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Fermenting Feed for Meat Birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by shadowmane, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I wouldn't even bother cooking them...just crush them and add them to the mix! Great idea and I will try it also. Usually I just feed them the shells directly, crushed and placed back into the layer mash but since I'm fermenting layer mash for the layers when they come, I'll just throw the shells right in there.

    That's why I love these forums...every once in awhile you can get a good exchange of ideas going that really enrich the whole learning process when it comes to raising your own foods.

    So..the vinegar mix doesn't harm the plants at all? You'd think it would make the soil a little acid, wouldn't you? I already crush egg shells and place them in the same hole as I plant the tomatoes but I never thought of soaking in vinegar first....thanks for the great tip!!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

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    When you spray it on the plants you dilute 20 to 1 w/ water. (well 20 water 1 Ca++ vinegar)
     
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  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I'll look into that...could be that I'll try it!
     
  4. jenny_kap

    jenny_kap Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Kassaundra, can you give a few more details about soaking the egg shells in vinegar? i'm very interested about this. how many egg shells in how much vinegar? how long? how you spray it on the plants? thank you very much.
    Beekissed, i used to mix the chicken food with water because this is how i saw my mom doing it. i had no idea why it is better this way [​IMG]. when i had turkeys, i added choped fresh alfalfa to my mix of cereals and i had great results. next year, when i had only chickens and ducks i tried when they were about one month old, they were not very interested and i gave up [​IMG]. next time i wont.
     
  5. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love this thread! I have meaties (a mixtures of red rangers and rosambro from MT-DI hatchery, so far some of the best meat chicks I've had, but they're only 1.5 weeks old) and I know that I don't want to feed them the same stale overprocessed commercial feed I fed my last two batches of meaties. Not only does that go against the very reason I raise my own meat chickens (to have healthier meat from humanely raised animals), but I agree with you that just because "they" say it is healthier doesn't mean that it is. I had EPIDEMIC nutrient deficiency in the last batch I had on commercial feed- over 20% of a batch of 50 went completely down in the legs at 2 weeks old, the result of a niacin deficiency. Thankfully someone here helped me pinpoint it (I'm wondering if it may have even been beekissed... I'll have to look it up) and I was able to control and treat it using a combination of chick vitamins and brewer's yeast (I was also giving raw ACV and molasses in the water, but neither supply niacin) and only lost one of the chicks who got overly chilled when he wasn't able to get back to the heat lamp due to loss of control of his legs.

    BUT the only organic feed available to me (that I've been able to find) is purina layer feed, there is no organic meatbird feed, not even any unmedicated meat bird feed. And I have tried to find the ingredients to mix my own whole seed feeds, but the guy at my feed store basically laughed me off, saying I woulldn't be able to do it and it wouldn't be cost effective. I don't agree with him, but I don't want to have to deal with someone like that every time I try to buy my ingredients.

    So, as I read this entire thread, I got some ideas and I had some questions. First the questions:

    Most of you seem to mostly be fermenting lower protein grains. What about field peas? I know enough about the fermentation of grains and legumes (I, too, am a fan of Sally Fallon and Nourishing Traditions) to know that beans should not be fermented in acid like grains are because it toughens the outer shell (with the exception of black beans, I believe). I can only assume that would apply to field peas as well.

    Do you feel from your experience this provides enough protein for your birds? I know the underlying theme of this thread was everyone's nutritional needs are different, but how would you sum up the overall experience as compared to past experience with meat birds- is dressed weight similar?

    I have a few ideas for what I may do (and I have like a week to figure it out- in the mean time I think I'm going to start fermenting the chick starter for all my chicks, both layer and meatie, and my adult birds I will at least try it. It just makes sense to me): My feed store carries $50 bags of corn, wheat, and oats, and they also carry scratch. All are around $10 or $11 per bag. I could just buy that and ferment it and see how they do.

    OR, I could do that but mix it half and half with either the higher quality unmedicated %18 chick starter through finish to bring up the protein while negating cost (because that feed is like $16 per 40lbs while the crappier stuff I use is $12 per 50lbs).

