Feeding Chickens

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by cjhubbs, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. cjhubbs

    cjhubbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello,
    I have been raising chickens for the past 5 years and have always fed them with a commercial chicken feed. This never was a problem until this year when the price of animal feed has begun to sky rocket. The normal 50 pound bag of egg layer feed that we get went from $10:50 at the beginning of the year to $16:00 by now and is rising. I was wondering if there are any cheaper ways I could feed my chickens without sacrificing the nutrients they need? Also is there a way that I could not only get feed cheaper and it doesn't require hours and hours of work? Secondly, I am planning on beginning my adventure of raising eat birds next year and I noticed that the price of meat bird feed is also rising. I was wondering if I have to feed the meat birds, in this case Cornish x, the generic meat bird feed or do I have other cheaper options? Thank you so much for you help!
     
  2. mcoleman12

    mcoleman12 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm always looking for something cheaper so i'm following this thread!! I go through 50lbs of feed in less than two weeks. I'm reading about fermenting their food??
     
  3. cjhubbs

    cjhubbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 6, 2012
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    I was wondering if anyone has recipes for homemade chicken food? i have been looking around but it seems like most of the ingredients fro the recipes will cost more altogether then pre-mixed feed. Also, I was wondering how you all feed your chickens and how do you minimize waisted feed?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would read about fermenting feed and growing fodder. Fermenting feed can make the feed you are paying for more nutritious and also make it last longer. There are several good threads on the site.

    You can also grow your own fodder indoors as a cheap but healthy supplement to feed. I also farm my own mealworms for a very cheap, high protein snack.

    Free ranging also helps if you are not already doing that.

    I feed a grower mash to all of my birds and they tend to spill a lot of the powder into the dirt. I make them eat it by removing the feeder every so often just for 1 day or 1/2 day. They then peck up all the dust. (They will only do this when given no other option) I have also heard of people wetting mash so it is less able to spill.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  5. cjhubbs

    cjhubbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Interesting, I never thought about fermenting the chicken feed but I guess you learn something new every day. I read about 6 pages into the article but I still have a few questions. I was wondering I would continue to feed my birds the 16 percent egg layer they are getting now and ferment it or could I just give them cracked corn or grains? If I can what mix of grains should I use? Thirdly, what type of feeder should I use to feed the mash, currently I have a hanging feeder but it already seems to be on its last legs with the dry crumble? Lastly, would it be a good idea to try making the fermented feed in my garage that can get close freezing during the middle of the winter for a few select nights? Thank you so much for your help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am wanting to start fermenting but I haven't actually started yet so I am unfortunately not the best person to ask. I believe you can ferment your layer feed but I would double check that. I think most people use a more trough like feeder. Because the fermented feed has AVC I would avoid anything galvanized.

    Good luck! I plan on starting next year when I have more time. I'll let you know how it goes. Please do the same.
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Watch fermenting feed, you will have to supplement a energy source since when you ferment feed you are changing the sugars (energy) into vinegar.
    If you don't supplement the energy your bird will eat a lot more feed to meet there energy needs and if they cant get there energy needs there egg production can drop and they will not grow or hold weight well.

    Chris
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. lbrtyldy

    lbrtyldy Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you have an example of "a energy source" that you mention?
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Animal Fat, Whole Roasted Soybean, Corn, Molasses, Soybean Meal, Wheat and Oats are all a good source of energy.

    ETA - The above should not be fermented to be used as a energy source.


    Chris
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  10. cjhubbs

    cjhubbs Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much for your help. I think I am starting to see how the fermentation process works. I still am wondering if it is cost effective though? I was wondering if anyone has done any calculations of feeding dry feed vs. fermented feed to their birds before? I also was wondering how adding this energy source would work? Would I add it to the fermented feed right before I feed it to the birds? I also was wondering if there were any feed recipes for fermented feed that are cost effective? I read a few and was wondering if trying and equal mix of cracked corn, wheat, barley, oats and molasses would be a good feed for the chickens? Thanks for the help
     

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