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Feeding chickens meat

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Can some one please help me with a question? We have a small flock of 23 chickens. 

 

The problem is that all that feed is expensive and I'm worried it will go way up due to the drought. I can't freely free range them due to neighbors and predators. 

 

I understand that chickens need what is in the laying formula, grains and scraps and calcium. What I was wondering is,  If I was able to provide them enough protein plus half the amount of laying formula and enough grains & calcium would that work?

 

For example: I feed my 23 chickens 100 pounds of laying formula and 50 scratch every month.

 

I was hoping to feed them say 50 lbs laying plus extra protein and 50 lbs scratch and free choice calcium .

 

The extra protein would come from our other livestock (meat). You may be wondering: if I have extra meat why give it to the chickens? Well, variety I guess and we love chickens and love eggs!! And this other livestock costs virtually nil to feed, especially when compared to chickens.

 

Has anyone else done anything like this?
Thanks! I love BYC I research a lot on here. This is my first question because I couldn't find an answer.

 

I've looked into raising Dubia Cockroaches, Mealworms, Aquatic Snails, Mung beans  etc. I dont think any of these would work on a large enough scale to feed 23 chickens though. 
Thanks!

post #2 of 23

Meat? Absolutely.  Anytime there is table scrap meat the chickens get it.  We tossed the turkey carcass into the run after dinner on Thursday.  They devoured it.  Two days later?  You guessed it.  The eggs were spectacular.

 

 

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post #3 of 23

Do we need to be concerned with bones?

Kim

 

 

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Kim

 

 

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post #4 of 23

As a rule, they'll eat around the bones, unless they're really tiny.  I'd maybe be concerned about little, sharp bones but otherwise...not.  When they're laying or molting, protein is very important and calcium as well for laying.  I've started fermenting grains for ours and find they eat quite a bit less; it makes the nutrition available even greater.  There's a great thread here about it.  You can also sprout grains for them which is also more nutritious than the grain itself.  I supplement protein with yogurt which I can make fairly cheaply, any cheese we have around that may be a bit older (not rotten, of course) than we like, and I often cook dried beans for them.  They love it all and are thriving.  During the summer, I pull weeds and toss them in their run...they're crazy for dandelions.  I also planted clover and comfrey for them.  There are quite a number of things you can plant and grow yourself that will help reduce feed costs.  Alfalfa is a good one, since it's a "cut and come again" plant.

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdwag View Post

Do we need to be concerned with bones?

 

The chicken has survived for thousands and thousands of years.  They're not stupid.  Domestication has not made them dependent upon merely eating pelletized feed.  Not yet anyhow. lol.png

 

They can pick better than I ever could.  They'll pick over a carcass in the woods, if they were to find one.  Birds are very, very adept at managing to eat in a natural manner.   

 

 

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post #6 of 23

Where I'm from, we usually add sardines or other cheap fish to their feed. Raw or cooked,doesn't matter. I never had problems with fish bones stucking in their throat. After feeding them fish, eggs have stronger taste and egg yolk gets darker.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cybergeisha View Post

Where I'm from, we usually add sardines or other cheap fish to their feed. Raw or cooked,doesn't matter. I never had problems with fish bones stucking in their throat. After feeding them fish, eggs have stronger taste and egg yolk gets darker.

Good idea.

post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 

So theoretically, If I fed them Enough meat for protein I could essentially cut the amount of layena (Purina brand laying feed) I feed them? 

post #9 of 23

My chickens LOVE meat. You can also look into farming mealworms, growing fodder or fermenting feeds as good DIY ways to cut down on feed with high nutrition very inexpensively.

post #10 of 23

We feed meat - throw in some burger and watch the games begin! I just don't fee them any kind of poultry. While I know they are cannibals, I don't like to encourage it!
 

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