Finally Downsizing....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by onionheadtg2014, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. onionheadtg2014

    onionheadtg2014 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I know how awful this is going to sound but I made it better.... In april I bought 60 chickens, I built a 20ft by 15ft run and a 6 foot by 8 foot coop(for egglaying only). This is obviously too small for that many birds but I was letting them grow in here with plans of building a bigger run. As the time came along to build the run I didn't have the money. So yes the pen is very overcrowded. I sold 15 a month ago and that didn't seem like much. So today I sold 30 more. Now my pen is better and my birds are happier and so am I. My feed bill was at 100 dollars a month. So before you yell at me I am just venting and sharing with you my experience and my lesson learned. Now comes the fun part. How much feed will 15 chickens eat a month? I know that it depends on how I feed them and the bird but I would like an approximation. I want to make them happy and healthy. I have learned my lesson and have learned to fight my chicken addiction and to be reasonable as to how many I have and how much space I have. They all went to a good home and will live happily ever after.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I have 16 pullets/hens and one roo. Go through a bag of feed about every 6 weeks, a bit longer if i give scratch, even longer still if they get a lot of free range time. FR time limited now b/c we've just had yard work done and will be seeding a new lawn within the next week. BTW, I ferment my feed. That also cuts way down on the feed bill while giving the flock excellent nutrition.
     
  3. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How do you ferment the food? Never heard of that, but very interested.[​IMG]
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    For a complete overview, go to feeding and watering your flock, and search the fermented feed threads. Basically, you take a bucket which will hold twice as much as you intend to feed per day. Put your feed in the bucket, and add enough water to make it the consistency of cooked oatmeal. Be sure to use a big enough bucket as the stuff soaks up an incredible amount of water, and swells A LOT. Add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar WITH THE MOTHER. Braggs and Heinz are 2 brands you might check. The bottle needs to say "with the mother" on it. This is the active culture that gets the ferment going. You can just do it with feed and water, but the vinegar gets things bubbling quicker. Stir it 2 - 3 x/day, and when it bubbles, it's ready to feed. Hold back a 1/2 cup to provide the culture for the next batch. Add more feed to your bucket, water and stir. I rotate 2 buckets, so there's always a bucket ready to feed. The first ferment will take 2 - 3 days, after that, it should be ready to go in 24 hours. You only have to add the ACV to the first batch. If I have any whey left from yogurt, I add that. Some folks start their culture with buttermilk. Don't cover your bucket, and DON"T USE A METAL BUCKET OR SPOON, OR FOOD DISH. THE FEED IS QUITE ACIDIC, AND WILL CORRODE METAL.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    when you find through trial and error the right number of chickens for your set up, you really do get a more peaceful flock. While you can base some of it on numbers, it is kind of trial and error.

    However, I have found you can cheat a little, but come fall, you have to get tough with yourself. In the late spring, early summer, you can run a lot more head if you free range. So that is when I add a broody hen with chicks. The daylight hours are long and most of the day is outside, often outside the coop/run. However, come the fall, the day gets shorter, and now the birds are spending more time inside the coop, verses outside at all.

    That is when you have to have your numbers right.

    Mrs K
     
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  6. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    I have 16 birds and we go through a bag of feed in about 5 weeks. We don't free range.

    The fermented feed idea sounds interesting, if it cuts down on costs, I'm all for trying it.
     
  7. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Do these birds lay eggs? 50 lbs. in 5 weeks translates to less than .10/lb/per bird/day. Even the smallest layer should eat about 1/4 lb. per day. Just curious, as my 12 layers historically have gone thru 80-100 lbs. a month. They get scratch everyday etc., but don't free range. 16 birds would technically eat at least 120 lbs./month if they get nothing else.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I feed out dry feed, 2 qts/day = approx 1/2 c/day for 16 pullets and 1 roo. My feed is fermented, and they get some free range time every day with few exceptions, often are out all day. They also get food scraps which varies, sometimes only the scrapings from a cooking pot, other times they make out quite well when my 7 y.o. doesn't finish a meal. When they don't free range, they get a quart of scratch, and sometimes get that anyways when I have to round them up early. When I sent my meat birds to freezer camp, I pulled about a pound of fat out of the female's body cavities, and they had fatty livers. Of course with all those meat birds, they were eating a lot more. at that time, I was feeding about 5-6 qts/day for 32 birds. I would challenge any one who is going through a lot of feed to try fermented feed for one week. Also, realize that chickens are a lot like dogs. Given the chance, they will eat much more than they need to the detriment of their health.
     
  9. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    We have 3 layers and the rest are almost to that point at about 19 weeks old. They have a feeder in the coop, which they have access to all day, and 2 feeders in their big enclosed run. None of the feeders are ever get totally empty. I keep a close eye on them all day and top off the feeders as needed so they always have food on demand. They get treats from the garden as well as treats such as oatmeal, raisins, yogurt, etc. and an occasional piece of homemade bread. They do seem to waste some by billing a bit of their feed onto the ground but they peck at that all day too (they can only toss out feed from 1 of the outdoor feeders) so even that doesn't really go to much waste.

    I dunno, just saying this seems to be what is working for our girls and from the layers we are getting 2-3 eggs per day. They all seem healthy and happy.
     
  10. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    I'm back with a very red face. Husband just reminded me that we've been buying the 50 pound bags about every 2 1/2 weeks. That means our birds are really eating about 100 pounds about every 5 weeks.

    Sorry for any unintentional misleading on my part. (And no, I'm not blonde!) Sorry for the incorrect information.

    [​IMG]
     

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