fodder, meal worms, and diet questions

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by FnWeirdo, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. FnWeirdo

    FnWeirdo Chirping

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    hello byc,
    i was chatting in some other threads here and the subject of growing fodder and meal worms came up. after a little research i found out its pretty easy to do both of these and i have almost everything i need on hand for start up, minus seeds and live meal worms.

    I'm currently drawing up plans for set ups in this venture, but i need some info from fellow chicken raisers hopefully from those who already do this.

    first off i have 12 birds all large fowl, and my end goal is to reduce or get away from pre mixed feed. as well has have 100% organic non gmo feeds for my chickens. ( i sell eggs and would like to be able to tell customers they are getting the best they can get) as we all know the good feed is usually old in stores and doesn't last long and is much more expensive.

    first question is on the total diet. if i fed them meal worms and fodder every day what else would they need to make up a complete diet?

    second is how much fodder and meal worms would i need per day per chicken so i can do the math and figure out the size my operation needs to be.

    3, what are the best seeds to fodder, should i vary the fodder or keep with just 1 seed type.

    4, are live meal worms better to feed chickens or the dry ones?

    5, best locations for ordering meal worms, worm feed, and seeds for fodder ( everything needs to be non-go and organic)

    6, any advice to save me some pains later? experience is the best teacher and i always look for peoples experience to learn from.

    my " for now set up plans"

    meal worm- big old fish tank ( has crack which ill repair with resin so a good recycle free option)and a reptile heat pad. plan on cutting a screen and making a lid that way.

    plan on using the mason jar technique, i have plenty of big mason jars laying around, was gonna build a rack out of wood that the jars would sit at a 45 degree angle in. cheese cloth with rubber band over opening, and a plastic bin under the set up for water to drain in.

    thoughts?
     
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  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Meal worms and fodder are nice supplements and treats or enrichment... but much easier and affordable to go with a formulated ration in my opinion. Let me share what information I do have though...

    Meal worms are fatty, I would NEVER use them as my main source of protein...
    http://www.sialis.org/raisingmealworms.htm#freeze

    Live is better, IMO.

    Barley was said to be easiest to sprout or grow to fodder. Fodder feeding values have been over stated... as it is dry weight that matters in energy count. And sprouting a shorter period of days gives you about equal nutritional value increase as growing all the way to fodder. How many days it takes will depend on your temps. I personally would diversify if you are looking for max nutrient value and orange pigment in your eggs. And consider free ranging to be far superior to both fodder and raising live meal worms...

    http://www.idosi.org/wasj/wasj16(4)12/9.pdf

    I will also say that when given fodder on a regular basis my flock will pluck the seeds off and leave the green behind. Maybe they wouldn't do that if they didn't have access to pasture... but here I don't deal with snow and such. I can see how it may have more value to some than others.

    I order my wheat for my mealworms, oats, barley seed and such from the feed store. They will tell you what they can get organic feed grade instead of seed grade. My meal worms themselves came from Rainbow.

    I still have to store the feed long enough to last my meal worms. You can extend the life of all your feeds by storing correctly. That will have a huge impact on your overall outcome. Turn around on meal worms is rather slow... maybe faster with your heat pad? People are also crazy about black soldier fly larva lately.

    Few more spouting articles, cuz they're always fun!

    https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/livestock/feeding-value-of-sprouted-grains

    http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/sfn/w14fodder

    https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs...Sprouted-Barley-Fodder-Fact-sheet-2cobct5.pdf

    I have read about a couple of supplements that are suggested if you Are building your own feed. I will report them if I can find them.

    Other things that can be fun... red wiggler composting pin. Maggot bucket. :sick Fermenting.

    Even though I think it's too much work and risk to go full fodder and meal worms... I have had fun doing those things and I hope you do to! :thumbsup

    I'm sure more great answers will come along from other weirdos :oops: who are also having a great adventure and share their experiences with us. :pop
     
    DeanneG, Kusery, Beer can and 8 others like this.
  3. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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  4. ChickenLeg

    ChickenLeg Crowing

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    Look into black soldier fly larvae too
     
    rjohns39, ronott1 and FnWeirdo like this.
  5. FnWeirdo

    FnWeirdo Chirping

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    @EggSighted4Life

    thanks for your insight info and links

    yah i wasn't sure on options for full diet. long winters out here so supplementing at minimum with green and such is highly appealing
    i figured slow turn around for meal worms isn't much of a worry if you do a lot of them, pack and freeze or dry freeze.
    if the fat content is that high then yah that wouldn't be good for primary protein.
     
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  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Your best feed choices will still be in those bags from the feed store, with recent mill dates. Producing a balanced home diet is really difficult and more expensive than anything you can buy, especially for only a few birds, and most especially trying for organic only.
    There are guidelines and recipes available, check with the MSU Poultry department as a start.
    In order to sell 'organic' eggs, your birds must be on an organic ONLY diet from one day of age, and on property that's also free of certain products for years in some cases. It's hard to achieve!
    Mary
     
  7. FnWeirdo

    FnWeirdo Chirping

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    very good to know and will definitely work to achieve those goals :)
     
    rjohns39 likes this.
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    In order for them to be certified organic... the chicks even have to be raised with actual dark time hours as they would naturally. In other words not under a standard heat lamp. Or at least the non light emitting ones.

    If OP isn't seeking certification... it might be something that can be acceptable to said consumers.

    Since you mention the long winters... I can't go without mentioning and debunking a popular MYTH in case you come across it... Many people claim feeding corn to your chooks will keep them warm. Total misunderstanding of how things work on their part. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.. and there are 3 sources of calories which provide ENERGY for the bird to maintain it's own warmth via it's internal process and the feathers that make up it's down jacket. Energy comes from fat, protein, and carbs including fiber. Corn is low protein (around 7% chickens NEED not less than 16% minimum) but aside from that it has NO added vitamins and minerals... so it's essentially the potato chip of the chicken world. Or in my opinion empty calories. Most of our commercial feeds are already made with majority corn base BUT they do have the added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that support the birds immune system and such.

    My current suggestion would be find a feed that you like and use your fodder and meal worms as treats/enrichment. You might be able to make a scratching box, something that is sheltered from snow or rain but attracts bugs... kinda like a compost pile but without any rotting fruits or vegetable stuff. Or semi deep litter. You can also do things like hanging a head of cabbage, an ear of corn, or crown of broccoli just out of reach so they have to jump for it.

    It can also help to remember that while the formulated feeds may seem drab to us... they DO meet ALL the (nutritional) needs of our birds. Sounds like you are thinking it through and doing research. I'm sure you will figure out what works best for you and your crew! :thumbsup
     
  9. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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    X2!

    Chickens have been domesticates for a long time. They are not wild and in most places and for most breeds, They will not live out in the wild.
     
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  10. glib

    glib Songster

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    doesn't this info pertains mostly to ruminants? there are people who can raise them just on fodder and free range. IMHO it is best to feed the sprout at the length of seed stage, not at the grass stage. also, having fat with proteins is good for the chickens, in summer but specially in winter.

     
    rjohns39 likes this.

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