Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by hellbender, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2011
    The only time I have ever had a bird get fat was the recently butchered Emily. The CornishX that got away at butcher time and went an additional 2 months. This points to a breed that really needs to be butchered young. I've never seen as much fat as you posted in those pics! Whew!!!

    And this really says a lot, but mainly, "Where you start is not where you end." We don't know what we don't know. And the more we learn the more there seems to be to learn. But you can't focus on everything at once. I realize that I REALLY need to get focused reading all these posts. I need to decide where my strengths have been and go with those and then find some avenues to really learn to discern and get comfortable with!
    I thought this was a thoughtful post.

    [​IMG] Oh no you don't!!! You can't tease us like that! Please find the post number....[​IMG]

    All this being said, I just haven't had a lot of the problems I see on other threads. I have raised my birds very naturally with not too much fuss. I use a lot of herbs. I use fermentation and feed my girls curdled raw milk. I give sick birds a chance but I'm pretty quick to cull sickly birds. Don't get me wrong, I love chickens and I love working with them and paying attention to how they work. I just think a little pragmatism goes a long way with these animals. Keep roosts at 18" to avoid bumblefoot? Soak the hen in an epsom salts bath every hour, drying in between...? Ah, no.

    Maybe on my pedigrees, but I'm going for vigor. Anyone with me on this?
  2. Frenchcuffs13

    Frenchcuffs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2015
    After much reading and research I must say I prefer mixed breed chickens. I have all
    'purebred' ones, and unfortunately in a residential situation. I will live through your pictures and chats about your lovely endeavors. So please post your pics for us dreamers! Thank you ever so much! [​IMG]
  3. Gramma Chick

    Gramma Chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 19, 2012
    Jordan New York
    Ducks Are cute as babies ...But I thought chickens were bad ...till I got ducks ...
    What a mess they are ...The more water you give them the more of a mess they make in their coop .
    they can make a wet poop cake of their bedding overnight ..bedding has to be added every day
    I love the 3 drakes I got ...Straight Run ...But they are Messy .

    .they are not as friendly as chickens either ..dont like being picked up at all .

    3 people like this.
  4. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    These are things that you have to sort out for yourself. You cannot go by what other people do on this. You can only use it as a starting place. You have to get to know your own birds, and evaluate them for yourself.

    There are breed relevant concerns, but I have never heard of anything like that with the breeds you have chosen. Malays are an example. If fed too high of a protein feed they get too big for their legs too soon, and develop leg problems. There are more, but the point is that you have to know your own birds. % of protein except when they are deprived will not affect the final size, though it will affect the size early on in their lives.

    If your birds are hatchery, they will be much different than the typical Standard bred Langshans and Giants. There will be a huge difference. If they are Standard bred, talk to the breeder (not propagator). Ask them what they do, but ask them why. The why matters more than the what. Then think for yourself as you move forward.

    If you take one batch and feed them 24%, and then feed another batch of genetically similar birds (same breed and strain), and fed them 20% . . . . assuming all else is equal on the feed . . . . what you will see is a difference between the two at eight weeks. By twelve weeks there will still be a difference, but the % difference will be smaller. By 20 wks. you will see the average getting pretty close to the same. By 32 wks. there will not be a difference between them that you can tell.
    Now genetics plays a part so they will not be precisely the same. Who knows which batch the runt is in etc. Which batch has the largest bird? You would have to do a thousand birds to get it precise. You know how statistics and averages work. BUT . . . if you are observant, you will be able to interpret the results, and you will see that the trend is that the 20% birds catch up with the 24% birds. The size of the bird has little to do with it, because they eat an appropriate amount more feed. Their genetic rate of growth seams to make more of a difference.
    I have done this, and I have done this more than once. I have watched it play out in front of me more than once. The numbers are for illustration, but you will find that the trend is there.

    The only reason that I feed 24% up to eight weeks is that it helps them "get feathered". Then this habit started when I was hatching earlier in the year. I was pushing them out of the brooder box. The biggest difference is seen in the first 8wks. Then the difference is gradually smaller and barely recognizable by the time they are at the end of their growth curve.

