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BREEDING FOR PRODUCTION...EGGS AND OR MEAT. - Page 1219

post #12181 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertChic View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm View Post
 


Thanks - this is VERY helpful! I think I may try this intermittently with the new chicks (mine and the S&G strain NNs). The growth curves may be affected by comparison, but that's ok. :D

 

- Ant Farm 

 

After reading through your discussion, I'm thinking of trying it too. Very interesting....:caf


Well, with Kev's discussion earlier about animal protein, plus additional conversations we've had on this thread off and on, including hellbender's input, I figured I'd at a minimum do the eggs for molting girls, and they go so nuts for them. Kitten food even better. Feathers are so glossy (and this is with them ALREADY on Feather Fixer long term). They wouldn't eat it dry, but go berserk about it soaked (and I like getting more fluids into them anyway). And, of interest, the egg laying girls are much more hungry for it, molting ones regrowing feathers doubly so, the boys not as ravenous. I think they take what they need. (I split into two feed pans in any pens where I'm worried about someone not getting their share, including all laying/breeding pens.) I use those TSC feed pans - and though I rinse and wash, there must be some smell left, because I found this this AM:

 

 

I think that if my birds free ranged over a much larger area and had access to more bugs, frogs and field mice, it wouldn't be an issue. But while they are not confined, and have room to roam comfortably, they don't get enough of that, I think. (Especially in winter - even the browse is a bit sparse, and I need to rotate paddocks again.) (You know, even though I'm happy with my property, I actually found myself looking at farmland south of here... Need a reality check - as if I had time or energy to care for property like that before I retire!)

 

- Ant Farm 

post #12182 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm View Post
 


Well, with Kev's discussion earlier about animal protein, plus additional conversations we've had on this thread off and on, including hellbender's input, I figured I'd at a minimum do the eggs for molting girls, and they go so nuts for them. Kitten food even better. Feathers are so glossy (and this is with them ALREADY on Feather Fixer long term). They wouldn't eat it dry, but go berserk about it soaked (and I like getting more fluids into them anyway). And, of interest, the egg laying girls are much more hungry for it, molting ones regrowing feathers doubly so, the boys not as ravenous. I think they take what they need. (I split into two feed pans in any pens where I'm worried about someone not getting their share, including all laying/breeding pens.) I use those TSC feed pans - and though I rinse and wash, there must be some smell left, because I found this this AM:

 

 

I think that if my birds free ranged over a much larger area and had access to more bugs, frogs and field mice, it wouldn't be an issue. But while they are not confined, and have room to roam comfortably, they don't get enough of that, I think. (Especially in winter - even the browse is a bit sparse, and I need to rotate paddocks again.) (You know, even though I'm happy with my property, I actually found myself looking at farmland south of here... Need a reality check - as if I had time or energy to care for property like that before I retire!)

 

- Ant Farm 

 

 

Yeah, I'm always 'looking' at farmland, but out here it's hard to find anything green and edible most of the year. 

 

It's funny, I picked up 1400 lbs of feed yesterday (and have the backache to prove it) and had a discussing with the suppliers regarding the fact that I favor the higher protein grower feed (18% protein) over the standard layer feed (16%). They asked me why I put forth the extra expense for my layers. Everything you described above is the reason, from lack of items to free range on to better appearance and faster recovery from molt. I'm still hearing from others in my area that are getting 1-2 eggs per week from their girls while most of mine are giving me at least 4 eggs per week without any supplemental lighting. Plus, my chickens actually consume LESS feed when it's higher protein. I'm just really glad the feed contains animal protein. All of the stuff available at the local feed stores is vegan only. 

 

I still have a couple girls, though, that just can't seem to get out of molt. That's another reason I'm considering the cat food. 

post #12183 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm View Post

Well, with Kev's discussion earlier about animal protein, plus additional conversations we've had on this thread off and on, including hellbender's input, I figured I'd at a minimum do the eggs for molting girls, and they go so nuts for them. Kitten food even better. Feathers are so glossy (and this is with them ALREADY on Feather Fixer long term). They wouldn't eat it dry, but go berserk about it soaked (and I like getting more fluids into them anyway). And, of interest, the egg laying girls are much more hungry for it, molting ones regrowing feathers doubly so, the boys not as ravenous.

