Feeding the "Old fashioned way"

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Prairiewillow, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. eviemethugh

    eviemethugh Chillin' With My Peeps

    280
    53
    98
    May 14, 2015
    North Carolina

    Most chickens forage quite fine. The problem is they have been bred to the point that the birds weigh 3 lbs or more more than they used to and are high octane machines now. My grandma every diner where we have whole chicken asks how much it weighed and gets angry at us that we would make a poor bird so big. It's hard to explain to her that 6lbs at 12-20 weeks is normal. Or that our old roosters weigh close to 10!
    We get away with a lot of free range feeding because we live on a farm. One day they can turn the compost and find bugs, they get garden scraps almost every day, the pick through goat patties for bugs and seeds, we have fruit trees and they dig worms out of apples, grains are grown and fall to the ground for them all the time. Most people don't have access to what it takes for this type of hands off feeding, and we don't even take full advantage of it (we like to feed a balanced diet, what can I say...)
     
    3 people like this.
  2. HeritageGoose13

    HeritageGoose13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,201
    105
    148
    Apr 24, 2015
    My poultry books list the American game as an ornamental fowl. It doesn't have English listed for some reason, but it does have Modern Game, against listed for exhibition.

    If it's gamefowl you want try some of the more Asian breeds. They might be harder to find but they will have more instincts. They're typically used for meat. They look small because their feathers lay flat instead of fluffy, but they are said to have a high proportion of meat relative to their size.

    Try looking up:

    • Malay
    • Shamo
    • Aseel or Asil (same bird different spelling)

    Of these I think Aseel is most common. Shamo might be expensive, not sure about Malay.
     
  3. curtisbirds

    curtisbirds Out Of The Brooder

    40
    4
    26
    May 30, 2015
    Mississippi
    My older birds that are rescues are probably backyard mixes. None fit only one breed. The chicks I have are various "heritage" breeds, Rhode Island Red, White Leghorn, Dominique, Barred Rock, Delaware. I also got two Easter Eggers, an Austrolorp, and a Silver Laced Wyandotte. I was going for laying dependability, hardiness, and foraging skills. I plan on having a large flock of backyard mixes eventually. I'm hoping for a broody girl or two out of the bunch since my two older girls are a lay em and leave em mentality. The kids are grown and gone now so we're going more for the sustainability and self sufficiency of growing and raising our own food sources. We plan on getting a couple goats later this fall or next spring. We've also discussed bee keeping, I'm leaning towards the go ahead.
     
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I read all the time in this forum about how the chickens back in the early 1900s didn't lay as proficiently as the chickens we have now but everything I've read about chickens back then~written by the people who actually LIVED back then~ states just the opposite. Most of the egg laying records were made back then and have not been broken since then. My grandmother's flock laid very well, so not sure how y'all's grannies did the whole chicken thing but I think it's much like it is now....people who paid attention and kept layer breeds, used common sense, and actually managed their flocks got a higher yield than those who just "kept chickens".

    It's much the same as now...if you keep breeds that are not known for great laying, you'll not have great laying. If you keep and breed birds that lay exceptionally well and you actually breed for that characteristic, you'll get that result, no matter what you may be feeding. I've never been convinced we have to feed high pro performance type feeds to get good lay and I've seen it every year in my own flocks, which consists primarily on foraged feeds and are only supplemented with a common layer mash, now fermented..in the winter that is cut 50% with barley or oats. And they don't get much of that...just little enough to fill out(not FILL) the crop each day after they've foraged all day.

    That whole "chickens didn't lay as well back in the old days" saw gets repeated like it's gospel truth but I've yet to see any proof on that.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,233
    603
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    Does your book have Prarie Chickens? Lol :D THAT'S what i want...but theyre kinda endangered or possibly extinct ;) Guess that gives one the idea to BACKbreed to the original "grandmas' chicken"...

    Genetic engineering can be a wonderful thing when you're breeding for productivity, rate of gain, structure, disease resistance....but i find myself shopping heirloom catalogs and swapping seeds with friends because sometimes when a cross is made, invaluable traits are lost, sometimes never to be seen again.... One might breed for bigger eggs and lose the nonvisual phenotype of disease resistance. Some are for the profit, and some are for the health of the progeny. Most times it's about production and money. Now that leaves me with trying to find genetics that can live in the original environment that they came from!

    Ugh im just going to go get pheasant...but even THEY were introduced and not native! Lol everything " native" has been "improved". Bah. Lol :D

    Edit for my atrocious autocorrect
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  6. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,233
    603
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    You're good with words haha ;) yep I concur :D
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. HeritageGoose13

    HeritageGoose13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,201
    105
    148
    Apr 24, 2015
    Nothing on Prairie Chickens I'm afraid. There used to be a type of prairie chicken called the heath hen in Massachusetts but they died out from disease I believe- they should bring in some of the prairie ones and re-introduce them. Course I guess they're pretty rare on the prairie too.

    You say you want pheasant or gamefowl. Am I right in assuming you want something (a meat bird) that will basically take care of itself?

    May I suggest a few more species:

    • Pigeons (obviously these can find their own food, since they've gone feral and taken over the cities!)
    • Chukar partridge
    • Hungarian partridge

    If you live in America and want something really native and un-"improved" I suppose you could turkey hunting!
     
  8. curtisbirds

    curtisbirds Out Of The Brooder

    40
    4
    26
    May 30, 2015
    Mississippi
    Only problem is they have played with the genetics of turkeys so much to develop the largest breasts they can get that turkeys can't even breed naturally in commercial stock. So unless you can get a line on non commercial turkey it's not ideal to attempt raising commercial turkeys in a backyard setting due to the need of artificial insemination to procreate your stock.

    I've been considering turkeys myself, so I've been doing allot of research. I'm hoping to get a line on turkeys of non commercial lines. Nothing like a fat tom turkey walking through the yard.
     
  9. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,233
    603
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    It's odd you mention turkeys lol... Yes I am smack dab in the middle of the US and wild turkey, pheasant, and bobwhite are our "wild" birds....once in a great while we do see what we consider "prairie chickens" and they remind me of the Road Runner haha :D .... Yes, I want a chicken that I can literally set free.. We get wild turkeys and set them free, bobwhite and they go free, mallards but they stick around pretty good...then hunting season comes and since the birds all flock to the river, my birds get hunted.... So...it can be quite expensive of a hobby.... I would like to be able to contain them somewhat to keep them safe, but know that a few could go out and do their thing in the wild.... Oh my I sound like one of those people that dump cats lol....

    But on the old fashioned feeding...thats why I want old fashioned chickens, do they can hide and I'll never catch them...unless I actually hunt them...maybe that's TOO old fashioned haha ;)

    My granny always had a huge beautiful garden, and I do too...everything goes to the chickens...in fact, I grow them an herb and flowerbed JUST for them and they get the weeds I pull etc... I grow my own grains and fiddle with finding things that they can eat to get the vitamins they may be lacking during certain times of year.... But really, they're pretty smart and know what their little chicken bodies need... My grandmas never had to supplement, or add electrolytes, or even worm them...and really, I don't see any reason to either... I like old fashioned; making things in convenience packaging isn't always the best tasting ;)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  10. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,233
    603
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Yep. Exactly...and we can't raise commercial turkeys because the wild toms will come steal our hens!!! :D
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by