Feed questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bbdal, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. bbdal

    bbdal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, so I have read sooo much about chicken feed. I haved determined a couple of things: I really don't want soy or gmo and do want organic if possible. So, here is what I have come up with and just wanted to run it by everyone...

    My local mill makes feed with the different protein amounts. However, they use soy. Other than tht, it seems to be a complete feed, nutrients, grit, etc. Their price is very reasonable, like 15 for 50 lbs and everything is organically raised, just not certified. So, my dilemma is replacing the protein. He hasfish meal, which I have read pros and cons with and am unsure about usin it or at least not in large quantities. I have price flax, sesame, sunflower seeds, etc. While they are pretty expensive, I could use them in some sort of comination with other protein. I have read about raising meal worms. That seems to be easy, cheap, good protein source. I have also read about sprouting grains/beans/peas and have seen where some say the protein increases, some say it doesn't. Some say it is highly worth the effort while others say it is not. I am open to tryig it out. I have also read that the fiber increases too much for the chickens to handle.

    So, given all of that, what does this plan sound like? Buy local feed with soy left out. Replace protein with 10% of total weight of flax, sprout for another 10% of their feed and finally throw in meal worms (not sure how to measure that). They will also be allowed to forage and I plan on planting them their own garden. How do I know if they are getting enough protein? At what age can they begin on this? I have bought medicated starter but really don't want to feed them the medication or at least not for very long since some will be meat birds. Also, any suggestions on what I could plant for them to forgae that thy would really like and that would be super healthy? I have read most greens and grasses are good for them. But, at the same time, I have read they can get too much oxalic acid.

    Any tips greatly appreciated. This is so confusing trying to figure out what to feed and we are just now picking them up a babies today. I am sure it is much easier to do once you are in the process.

    Thanks for help and patience!
     
  2. Slongest

    Slongest Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Im not sure how much this will help you but ill run it by you. Ive also experimented with different products to reach a higher protein level for my birds and Ive came to feeding local mill layer mash 16% with sunflower seeds thrown out each morning for the general population and in my expensive birds and breeding pens i feed (50%)16% layer mash mixed with (40%)21% medicated chick crumbles (10%) calf manna pellets and again i throw them sunflower seeds every morning as well. Ive been looking into growing mealworms just havent read or reasearched much about them yet.
     
  3. bbdal

    bbdal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I will look into your suggestions also!
     
  4. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Everything is organically raised and non-GMO? That's highly unlikely.

    I think you're worrying too much. If you can find a soy-free certified organic feed in your area, then buy it. Otherwise, get what is available and enjoy raising them chicks without fretting over the minutia.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    I've found that the Soy-free feed isn't all it is cracked up to be. When soy is replaced with Canola meal, that's not my idea of a good protein alternative. I prefer organic feeds. Soy is alright with me, so long as it is organic (non-GMO). Animal proteins are by far the best proteins if you can find the right one for boosting the protein level of feed. Fish meal would be fine, so long as it fresh and isn't preserved with ethoxyquin. I take a 22% organic starter and mix it with my 17% organic layer, or I give them some low sodium tuna once a week. One guy I know mixes racing pigeon feed in his layer pellets. He swears the chickens benefit from it. I wonder if people use nonfat milk anymore. A little buttermilk is something chickens enjoy. You just can't give them too much of it or they have loose droppings.

    I toss kale, chard, tomatoes from my garden to the chickens. They have plenty of grass to range on. You'll know your birds are getting enough protein if the have good musculature, and a meaty breast. They will be active birds. Get rid of areas on your property that harbor stagnant water. Fill them in or dig for drainage. Those are a detriment to healthy birds. I don't let mine range on their own until they are fully feathered, stout, and have already developed the habit of returning to the yard or coop. They should come when called, or to the sound of rattling feed in the bucket.
     
  6. bbdal

    bbdal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great advice, Michael! I have a feeling that chickens are one of those things you just get the hang of and will know if things are right or not. They are so much fun to watch already and we just got them yesterday. I did get some clarification on the feed today and our local mill can leave the soy out and add fish meal and flax and also use organic corn (because they grind certified organic cornmeal). Other than these changes, it will be their normal complete poultry feed. That sounds very simple to me, especially since it should be priced well (don't have price yet though) and since we will have a garden just for them (partly just to keep them out of ours).
    Thanks again everyone for your input.
     
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    You may know this but I'll mention it anyway. If they are going to mix fish meal in with your feed, find out what their source is. Don't buy large quantities as fish meal can go bad quickly and you don't want your chickens getting diseases. Keep it in a cool dry place and locked away from bugs/vermin.
     

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