Originally Posted by UrbanEnthusiast
I'm kinda skeptical of the idea that a good foraging breed can only get 20% of their diet from free-ranging. What about all the folks here saying that their birds eat substantially less feed in summer (despite that being the time when they're laying the most)???
A bird in heavy production during the summer still doesn't consume as much as a bird trying to keep warm during the winter.
I should probably say that a really good foraging breed, with low egg production, could probably reach up to 30-40% of its diet from free ranging. Again, this would have to be a gamefowl or gamefowl hybrid bird - which, again, means sacrificing most egg production qualities. You just aren't going to get very good natural survival abilities from something that isn't the most "wild-type" gamefowl, in a tropical or subtropical climate, are those which can get nearly all of their diet from free ranging. It's worth noting that 20% is ballpark high end. A bird of a modern but excellent foraging breed, e.g. Fayoumi or Hamburg, might get up to 30%. It's still not gonna hit a point where it doesn't need significant amounts of supplemental feed, even in a tropical climate.
These numbers are based on my experience with 15 acres and over the years about 50 different breeds including modern, heritage, dual purpose, egg production, and gamefowl types, and 10 years of chicken keeping in general. These figures aren't exact - but they are close estimates based on my own flock and speaking to others such as my boss. I shouldn't claim there won't be exceptions and I absolutely agree you ought to consider all opinions, but this is from my experience and opinions.
Originally Posted by Folly's place
I just looked up Bar Ale poultry feed, and shipping from California to Michigan makes no sense!!! Fresh locally available feeds are best. By the way, Purina pet foods and Purina livestock feeds are pretty separate entities. Mary
I never recommended that @UrbanEnthusiast purchase Bar Ale; I said I used it. I'm well aware that it's only available on the West Coast. My point was that, in my experience using Bar Ale and a few other (local and non local) brands, including Purina a long long time ago, locally based brands seem to be the best. Obviously not all areas will have a local mill of good quality, but if there is, I'd certainly recommend that they check into their local brand before choosing something like Purina or Nutrena, which while often adequate are simply not usually of as high quality as local, fresh brands. It's not necessarily even that Purina is awful... in my opinion it's not necessarily great, but I largely base my beliefs off the fact that the local feeds I've worked with have always been high quality... much better than "good" or "adequate."
Originally Posted by AllynTal
Well, if you have to have it shipped, it certainly wouldn't make sense for you, yeah? If you like Purina, use it. No one can make you stop using it. They might be separate entities, but it's the same parent company. Do you work for Purina? I'm wondering why so defensive.
Originally Posted by AllynTal
I see your point, but I am also interested in people's opinions. Opinions may not have hard data to back them up. I guess if it has hard data to back it up, it ceases to be an opinion and becomes a fact. I'd hate to think that my experience and observations have no value to someone else just because I have no hard data to back up my opinions.
Maybe I'm biased but x2 on both of these...