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gamefowl feed instead of grower feed for chickens? - Page 2

post #11 of 17
George, I think there is a mistake in your post. A chicken’s digestive system does not simple expel anything above 18-20% protein. Their digestive system does not absorb every nutrient they eat. Protein, calcium, fats, and other nutrients are partially absorbed with the parts that are not processed going on out the back end. If they eat a higher percentage of protein that means more will go out the back end, but the body will also absorb more protein. There are changes to blood chemistry to chickens fed a higher protein content diet. A lot of the excess does get absorbed. One of the major causes of gout in humans is that we eat a very high protein diet and some of that high protein gets absorbed and processed by out body. Too much can hurt us just like it can hurt chickens.

There are a lot of things in animal husbandry that look abusive and cruel to an outsider, especially someone that just sees a snippet of information, not the whole picture, a snippet that was carefully filmed and selected to show things in the absolute worst light possible. But most are not. The animals are better off for it. For example, how cruel and inhumane is it spay and neuter cats and dogs? Totally barbaric, isn’t it.

I know people that make their living off of chickens, not just raising them but also other aspects, like the guy that did the chicken necropsies when people send their dead chickens in to find out what killed them. These people are not barbaric inhumane brutes that take great pleasure in abusing chickens. They are good people, some really good people. You can always find a cop that is rotten, an unethical lawyer, a minister that abused his/her position, a teacher that sexually abuses children, and people that do not take care of their animals properly if you look hard enough. Just because you find a few like that does not mean that every single one of them are like that. A lot of the contamination cases of processed chicken come from the same operations that have been there before, repeat offenders. You can find rotten apples in any group.

Often stories are distorted for sensationalism. One case I’m familiar with, a first grader was taken from school, handcuffed, and put in the back of a police cruiser. Totally horrible, right? Due to privacy laws there were a few questions that could not be answered about that case. Why did his grandparents who were on his call card not come pick him up when they were called? This time or previous times. Another interesting question, what did that boy do to the back seat of a cop car the last time he was in the back seat not handcuffed? Be cautious of what you see and hear on the mainstream media let alone people with agendas putting a video on the internet. It’s not always the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, especially industry-wide.

As I said above, I don’t treat mine the same as the commercial operations in some ways, space and access to the outside for example. Also as I said, the commercial chickens are fine-tuned animals, created by selective breeding to convert feed into either meat or eggs exceptionally efficiently. It is a fine balance. If you underfeed them they will not perform profitably. You are in the business to make a profit so you are not going to underfeed them. That would be ridiculous. If you overfeed them you are spending money unnecessarily plus you are potentially abusing them. If they are overfed broilers can grow so fast their hearts stop or their skeleton breaks down before they reach butcher size. If they are overfed hens lay larger eggs than the more profitable grade A large. This leads to more prolapse, internal laying, hens becoming egg bound, more double yolked eggs, and more multiple defective eggs laid in a day. These bad things don’t happen to each and every chicken but the mortality rates do go up in the overall flock. That hurts profit. Why would you spend more money to hurt your profit?

Our chickens are tougher than the commercial chickens. They have not been developed through selective breeding to require such carful treatment. Their bodies are not nearly as efficient in converting feed into meat or eggs as their commercial cousins. Ours can do quite well on the same rations as their cousins as long as we don’t mess up the balance of nutrients a lot by feeding them excess low-protein treats, their bodies just won’t be as large as possible and the eggs won’t be as large as they could be. That suits my goals quite well. To see mine chasing bugs, interacting in the flock, and seeing the number of eggs they lay and chicks they hatch and raise I consider them very healthy. But as long as you don’t get ridiculous about it our chickens can also handle a higher protein diet and be quite healthy.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #12 of 17
Asteria, we all feed our chickens differently. As I’ve tried to say, you have a lot of flexibility in what you do. There are all kinds of studies that show that excess calcium is bad for growing chicks. Point of lay pullets are still growing some but not really that much. They can handle the excess calcium much better than young chicks. That does not mean that it is totally harmless, just that there is not a lot of danger. As always, it depends on how much total calcium they eat in a day over a period of several days or weeks. One bite won’t harm them, it’s the total effect over time. If they forage or you feed them low-calcium treats that waters down the calcium in Layer anyway.

You’ll find that different people on this forum have different opinions about feeding Layer with the higher calcium content to adult chickens that aren’t laying. Some people are convinced that it does no harm. Others worry about it quite a bit. I’m in the group that feels there is not much danger, that’s it’s probably not a problem, but not totally sure. I never feed mine Layer anyway so I don’t have to overthink it. I almost always have immature growing chicks with the flock so I feed Grower to the entire flock with oyster shell on the side. The ones that need the extra calcium for egg shells eat the oyster shell as they need it while the others don’t eat enough to harm themselves. I think it was ChickenCanoe that came up with a study that showed excess calcium can lower the sperm count in a rooster. It can have an effect.

The 18 week thing as to when to start them on Layer comes from the commercial industry. They carefully control when their pullets start laying, using different feed and by manipulating the lights. They don’t want the pullets to start laying too soon, their bodies aren’t quite mature and the eggs are too small to be as profitable. Still they will be laying a bit after 5 months of age.