 

That's my observation too, except mine readily take dry. However there often is a trial period of getting used to the cat food when it;s offered for the first time to new birds or youngsters finally big enough to swallow them.  Some will act like they taste bad the first time but every time, after a week or so they all go nuts for it.  Never soaked it though...

 

 

Quote:
 

 

I think that if my birds free ranged over a much larger area and had access to more bugs, frogs and field mice, it wouldn't be an issue. But while they are not confined, and have room to roam comfortably, they don't get enough of that, I think. (Especially in winter - even the browse is a bit sparse, and I need to rotate paddocks again.) (You know, even though I'm happy with my property, I actually found myself looking at farmland south of here... Need a reality check - as if I had time or energy to care for property like that before I retire!)

 

- Ant Farm 

 

Haha! don't lead me into temptation, I shall find it by myself... right?

 

Back when I had totally free range birds,  they still went nuts for cat and dog food.  Had to feed the dog after dark because of this...   later on got the gravity dog feeder with the flap that hides the feed so the poor dog could fill up whenever he wanted to.. well, some of the turkeys figured out how to get at the feed- some would peck at the flap then quickly grab some of the feed before the flap closed again.  One simply hunkered his head down and pushed against the flap with his head/shoulder and went to town until he was full..  the others quickly learned to come running because this also allowed others access to the feed...  Sigh............

post #12184 of 13147

X3 Regarding farmland.... We've barely settled our 4 fours, but are so ready to get out of Florida that we've already started looking around. :hide

 

 

 

Honestly, I just feed all of my birds Startena 30%Game-Bird starter. Where I'm at it's the only food that has animal protein period. In a few weeks, I'll switch them over to a breeder ration, but so far I haven't had to do much supplementing (I am feeding eggs now just for calcium as well as some black soldier fl larvae I got free from grubblies the birds LOVE them). 

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post #12185 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertChic View Post
 

 

 

Yeah, I'm always 'looking' at farmland, but out here it's hard to find anything green and edible most of the year. 

 

It's funny, I picked up 1400 lbs of feed yesterday (and have the backache to prove it) and had a discussing with the suppliers regarding the fact that I favor the higher protein grower feed (18% protein) over the standard layer feed (16%). They asked me why I put forth the extra expense for my layers. Everything you described above is the reason, from lack of items to free range on to better appearance and faster recovery from molt. I'm still hearing from others in my area that are getting 1-2 eggs per week from their girls while most of mine are giving me at least 4 eggs per week without any supplemental lighting. Plus, my chickens actually consume LESS feed when it's higher protein. I'm just really glad the feed contains animal protein. All of the stuff available at the local feed stores is vegan only. 

 

I still have a couple girls, though, that just can't seem to get out of molt. That's another reason I'm considering the cat food. 

I do the same as you - feed higher protein Starter-Grower or Feather Fixer, and believe it or not I got asked the same question the other day at the feed store. I found my layers do substantially better with the higher protein and oyster shell free-choice. I go through more oyster shell of course but it's cheap when you buy it in bulk. Anyway my hatchery layers are putting out at about 70%-80% of what they were during their peak earlier in the year. Also from what you told me a while back about feeding yours ground meat, I've been giving mine ground pork once a week and they recovered from molting lickety split. There's still one or two that are dragging it out but it completely cured the majority inside 2-3 weeks - I couldn't believe my eyes. So I continue to give them the "on-sale" ground pork that's near expiration and life is good for them. They don't need much, just about 1 lb for 10-15 birds. I couldn't believe the difference it made. I never intend to go back to 16% layer ever again. And, just like you said, they don't go through near as much of the higher protein feed as they did the layer feed when they were on it. My feed bill is definitely less than when they were on layer exclusively.

