I watched a u-tube video by Becky’s Homestead that said if you feed your chickens corn and bread during the winter months, your chickens will continue to lay.
I can buy day old bread for sometimes as low as 50 cents a loaf or I make my own bread for about 50 cent a loaf.
I do always feed my chickens corn but I added bread (on purpose ) instead of just giving them the leftover bread (end pieces) as well any leftovers from our meals.
I did continue to get just as many eggs during the winter months as I did get during the other months. I do live in Florida so I have a lot more sun anyway but I do think it made a difference to give the chickens the bread.
I have found quite a few food containers for my chickens at the thrift stores. I buy ceramic bowls, preferably pretty heavy, to put water and food in.
I like the bowls so I can quickly fill them with water with my water jugs I keep in the chicken yards. So much easier than the water dispensers that you have to carefully flip back upside. And so much easier to clean, too.
As far as food containers go, I like the heavy bowls that are deep. The problem I had was how they like to stand inside the bowl and scratch all the food out. My solution: I buy deep bowls or pots and often put a small bowl upside down in the middle so the chickens cannot stand in the food and scratch it out. Sometimes, I put the pellets in the outter part of the bowl and put the small bowl in the middle with cracked corn or whole corn in it instead of putting it upside down.
My chickens are kind of spoiled and when I put food in the dispensers that you fill and it lasts days or weeks, they just don’t eat a lot of it. I think it is fresher when I put it in the bowls. Sometimes, I add water to the pellets and they really seem to love it. I don’t like to buy the crumbles because there seems to be a lot of waste.
Also, I have lots of fat squirrels from them eating my corn I feed to the chickens. I cannot leave corn out for the chickens so I throw a little out to them every morning. The squirrels are even trying to eat thru my plastic barrel that I keep my corn in. Funny that they don’t do that to my pellet barrel. Smart squirrels.
Another dish I use for water and food is plastic dog dishes, the kind that cannot tip over because of the way it is made.
We have our chickens in the back part of our two acres which meant we were dragging a very long water hose to the area and then dealing with the hose kinking. It was very aggravating.
We drink a lot of juices. The plastic jugs the orange juice and tomato juice and even prune juice come in are great for storing water. We actually used them to stock up water for hurricanes in case we lose our electricity. That water would be good for washing dishes, brushing teeth, and even flushing our toilet.
So we took a few plastic tubs and filled them with the juice bottles filled with water and keep it stored out in the chicken yards in a shady area. We have around 90 jugs/bottles now.
Every two weeks or so we drag the water hose out to the chicken yard and refill the bottles as well as scrubbing down all the water bowls/dispensers with bleach. But twice a month dragging the hose out there is so much better than every day or two.
It also makes it so much easier when we ask my sister-in-law to chicken- sit for a few days. We make sure all the bottles are full of water and she can just quickly refill the water bowls if they get low.