    OR there is an organic grain mill like 3 hours North of me that sells both bulk and 50lb bags for really reasonable prices. They do sell layer and starter but no meatbird feeds which had frustrated me, but I'm thinking I could use the higher percentage starter and mix it half and half with some of the grains they offer (I can get transitional 19% feed for $19, transitional Barley for $10, organic oats for $10, and organic triticale for $10, all for 50lb bags). Because it's so far away I would obviously want to get a lot, but overbuying isn't really an issue because in addition to the 26 meaties that I need to feed for the next 9-11 weeks I also have 26 layer chicks who will need chick starter (or whatever I decide to feed) for the next 20 or so weeks, or until POL. But if anyone has a rough suggestion about how many # to buy to last me at least 3-4 weeks with fermented feed, that would be awesome. I love the idea of feeding organic, I do really value it, but I am also pretty tight, and paying $30 a bag for feed, especially in the winter when a bag of feed only lasts me like 3 days, never set well with me.

    Any input on those options would be awesome.
     
  6. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This too...
     
  7. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and I just remembered another question I had.

    What about when it's cold? This seems totally doable for me when it's possible to keep the fermenting mixture in the shed, but I can't imagine hauling it from the house every day when it's cool... which is pretty much 7 months of the year here. I sprouted wheat inside for my chickens over the winter, and that alone was a PITA mostly because of the way my house is set up (there is no porch/entryway, so I had to store the wheat in the basement and sprout on the kitchen counter nearest the door, and I hated having it take up that much space). Right now the mix wouldn't exactly freeze, but I don't think much fermentation is going to happen at 50, which has been our high lately (other than a few isolated days).
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Quote: I didn't do this(feed FF) with my last batch of meaties but they ate pretty much what my layer flock ate....layer ration mixed with some whole grains. They had appropriate finishing weights and all were healthy and thriving. They free ranged with my flock.

    The batch I'm raising now are weighting in~by the hatchery schedule standards~at the 4 wk. age and mine are 5 wks. They are one week behind on their weights(which was my goal..a slower grown, healthier bird) and I have used $41 in feed. One thread on here posted their feed cost for 50 CX at 5 wks had been $130. A big difference.

    I will say that these birds of mine seem to be eating an enormous amount of bugs and worms during their foraging...this place is a gold mine for foraging birds. Maybe this winter was too warm to kill off some of the bugs? I don't know. But..who knows just how much supplemental protein is going on for my flock that wouldn't be obtained by others trying this method of feeding? Too many variables in this experiment to say for sure.

    Here's the question I have about protein and the thought that this particular breed of chicken needs more protein to live and develop than do layer birds. Why is that, exactly? If a laying flock stay healthy, fat and producing on layer mash and produce well, live to be a ripe ol' age and maintain good condition, why then is it imperative that these CX have extreme high percentages of protein to "put on muscle"?

    They were bred with the genetics to lay on more muscle, deeper muscle layers, than their DP counterparts but does this mean that they MUST have high pro to develop those muscles? If you have the genetics to be a tall person and you eat the same thing as your shorter brother, will you just be short like him or will you develop what your genetic code says you will? If it is adequate protein for a layer bird, it is adequate protein for a meat bird~at least that is my conclusion.

    Saying that lower protein feeds will stunt the ability of the CX to develop muscle is like claiming that bantam breeds need the lowest protein to keep them smaller and then the layers need a medium protein to keep them at standard size, so the CX must need high protein to make them heavier, meatier breeds. Genetics are genetics and what food suffices to keep one bird healthy will do the same with another.

    Everything I've read about these CX on this forum tells me that feeding the high pro and pushing these birds to their limits of gain seems to yield the wrong kind of product...the very same product that I see hauled out of commercial broiler houses by the tractor bucket load and thrown on the litter pile, dead as a doornail.

    Horror stories about "flip", malformed and weak legs, rotten flesh on the breast bones, wing tips, etc and blisters on the breasts that have pocket abscesses underneath, heat stress that results in heart attacks...you name it, I've read it here.

    Why in the world would anyone want to copy that method of raising chickens and expect that it would yield meat fit for our family's consumption? I've often wondered that. Also...why would anyone continue to do it that way after you had those results? I know many here raise them to sell and are hoping to make a profit...and they seem to do so.

