creating an environment where rats can hide out with a good roof over their head but still an easy run to the feed bin during the night. We had to move the coop and kill a bunch of the rats (some escaped down to the creek), not much fun. But none have come back. Yet.

    I believe the benefits of deep bedding are so high that I recommend building a coop specifically designed to accommodate deep litter, including making provisions to prevent rodents from taking up residence.

    I hope this helps! All the best,

    Christopher Peck

  • ageless eyes…

    Harvey Ussery Announces Home Feeding Project « SUSTAINABLE CHICKEN…

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