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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.
I like Rape. It is easy, fast, and stays palatable longer. The birds like it. A little goes a long ways.
Rye is easy, but they can get too much. When it starts maturing and getting taller, I cut it.
Chickweed is abundant here now, and will be more so soon. My birds that are in their breeding pens got chickweed today.
Clover is good. I like shorter clover. The taller "stemy" clovers are better for grazers and browsers.
Chicory is great, and is a perennial. A little goes a long ways.
I like to take advantage of what is here already as I can. If I where you were, I would have a bed or two that was a hoop styled greenhouse.
Do not cull a bird for being on the bottom of the pecking order. There is always a bird on the bottom, unless there is one.
Extremes can be had in any breed, and especially large breeds. They can loose their athleticism. It is important that our birds are fit. Now I cannot see this bird, so I am not saying to do it. I am only saying that extremes do occur.
Everyone's management style is different, but I find it easier to evaluate pullets in smaller groups. I find breeding easier in smaller groups. I like to emphasize individuals when I can. I do prefer single mating, but I do not exclusively.
Now, you want good width between the legs. That is your foundation. Your foundation is good thick shanks, and widely spaced legs, and good developed thighs. Width is best judged by looking down at the bird. You want to see wide shoulders, and that width to follow through to the tail. I am speaking generally.
Depth of keel is literally that. You want good length, and depth. You want a nice well rounded breast, and a deep keel. The depth of keel in my avatar is deeper than many that is being shown, but is not deep enough. Think breast bone. Again, I am speaking generally.
An advantage to single mating is identifying superior individuals by way of their offspring. Also good and bad traits. Tendencies. Some will consistently throw better offspring. We want to emphasize these individuals, possibly establishing a family off of them. They are more than we see as individuals. Old timers said that they were "pre-potent". I try to understand it as an accumulated inheritance. Inheritance is not only an individual, but the family behind an individual. Families have tendencies as individuals have tendencies. It is as much or more the family behind the bird as it is the bird itself.
As for soy and corn--it is not my intention to start a debate here-- only to state my position. I have always fed my horses corn and soy grain as this combination is a good amino acid profile, each compliments the other. I have always raised my horses on a corn -soy grain, and my old man was born in 1987 and still flies out of stall in the morning.
Since I cant effectively grow corn or soy to meet the farm needs, I'm looking to other grain sources too. FOr the birds at least.
edited to add--I forgot toaddress the greens benefits. While the modern feeds are milled to balance and include the basic macro and micro minerals, these components are a bit outdated. I've come to the concludion that while these pelleted feed products are rather good, it should not replace the real thing, as in real food. For the same reason I still push my kids to eat their salads, and vegies, there are far more nutrients in real food, live food, than can be compiled in a nutrient pack that is added to a 10 ton batch of feed destined to be pelleted before bagging.
I'm with you George.
You can handle a blade of grass and evaluate it for poultry. The lawn type fescues are more digestible. Too hot here for them in the summer. Ironically, crabgrass is pretty good. Watch the birds and they will tell you.
Here, our dominant grasses are Bahia and Bermuda. Both are coarse and fibrous. If you keep Bahia watered, fertilized, limed, and cut it is not that bad. Otherwise the birds do not give it much attention.
I read a N. Korean study of them feeding Bamboo leaves to poultry exclusively. They survived, but they did not thrive. Afterwards they measured the intestines. They were longer than a control group showing some degree of adaptability. In the same study they fed a group white rice, and another brown rice. The birds fed white rice did not survive. Those fed brow rice did, and had poor performance, but did perform some.
Our chickens prefer to go for what most people would call weeds but are actually edible, and sometimes used as cover crops. They don't go after true grazing grasses like you find at the feed store to seed over pastures for larger livestock. They prefer things like dandelion, dock, henbit, clover, sow thistle, various small wild flowers, purslane - things we have growing wild in our pasture. I actually learned to ID some of these things in my research on edible weeds for people. They also enjoy the things I grow extra in the garden for them like spinach, arugula, lettuce. They aren't very fond of mustard or collard greens though.