Feeding w/ Biochar

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I started a very limited experiment yesterday morning at dawn with a group of seven cockerels in a pen consuming only feed I supply. A wetted feed mixture made up the day before included by dry weight approximately 5% biochar. Water was added to settle dust. Particle size of biochar varied from fine dust to stems of Switch Grass pushing 3/4" long. I was concerned about birds sifting avoid ingesting larger particulates so feed was left in an overturned bucket placed in feeding pale. If sifting through where to occur, I expected to see lots of black residual particles torwards the bucket opening. No such concentrations are evident. Feces of very dark nature were apparent by noon indicating very rapid processing. Shortly after birds went to roost I checked for crop fill which was not tight indicating they were not topping off just before night. I though this was becuase birds did not like feed so checked control groups. Males of similar age in other pens also did not have fully distended crops. All females and juveniles males did have fully distended crops.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    It appears less than 24 hours required for new diet totally replaces ingesta from previous diet. Possible exception will be in cecum which I have not seen yet or at least found it noteworthy of difference from the previous diet.


    I normally do not watch birds confined to feeding from feeders but it is evident feeding is much more continuous. Free-ranging birds have discrete bouts of feeding where everyone is involved and periods of loafing when no one is feeding.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    It is now 36 hours after start of biochar in diet. The more fibrous feces that goes strait through appears to be consistently darkened. Areas where birds have tracked feces are turning grey. Cecal feces has not changes markedly although I can see some flakes of biochar in that. Materials routed through the cecum I think take considerably longer to be passed.
     
  4. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    What is your purpose for adding the biochar to their food?

    I have regular charcoal (from clean burning wood only) in my chickens dust bath mixture. I notice they go through the dust bath and eat the charcoal bits out.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Trying see if they can eat it without troubles in amounts high enough to improve value of feces. Also looing for problems not thought through and one dealing with powder from feces getting everywhere is one of those problems.
     
  6. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Interesting. I noticed a difference in poo right away after I put the charcoal in their dust mix and they at it. The poo was much drier and definitely black. Charcoal also aides digestion.
    I completely forgot that I had this stuff in my cupboard!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Mine consume charcoal left from burning tree stumps as well. Sometimes enough to change appearance of feces. Particulate size of charcoals generally larger that the biochar dust I am playing with. Also shape of particulates notably different. The biochar from Switch Grass is more 2-dimensional.
     
  8. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well I'm interested with what you're doing so please keep posting! And I'll keep reading. [​IMG]
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
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    I will try to keep them on current diet for 14 days. At some point feces produced during night will be collected for a closer look. Ultimately the amount to be used will be less than the 5% I think.
     
  10. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    How are you calculating your 5%? Sorry, I'm terrible with mathematics! My bag of Biochar for gardening purposes says 1 cup Biochar to a 2 gallon container of dirt. FYI, I originally bought this for transplanting my dahlias.
     

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