 

Have you ever fed your birds any 22% meatbird feed? I did when I had some leftover from the last batch of Cornish Crosses and they did very well on it. They ate less of that than they do the Feather Fixer but the Nutrena Meatbird feed is quite a bit pricier. For now I'm just sticking with Feather Fixer, the ground pork once a week, mealworms on occasion, and a Purina Free Range Block. That's been working well for me. 

post #12186 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejcrist View Post
 

I do the same as you - feed higher protein Starter-Grower or Feather Fixer, and believe it or not I got asked the same question the other day at the feed store. I found my layers do substantially better with the higher protein and oyster shell free-choice. I go through more oyster shell of course but it's cheap when you buy it in bulk. Anyway my hatchery layers are putting out at about 70%-80% of what they were during their peak earlier in the year. Also from what you told me a while back about feeding yours ground meat, I've been giving mine ground pork once a week and they recovered from molting lickety split. There's still one or two that are dragging it out but it completely cured the majority inside 2-3 weeks - I couldn't believe my eyes. So I continue to give them the "on-sale" ground pork that's near expiration and life is good for them. They don't need much, just about 1 lb for 10-15 birds. I couldn't believe the difference it made. I never intend to go back to 16% layer ever again. And, just like you said, they don't go through near as much of the higher protein feed as they did the layer feed when they were on it. My feed bill is definitely less than when they were on layer exclusively.

 

Have you ever fed your birds any 22% meatbird feed? I did when I had some leftover from the last batch of Cornish Crosses and they did very well on it. They ate less of that than they do the Feather Fixer but the Nutrena Meatbird feed is quite a bit pricier. For now I'm just sticking with Feather Fixer, the ground pork once a week, mealworms on occasion, and a Purina Free Range Block. That's been working well for me. 

 

I actually start all of my chicks on gamebird feed of at least 24% protein for the first two weeks and then begin reducing the protein levels as their growth rates level off. My meat bird (soy-free, corn-free, canola-free) is only 20% protein, but yes, they love it and they do really well on it. I'm actually thinking of keeping the Silver Gray Dorkings on this until they reach POL and then switching them to the 18% protein. By then there should be more free-range protein available anyway. 

 

During the spring and sometimes summer months I'll feed more 16% feed, but only if there's plenty of greens growing and bugs or lizards around for the chickens to eat. 

 

We're having issues with Javelina right now and I've seriously considered shooting the buggers and leaving their carcasses for the chickens to pick clean...you know...destroying all of the evidence. Can't get much fresher protein than that. ;)

post #12187 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertChic View Post
 

 

I actually start all of my chicks on gamebird feed of at least 24% protein for the first two weeks and then begin reducing the protein levels as their growth rates level off. My meat bird (soy-free, corn-free, canola-free) is only 20% protein, but yes, they love it and they do really well on it. I'm actually thinking of keeping the Silver Gray Dorkings on this until they reach POL and then switching them to the 18% protein. By then there should be more free-range protein available anyway. 

 

During the spring and sometimes summer months I'll feed more 16% feed, but only if there's plenty of greens growing and bugs or lizards around for the chickens to eat. 

 

We're having issues with Javelina right now and I've seriously considered shooting the buggers and leaving their carcasses for the chickens to pick clean...you know...destroying all of the evidence. Can't get much fresher protein than that. ;)

No kidding? I thought about using the gamebird feed but the feed store said it's too much protein for chickens - that didn't sound right to me because I read somewhere that a higher protein diet isn't detrimental until you get way up to something like 40%. And even then it takes prolonged use before you start running into gout and stuff like that. So just my take, but all the feeds out there aren't anywhere near the protein levels that would cause health problems. I think I'm going to start doing what you're doing. 

post #12188 of 13147

Used to feed everything from peafowl guineas turkeys chickens gamebird feed back when it was affordable and had animal protein. They all did fantastic(except not enough calcium for peahens- gave those a mixture of gamebird and chicken layer- oyster shell never, ever worked for them).  Got the same sort of reactions- 'you sure feed your birds REAL good!' etc.

 

Had to stop when the price became excessive.  They;re all priced at 25-26 per bag for gamebird breeder...  don;t remember how much grower and starter is- they're higher.   I checked the labels on all of these recently- yep all vegan now...

 

The 17% chicken layer currently floats around close to 20 per bag.