    By moving them once a day over the grass in small pens, they can market them as pastured poultry and get more for their efforts....but I've seen that up close and personal on Salatin's place and I got an education real quick and in a hurry about what "pastured" means to Salatin....it's a marketing gimmick and has no real value for the health or nutritional value of the meat grown there. These birds are fed continuous feeds of commercially prepared feeds and the pasture they are supposedly consuming is soiled and trampled within minutes of this crowded pen being positioned upon it. If they are getting a mouthful of the poopy grass before it is trampled by the feet and bodies of their flockmates, I'd be very surprised.


    Sorry....this obsession over protein gets me going. I didn't mean to drag up the soapbox but I face this over and over with the thinking about raising CX.

    Gotta do it like the big boys 'cause it took 50 years of research to learn how to get these birds fat in a short amount of time! You simply can't raise CX in any other way~by their thinking~because that's the way that everyone is doing it, so it must be right.

    Poor chickens.

    Poor people eating that meat later on.

    Glad I have access to a better way to produce a better product and I'm glad there are some folks visiting this thread that want to try a different way also.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I completely agree with you, actually, although it is a little bit shocking to see someone scorn Salatin. I have never seen his operation so I can only take your word for it, but I do have to say that has been my experience with tractored cornish X- they don't actually consume any pasture. I do like it "better" than the traditional method of raising meat birds because I simply think it is better for them to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine and to be moved to clean ground instead of wallowing in their own filth (which they do no matter how often you clean in an enclosed setting). But you're right, it doesn't improve their actual diets. Which is why I've also switched to a different variety- I figured that if they don't graze in tractors, they won't graze on free range, either, and I was worried that on range they would all be hawk fodder because they have NO instincts (at least mine never did) to do chicken-y things like, you know, hide from hawks.

    And this is why I am even more inspired to feed them better, or as better as I can afford. I don't think they need higher protein than other birds, I just know (in the loosest sense of the word) that chickens need protein. Period. And I figure the chick starter is a good option because layer would be too high in calcium and all the meatbird feeds sold around here are medicated, but I can get unmedicated chick starter.

    I also agree with you that it's better for them to grow slower. I am a tad worried that it's going to mess up my processing date (I'm a wimp, I don't process my own... I have and I could, I just don't) because the place I take them fills up fast, and since these are slower growing varieties and I am feeding them in a way to grow them slower yet, I really have no idea when to make the appointment. I have one already for when the chicks are about 10 weeks, perhaps I should call and move it back to 12 weeks, or keep both and cancel one when it gets closer.

    Anyway, I started my first batch of chick starter fermenting... in my kitchen, since it's like 42 degrees outside. Hopefully that isn't for long, lol! I'll probably get another set of buckets or two and start on a three day rotation, as I'll probably do a two day ferment at least until it gets warmer. Then I think I'm going to do the 1/2 and 1/2 mixture with the locally available grains and keep using unmedicated chick starter. Once I get this down I'll start doing it for my layers as well.
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I used to be Joel's biggest fan...read all his books and tried a lot of his methods for pasture and such. LOVED the man....until I actually saw his place. BIG eye opener and the scales fell off my vision right there and then. Lot's of things written in the books were not being practiced on the farm and I got to see that most of it was a marketing gimmick. He still has a lot of good methods for pasture development but they are not new...folks in NZ and Australia have been doing them for a long time. Salatin has made a business off of telling it louder and that's his thing. Feet of clay, sad to say.

    CX WILL forage and they forage better than any other bird I've raised, bar none. Mine are STILL out on 3 acres of land, when I can barely see and they are foraging. They won't stay in the fencing and they won't come to the coop for FF feeds...I have to confine them to the coop in the mornings to make them eat some of the feed now~and they won't clean it up..I have to finally dump it on the ground so they can scratch at it before they will eat it. They have no interest in grains now that they have tasted the raw diet in the wild green yonder.

    These are quite hawk savvy...of course, my roo taught them to heed a warning call but he is gone and they still duck and cover, so the instincts are there and intact.
     

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