I like the idea of feeding Grower with oyster shell on the side. If you look at the analysis the only real difference between Layer and Grower is the percent calcium and the oyster shell takes care of that. But if you look on the feed bag it probably tells you to start feeding Layer at 18 weeks. They are the pros, I’m an amateur. I can’t argue with them. It’s just my personal preference.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #13 of 17

The commercial chicken factory is a highly controlled environment (growth hormones, antibiotics, light, heat, density, breeds, feed, air, etc) with profit as the primary motive -- that means keeping the cost of feed to a minimum -- which also means feeding the least amount of protein they can get away with.

 

As backyard chicken owners we are piggybacking off the commercial factory industry.  Our objectives and circumstances are quite different. 

 

We were having bare butt and bare back problems for about 8 or 9 months.  They looked really ragged.  We just kept hoping the problem would correct itself.  It did not.  We then switched from 16% to 22% feed.  The feathers started filling in. 

 

We feed our chickens table scraps.  That only seems like the right thing to do rather than throwing them out.  Perhaps if we didn't 16% would be sufficient.  I am sure there are scores of people here that feed there chickens 16% feed. If there weren't they would not sell it in the feed stores. 

 

I am sure that there are many different ways to raise chickens successfully.  Adopting the suggested feeding regime of the commercial factory may not be appropriate in your circumstance.  It was not for us. 


Edited by CalgaryFarmer - 11/1/15 at 7:50am
Projects:  Coop 1  -  Coop 2  -  Brooder Warmer  -  Chick Feeder  -  Solar Ventilation  -  Lighting
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Projects:  Coop 1  -  Coop 2  -  Brooder Warmer  -  Chick Feeder  -  Solar Ventilation  -  Lighting
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post #14 of 17
It also means that they will not waste money and overfeed them. It’s not necessary. It does no good and can do harm. How many businesses do you know that willingly spend money that is not needed on things that can do harm?

I pretty much agree with you, it is a highly controlled environment and profit is the motive. There is a small problem with your list though. Growth hormone use in chickens was banned in the US in 1959. Hormones are still legal in beef but your information on chickens is a mere 56 years out of date. The practice of using growth hormones in chickens had pretty much stopped by then anyway. It was not effective in chickens, meat or egg production.

I agree that there are many different factors that go into how we feed and keep chickens. The percent of protein in part of what they eat is certainly not the only factor.

I thank you for not letting our discussion spiral out of control. That’s sometimes hard to do. I still maintain there is an upper limit on how much total protein should be eaten in a day for a series of days. But that limit and where the protein comes from will be different for each of us. It’s not easy to determine.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalgaryFarmer View Post
 

The commercial chicken factory is a highly controlled environment (growth hormones, antibiotics, light, heat, density, breeds, feed, air, etc) with profit as the primary motive -- that means keeping the cost of feed to a minimum -- which also means feeding the least amount of protein they can get away with.

 

As backyard chicken owners we are piggybacking off the commercial factory industry.  Our objectives and circumstances are quite different. 

 

We were having bare butt and bare back problems for about 8 or 9 months.  They looked really ragged.  We just kept hoping the problem would correct itself.  It did not.  We then switched from 16% to 22% feed.  The feathers started filling in. 

 

We feed our chickens table scraps.  That only seems like the right thing to do rather than throwing them out.  Perhaps if we didn't 16% would be sufficient.  I am sure there are scores of people here that feed there chickens 16% feed. If there weren't they would not sell it in the feed stores. 

 

I am sure that there are many different ways to raise chickens successfully.  Adopting the suggested feeding regime of the commercial factory may not be appropriate in your circumstance.  It was not for us. 

 

The commercial chicken "factory" is in fact a "highly controlled" environment.  That is why chickens produced in this fashion are mostly free from internal parasites, external parasites, most infectious diseases, the cruelties inflicted by flock mates, and predators.  

 

“Poultry products are some of the most economical meat protein sources available to consumers. Currently, chicken prices remain a bargain for the nutritional value, and this has held true for the last 40 years. [as of 2010] The ability to efficiently use foodstuffs with minimal time to market size is the primary reason chickens and turkeys lead as primary meat sources. Often this efficiency is misinterpreted as unsafe because there is a myth that poultry are given hormones in order to achieve the growth rate with so little feed. The real story of poultry production does not include hormones but rather attention to the details to produce a protein source that is keeping pace with the world’s expanding population. The following outlines why there are no hormones used in chickens and turkeys or poultry products:”

 

If you want to see a before and after photo of your grandmothers' chickens and the chickens being raised today I recommend that you open this link and compare 1970 chickens to the chickens being raised today.

 

Quoted from the University of Arkansas:

https://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-8007.pdf

 

recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is an exception but this is a natural hormone and it is found in normal and natural amounts in dairy cattle (milk cows) and their milk regardless whether or not the cow in question has been treated with rBGH. Read the following historical and current account of growth hormone use. There is absolutely no reliable or true account of the use of growth hormones being used on poultry going back almost 50 years. Me thinks that you should update your information. Here is a good history of the use of hormones on chickens, swine, sheep, and cattle. It is from Cornell University.