 

I also figure cat food at 30ish protein both ups the protein slightly plus the bonus of animal protein.

post #12189 of 13147
25 per bag?? We pay 19. That's robbery. 😵

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post #12190 of 13147
Quote:
Originally Posted by GabrielBane View Post
 

X3 Regarding farmland.... We've barely settled our 4 fours, but are so ready to get out of Florida that we've already started looking around. :hide

 

 

 

Honestly, I just feed all of my birds Startena 30%Game-Bird starter. Where I'm at it's the only food that has animal protein period. In a few weeks, I'll switch them over to a breeder ration, but so far I haven't had to do much supplementing (I am feeding eggs now just for calcium as well as some black soldier fl larvae I got free from grubblies the birds LOVE them). 

I can't find anything in a bag that has animal protein in it. Feather Fixer is the best base feed I can find for them (empirically, seeing how they do on it and how they like eating it) - I used to feed everyone a combo of 16% layer feed and 24% starter. That worked ok, but Feather Fixer is better. All of that is vegetarian/soy based, though. Egg quality is better on Feather Fixer, and better still with them getting the animal protein. I very well may pursue the black soldier fly thing at this point. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertChic View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejcrist View Post
 

I do the same as you - feed higher protein Starter-Grower or Feather Fixer, and believe it or not I got asked the same question the other day at the feed store. I found my layers do substantially better with the higher protein and oyster shell free-choice. I go through more oyster shell of course but it's cheap when you buy it in bulk. Anyway my hatchery layers are putting out at about 70%-80% of what they were during their peak earlier in the year. Also from what you told me a while back about feeding yours ground meat, I've been giving mine ground pork once a week and they recovered from molting lickety split. There's still one or two that are dragging it out but it completely cured the majority inside 2-3 weeks - I couldn't believe my eyes. So I continue to give them the "on-sale" ground pork that's near expiration and life is good for them. They don't need much, just about 1 lb for 10-15 birds. I couldn't believe the difference it made. I never intend to go back to 16% layer ever again. And, just like you said, they don't go through near as much of the higher protein feed as they did the layer feed when they were on it. My feed bill is definitely less than when they were on layer exclusively.

 

Have you ever fed your birds any 22% meatbird feed? I did when I had some leftover from the last batch of Cornish Crosses and they did very well on it. They ate less of that than they do the Feather Fixer but the Nutrena Meatbird feed is quite a bit pricier. For now I'm just sticking with Feather Fixer, the ground pork once a week, mealworms on occasion, and a Purina Free Range Block. That's been working well for me. 

 

I actually start all of my chicks on gamebird feed of at least 24% protein for the first two weeks and then begin reducing the protein levels as their growth rates level off. My meat bird (soy-free, corn-free, canola-free) is only 20% protein, but yes, they love it and they do really well on it. I'm actually thinking of keeping the Silver Gray Dorkings on this until they reach POL and then switching them to the 18% protein. By then there should be more free-range protein available anyway. 

 

During the spring and sometimes summer months I'll feed more 16% feed, but only if there's plenty of greens growing and bugs or lizards around for the chickens to eat. 

 

We're having issues with Javelina right now and I've seriously considered shooting the buggers and leaving their carcasses for the chickens to pick clean...you know...destroying all of the evidence. Can't get much fresher protein than that. ;)

I am seriously tempted by the ground meat thing. Meanwhile, I do what DesertChic does, and start everyone on 24% at first. (I might start on 20% now, though, if I'm going to be doing the egg thing). There are lots of lizards around, but I'm not sure the girls are getting them, they all hang out on the house. 

 

Ugh, SO sorry you have javelina issues. What a mess they make! Sounds like a good source of protein for the chickens! (Is is prohibited to shoot them there? I'm not sure it is here, but I haven;t looked it up - they are really destructive pests here in Texas.)

 

I like hearing about everyone's different ways of getting animal protein to their chickens on this thread. I think I'm pretty convinced they need it. Love hearing the options. (They DO adore the livers and hearts when I cull, but I don't cull enough for that to be much more than a treat...)

 

- Ant Farm 

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