Cheaper Organic Feed? - Lettuce, Tomatoes, Mealworms, Etc.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tatswell, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. tatswell

    tatswell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    During these winter months my flock is unable to forage, so I am spending a lot of money supplementing their feed. I only have 5 ducks- as a backyard hobby- but I am spending $50 a week just on lettuce and tomatoes alone. Not including their layer feed, straw, cracked corn (to bulk them up for the winter for warmth), treats- handful 2x/day - mealworms (not cheap), ultra kibble, and occasionally other treats like shrimp, etc.
    Between all of it I am spending roughly around $100 a week, give or take.
    Any cheaper ideas or resources would be great! - Preferably organic. [​IMG]
     
  2. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    None of the things you're feeding your birds in addition to the layer feed are actually helping. Feed them a good flock maintenance feed (16-20% protien) and cut out the treats. They'll be better off for it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
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  3. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Look into raising your meal worms, growing fodder/greens/sprouts in your kitchen, maybe keeping a cherry or other small tomato plant indoors next winter.
    A few handfuls per day is all you really need if they're getting a good layer ration. :) The greens & meal worms are the most beneficial, so I would focus on those first.
     
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  4. tatswell

    tatswell Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes- it's the organic greens and mealworms that are the most expensive. They get those routinely in the winter. I go through one bag of organic Romaine hearts a day (bag of 3 hearts @ $3.99/4.99 a bag). Near impossible for me to keep up with that for an indoor garden. The tomatoes are fairly easy only spend about $5 a week. I garden heavily in the spring and summer but these winter costs are rough.
     
  5. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you tried resprouting the bottom/core of the romaine heads? I've read mealworms are almost free once you get them going. But I've seen the price per pound for even the larger bags of mealworms - yikes!! Can your ducks eat BOSS? That is the primary winter source of protein for my chooks, but I'm not sure how ducks feel about them. They are more expensive shelled than whole, but if they can digest & utilize that protein it might be a better savings than the dry mealworms. I am looking into a worm farm for my chickens (primarily in winter), but I have 42 and it would have to be pretty big so I haven't gotten around to setting it up yet.

    I hope someone else jumps on here, too. You could try searching the threads for fodder - that's when you sprout whole grains for the flock. It's like sprouts or microgreens for poultry.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    An all flock feed - even organic will be cheaper than all the stuff you can come up with and lettuce, tomatoes and mealworms will give you an unknown nutrient input.

    It is the economy of scale. Feed companies buy grains by the trainload, micro nutrients by the ton. You're buying several heads of lettuce and perhaps grains by the #50 bag. That's way too expensive.
    They can make a complete feed and sell it to you in #50 bags for less than you can come up with something inferior.

    You can sprout grains and do other things but it won't help your bottom line.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2015
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Cut out all the treats,,,, there doing nothing but depleting nutrients.
    Just feed them a good feed that is around 20% protein, that will do far more good.
     
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  8. Tutu of 5

    Tutu of 5 Out Of The Brooder

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    We don't really have much of a "winter" here in Hawai'i, but for "treats" I sprout mung beans, adzuki beans and wheat berries for my 6 hens. They love them and I make sure I refill their pellet hangers 1st thing in the morning so they fill up on pellets before presenting them with the fresh stuff. I also throw grass cuttings from my lawn mowing days into their run and they have a ball searching for bugs and wild flowers with those. I give them about 3 cups total of fresh sprouts/flowers per day (used to be 5 until people here told me to keep that type of food to a minimum). My 6 girls lay 5-6 eggs every day, so I think it's all good.
     
  9. roseyred

    roseyred Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I bulk up there feed with organic whole peas. It was like $20 a 50lb bag? And I bet if you soaked em they'd be more treat like. I just add half of a scoop of peas to every scoop of feed I give them. I get them from countrysideorganics.com
     
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  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    That's what happens when non poultry nutritionists tinker with a balanced ration. While peas are nutritious and relatively high in protein, they're particularly low in methionine, cystine and tryptophan.
    http://pubs.aic.ca/doi/pdf/10.4141/cjps79-103
    Deficiencies of the sulfur amino acids methionine and cystine are growth limiting in diets.
    While cystine can be considered a non-essential amino acid because methionine can be irreversibly converted to cysteine, the supply of methionine must be adequate. If methionine is deficient, that makes cystine essential. If both cystine and methionine are deficient, as they are in peas and one cuts their feed 50:50 with peas, they are in fact cutting the supply of these two essential amino acids in half. Since feed contains a minimum appropriate level, the result is a deficient feed mix.

    It isn't adequate to consider total crude protein when supplementing feed because chickens have so many amino acids that are considered essential, several more than for humans. What this means is that chickens don't actually have a set requirement for crude protein but they do for individual amino acids. It's the theory of limiting amino acid concept.
    http://feed-additives.evonik.com/pr...nutrition/animal-nutrition/pages/default.aspx

    Methionine and Cystine are not readily available from vegetative sources. Since most feeds are vegetarian, it's necessary to add synthetic methionine.
    If one were to boost their feed with an animal protein like fish or porcine meal, they might be able to overcome that limiter.

    Methionine is required for the biosynthesis of many important substances involved in growth including choline and melatonin among others.
    The deficiency of methionine reduces weight gain, feed efficiency and protein content in the carcass This increases feed intake, contributing to additional energy causing an increase in body fat deposition.


    ETA
    Sorry, I just re-read and saw you only mix 33:66 so you're only cutting the sulphur amino acids by a third.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
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