 

This fact sheet addresses some of the consumer concerns that have been brought to BCERF regarding health effects of hormones used by the meat and dairy industries. Evidence available so far, though not conclusive, does not link hormone residues in meat or milk with any human health effect.”

 

The above addresses concerns about hormones in the food supply.

 

The following link goes directly to Cornell University and it addresses your concerns.

I recommend that all logged on to the BYC web sight open, read, and study this link.

 

http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/diet/fs37.hormones.cfm

 

Just to make the cheese more binding I also included a web sight from Canada that basely says the same thing and besides it leaves Organic and “Hormone Free” poultry (among other marketing strategies) in an unfavorable light.

 

http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=6150efde-4d52-4e7a-b8f8-d4f5116e9f40

 

Finally I included this link from the Left Wing news paper The Huffington Post just to show that I am unbiased.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/31/hormones-in-food-should-y_n_815385.html

 

 

 

Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
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post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

Asteria, we all feed our chickens differently. As I’ve tried to say, you have a lot of flexibility in what you do. There are all kinds of studies that show that excess calcium is bad for growing chicks. Point of lay pullets are still growing some but not really that much. They can handle the excess calcium much better than young chicks. That does not mean that it is totally harmless, just that there is not a lot of danger. As always, it depends on how much total calcium they eat in a day over a period of several days or weeks. One bite won’t harm them, it’s the total effect over time. If they forage or you feed them low-calcium treats that waters down the calcium in Layer anyway.

You’ll find that different people on this forum have different opinions about feeding Layer with the higher calcium content to adult chickens that aren’t laying. Some people are convinced that it does no harm. Others worry about it quite a bit. I’m in the group that feels there is not much danger, that’s it’s probably not a problem, but not totally sure. I never feed mine Layer anyway so I don’t have to overthink it. I almost always have immature growing chicks with the flock so I feed Grower to the entire flock with oyster shell on the side. The ones that need the extra calcium for egg shells eat the oyster shell as they need it while the others don’t eat enough to harm themselves. I think it was ChickenCanoe that came up with a study that showed excess calcium can lower the sperm count in a rooster. It can have an effect.

The 18 week thing as to when to start them on Layer comes from the commercial industry. They carefully control when their pullets start laying, using different feed and by manipulating the lights. They don’t want the pullets to start laying too soon, their bodies aren’t quite mature and the eggs are too small to be as profitable. Still they will be laying a bit after 5 months of age.

I like the idea of feeding Grower with oyster shell on the side. If you look at the analysis the only real difference between Layer and Grower is the percent calcium and the oyster shell takes care of that. But if you look on the feed bag it probably tells you to start feeding Layer at 18 weeks. They are the pros, I’m an amateur. I can’t argue with them. It’s just my personal preference.


X 2 - though there are a couple of other nutrients that vary beyond just the calcium, the differences are not such that I concern myself.

Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
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Where are we going, and why are we in this hand basket?
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post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgerunner View Post

It also means that they will not waste money and overfeed them. It’s not necessary.

 

Not to beat the topic to death, but this statement does not really address the issue.  If 16% protein still ensures full egg production but is not sufficient to ensure proper muscle growth or feather growth then yes, they will not be wasting money as commercial factories will not be wasting money on items that do not go to profit. 

 

While I do not know, I would bet money that factory laying chickens have been bred so that they will produce eggs to the detriment of other needs such as deficient muscle tissue or replacing pecked feathers. Clearly, they produce muscle tissue and grow and replace feathers.  But the commercial factory will not value these uses of protein to the detriment of egg production. 

 

As a backyard chicken owner, you may not be wasting money when you need  protein for more than just eggs.  For example, my coop is not heated and I live in Canada so my chickens will need their feathers.  I do not want mangy looking chickens.  I do not want my chickens picking feathers off one another because they are protein deficient.  I have dual purpose chickens  They are quite a bit bigger than production chickens, probably twice the size.  Presumably they need more protein to grow that size and have reasonable egg production.  My chickens are more active as they can run around and chase each other and forage.  Do they need more protein as a result?  Probably.  My chickens are exposed to internal and external parasites and are more likely to get sick.  Do they require more protein to address these issues or will more protein make them more robust?  I don't know.  My guess is yes. 

 

At any rate, what may be considered wasting money in commercial factory would not be considered wasting money in a backyard chicken run.  The needs in most cases will be quite different and the amount of protein needed may be higher. 

 

As such, the commercial factory feeding routine may not be suitable for the backyard chicken owner.  This seemed evident through our experience with feather picking. 

Projects:  Coop 1  -  Coop 2  -  Brooder Warmer  -  Chick Feeder  -  Solar Ventilation  -  Lighting
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Projects:  Coop 1  -  Coop 2  -  Brooder Warmer  -  Chick Feeder  -  Solar Ventilation  -  Lighting
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