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This morning, there was frost on the fields where we plan to move the chickens this week, and fog filled the valley for the first time in some months. And acorns are raining down from our White Oak trees as Fall begins to set in here at the farm.

The acorns are really something this year, much like the apples. It was a bumper crop year for both. Now it might sound strange, but I am pretty darn excited about these acorns that pave the driveway, the backyard, and the woodlot next to the house.

As it so happens, I’m reading a book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, which mentions that in England during World War II, acorns were used to replace up to half of the feed ration for chickens. And, the acorns from our White Oaks are low in tannins, so they don’t interfere with digestion as other acorns might, and have a sweeter meat, which will be more appealing to the chickens.

Now gathering and smashing the acorns with a sledgehammer in an old pair of jeans is a time-consuming venture, as my savvy and somewhat saner sister-in-law, Teresa, pointed out to me this past weekend. She's right, of course.

But what are the odds that I start mulling over the question of how to feed our chickens from our own resources here on the farm at the very moment acorns are falling like manna from heaven? And that these acorns — the ones that belong to this little patch of earth — are the most suitable for use as chicken feed? And, perhaps most important, that this book found me just in time to tip me off to the abundance in my midst?

So a new, unexpected task has been added my “to do” list: gathering acorns. There are almost no squirrels in this place, so it seems that it has fallen to me to play their part, filling the pockets of my fleece jacket to overfull before ducking into the garage to empty them in a burlap bag for storage.

It’s come to this, gathering acorns to feed the chickens in a more sustainable manner. But taking the time to pick up these acorns is as much the act of a holy fool as that of an avid believer in the principles of permaculture. For me, it is an unlikely prayer, a fitting gesture of gratitude to the Extravagant Giver in our midst.



That sounds like a WONDERFUL supplement for your chickens. I wasn't aware of acorns for chickens but lots of American Guinea Hog owners feed them out to their hogs.