    My experience is that the birds that were genetically predisposed to grow slower, benefited the least from higher protein feeds. Ironically, the smaller lighter birds saw the biggest gains. They also tended to lay too early.

    When they are ranging, and you are feeding them 24%, they are not eating 24%. Even 20% clover is half water. Grass is usually less, and sometimes much less.

    What you want to accomplish with these birds has a lot to do with how you manage them. You are the manager. Either you manage them well, or you do not manage them well. They belong to you, and you want them to do a particular thing. They are limited by their genetic potential. You want them to reach their genetic potential. You also have to manage the costs. Is the results worth this or that. Can they reach their genetic potential without the extras?

    The extras are often more about what makes us feel good rather than actual results. Numbers do not lie, but our emotions will. Mine lie to me all of the time.

    There is a tendency to try to compensate for genetic deficiencies with what we can do.

    24% protein will not hurt your birds. It is not enough to hurt them while they are growing. It is up to you to realize at what point the extra protein is becoming a waste. They get to a point where they cannot use it all, and there is a place where it is not a benefit to you. Where is that? That is a place for you to find.

    Protein has a pushing effect when they are growing. The younger they are, the more affect that it has. Learn your birds growth curve, and you will be able to make better decisions. There is no benefit in pushing pullets. You do not want to delay them. Point of lay does matter, but you are better off with them laying a week later than earlier. For one, their egg size will be bigger sooner. For another they are still growing at this age. They will grow less laying, than they will not laying.

    Once you get settled in, and your devoted to a single breed, you try to improve them and your methods from year to year. You get to know them pretty intimately. You find your own methods and your own rhythm. Then you will be telling people what you do and why. If you are observant, you will have something of value to contribute. All of these different perspectives are helpful. If we keep it in perspective. We all have different goals, and different birds. Except for extremes, and they are out there, no one is right or wrong. The numbers do not lie though. The condition of your birds will not lie either. If the numbers make sense, and the birds are in good condition, then you have managed them well.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2015
  5. gjensen

    gjensen Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 22, 2011
    Midlands, South Carolina
    I did ducks once. Once. LOL.

    I am just kidding. Kind of.
  6. hellbender

    hellbender Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 2, 2013
    Grinder's Switch
    It has never made much sense to me to mess with trying to rehab the average bird. 99.9 % of invalid birds are quickly dispatched and put into the 'Formula'.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    For years I have raised moderately large horses, 16-17 hands, 1200-1400 pounds, and slow maturing. My feeding logic was that hay and browse was the natural diet, and formulated grains are an add on. Meaning formulated grains in no way reflect the natural diet of a horse in any way. I selected a high QUALITY product: corn and soy based because the amino acid profiles compliment each other well.The foals stayed with mom a long time to mimic wild horses and the babies got SMALL amounts of grain. When weaned, they continued to receive much less than the big barns fed their youngsters. I never had joint issues in my babies that the big barn had. THey were producing thoroughbreds that would start racing at a very young age. I just couldnt see the point of causing severe joint problems which resulted in the foals staying in a stall for weeks, which also causes other developmental problems. My 5 year old mare just put on a couple inches this last year, that is a bit unusual to grow so much at that age;and the 3 year old out grew her blankets this winter.
    Again, horses are not chickens, and not dogs.THough dogs are omnivores, like a chicken. Historically dogs did not get to stuff their tummies everyday. It was what the pack could bring home after a kill, and then leftovers from the humans. In a big dog slow growth is better for the joints. Many years ago I had looked into the IRish WOlf hounds . . . but settled on ROtties instead.

    SLow growth can be a good thing. I have been reconsidering the Giants. FOr when I can grow all my own feed, which will not be anytime soon. lol

    Feed to fit the animal.
  9. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    1 person likes this.
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    You'll find that slow growth in WRs also~particularly the heirloom lines, with a density of meat you'll not find in many other breeds. They gain and maintain good size on much less than other breeds eat and do well on a more naturally foraged diet, gaining weight all the while. And if they are bred right, they are amazingly good, consistent and long time layers. I've found they lay best if kept a little lean, instead of carrying too much fat.

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