I have been having a problem with the chicken feeders getting clogged up at the bottom dispense area with the dust that comes from the crumble feed. It gets built up and keeps the crumbles from flowing freely into the trough section of the feeder and therefore the ladies can not get enough to eat.
Dust from the crumbles clogging the business end of the feeder
For a while now i have been emptying both feeders each night into the large metal can that keep their food in. I then stir it around with the large scoop and refill the feeders. This dispenses some of the dust but when the can gets down to the last 1/4 of feed, there is a lot of dust and I end up refilling with the same amount of dust I had just emptied out.
Second bin full of mostly dust and some crumbles
Wasting food is not an option so I decided to try and separate the dust from the usable crumbles. I am sure that other people have had this same problem and have probably come up with many solutions that work very well. I decided to try a kitchen pasta strainer.
$2.99 from Target and it works like a charm. I now have two metal bins. I dump the new food into one bin and the leftover food/dust from the feeders in the other bin every night. I refill the feeders with the fresh food and hand them back over to the very happy ladies.
I have a separate container next to the second bin of cast-off food and dust. I take a strainer-full of cast-off and run it through with the dust falling into the separate container. The i dump the crumbles that I saved into the fresh food bin.
This has saved me a little money, and trips to Tractor Supply. And I do not feel as though I am wasting feed by tossing the dust out into the yard with some crumbles.
But what to do with the dust? Toss it out in the yard like I have been? Add it to the compost bin?
Two good ideas I found while searching the web were to mix the dust with water to make a mash for young pullets or to use the dust in bird bread. Since I am not planning on getting any new chicks this spring, I think I will go for the bird bread. Here is a recipe I found while searching:
1 egg (with shells)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 c flour
3/4 cup chicken crumbles or oatmeal or wheat germ, etc
1-3 bananas or mashed squash/zucchini
1/3 cup olive oil OR apple sauce
optional: raisins, flax seed, nuts, spinach
Bake at 375 for 45min to an hour
You can bake it in little loaves or a cup cake pan. Then throw the spares in the freezer to save for suture treats.
I am curious to test this with the wild birds at the feeder as well.