Cheapskates feeding chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SamT, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. SamT

    SamT New Egg

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    Guys i have a flock of 10 rhode island reds. They are 6 or so months old. I was feeding veggie scraps, used eggshells and purina layena. They were eating me poor. I started mixing 30% or so fine cracked corn into the food and my feed cost went way down and my egg production is up also. I'm averaging 7-8 eggs a day. Hard shells, lots of 10 egg days, ect. Anyways I know i can feed cheaper, i dont need optimum production. I dont care anything about organic or gmo so that is no concern.
    They get all my veggie scraps and a little meat. Dogs get the meat. Hogs get bread and sweets. I planted their garden to triticale for the winter.
    At my disposal i have: a feed grinder, free junk wheat and oats (weevils got it), some descent wheat and trit, milo for market price (dirt cheap) , cracked corn $5/50lb, any cotton bi products (seed, gin trash pretty much free) i can get alfalfa hay and stuff like that to grind.
    Its hard to find info on this sort of program, all i find is anti-gmo and organic stuff. My grandpa says they fed whole milo and wheat and he fed a family of 6 on eggs. is this the way I should go?
     
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you will find this is a major points of contention among people on this site. There are several threads already running with people giving there views on both sides of the homemade feed, commercial feed debate.
    One recent such debate happened on the Cornish Thread https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/921333/any-home-bakers-here/3060#post_16112375. But if you search a the site you with find many debates and even some people's recipes.
    The most important thing to remember is Chickens are omnivores so they need a large mixing of food.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2015
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Not to mention that corn is already the main ingredient in layena. Adding 30% corn changes the optimal nutrition in the layena dramatically. Aside from the drop in vitamins and minerals and the excess energy, that mix will lower overall protein to 13.6% which is woefully inadequate for body maintenance, let alone egg production.

    If one wants to prove the efficacy of the cheapskate feed technique, I recommend splitting a flock of ten hens into two flocks of five and feed one layer feed only and the other the 30:70 corn feed ratio with table scraps. It will take a while to see the results. A couple weeks won't do it. Water soluble vitamins will be lost fairly fast but fat soluble vitamins will be retained in the hen's body for some time.
    The lack of protein will also take a while to show up. The hens will use protein reserves in muscle and organs in order to keep producing eggs till the get worn out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  4. ladyearth

    ladyearth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How do we know how much protein our chickens are getting?? when they always a scratching the ground for bugs etc? mine forage 1/2 acre fenced area then let out for hr or so before bed then so rest of property
     
  5. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    mine free-range all day. During the winter months, so like now, I start supplementing their diets with grain, liver, and kitchen scraps, along with access to commercial feed. So far so good. But I do not regard my chickens as pets, they are farm animals. I protect and feed them, I do not spoil them.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    When foraging, we don't know how much protein they're getting. But if your forages isn't huge and pristine, they will first deplete all available protein sources. In more northerly climes, there won't be much in the line of animal protein from now till April or May.
     
  7. SamT

    SamT New Egg

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    My chickens love meat scraps for protien, ribs seem to be a favorite. I shoot wild pigs so i can suppliment protien like that if i need more than just my craps the dogs shouldnt eat like ribs and chicken bones. The only thing my birds have turned down so far is onions.

    Ive been mixing the corn for almost 2 months and the birds look great and their egg production is pretty much maxed out so i guess they are getting protien from something.
    I dont need the 50-60 or so eggs a week i get, but its nice to give some away and have extra birds to absorb predator loss. Guess i will just play with the ration. I can always go back to feed if they oroduction gets crappy.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    The thing is that you are providing animal protein. The essential amino acids missing in corn and other vegetative sources are found in good amounts in the meat you are given.

    Most people don't have free sources of animal protein or are un-inclined to off it to their chickens. To the detriment of their chickens.

    Without knowing how much of anything they're given, I can't say. But if one wants to mix it up and feed animal protein sources, that is likely the key to health for your birds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015

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