grass fed birds question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by UNCLEG, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. UNCLEG

    UNCLEG Out Of The Brooder

    57
    0
    39
    Jan 26, 2007
    OK I had layers at least for the last 5-6 years...now thinking about adding meat birds for a healthy choice in meats. This may sound stupid, but I'm gonna ask...is it possiable to raise meat birds strictly on grass and forage? or must there be commercial supplements in the food. Just looking at raising excess roos for meat birds not looking for broiler size birds more fryer size. Is this possiable or shoudl I invest in the meat breeds?

    not sure were to start, all advice welcome,

    G
     
  2. Hillsvale

    Hillsvale Chillin' With My Peeps

    922
    2
    131
    Oct 20, 2009
    Hillsvale, Nova Scotia
    well my meat birds free range but their appetite is so huge I would be surprised if they could forage that much, I feed morning and night which they finish in about 15 minutes, the rest they get on their own. Many will tell you they don't eat grass and such but as I process I cut open the gizzards and there is bugs, grass, dirt, pebbles... you name it! lol
     
  3. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feeding chickens grass only diet without supplemental feed does not come close to meeting the bird's nutrient requirements and borders on inhmane.
     
  4. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

    239
    0
    89
    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    I don't think that he means that the chickens will be fed ONLY grass. If a chicken free ranges, they will pick up a great deal of their nutrients from nature. They might range further and they will be much leaner than if fed just grains in a cage or smaller pen, but if you let them free range, and then gave them a fraction of the grain/feed they would otherwise have needed if they didn't range, then you are eliminating alot of your costs. I would suggest that you don't allow them to eat just from their own instinctive devices, but supplement them with some extra feed. Always allow them to have more water than they need, they will regulate this themselves. I once fed chickens on weeds, clippings, scratch, and sunflower heads for the large part of the summer. The things thrived, although the hens didn't all lay every day. Seeing that, at the time, I was just raising them to have some chickens around, I didn't mind. I still got 3 to 4 eggs daily from 8 hens.
     
  5. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Grass and Forages (alfalfa, clover, etc.) without supplemental feed is not enough for growing meat animals. If you want to free range them, go for it, but I would include supplemental commercial feed of some sorts.

    Jim
     
  6. UNCLEG

    UNCLEG Out Of The Brooder

    57
    0
    39
    Jan 26, 2007
    Thanx for the replies...what Yall are saying is what I was thinking...just trying to get a very natural, untainted meat source in a natural enviroment.
     
  7. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,450
    17
    171
    Jun 15, 2008
    The difference you will soon see... raise them on grass only for about a year and have 3 birds to provide a hearty meal for a person , or 8 weeks on full commercial feed for 1 bird to make a meal for 3 people. Oh, the choises one must make!
     
  8. eKo_birdies

    eKo_birdies Chillin' With My Peeps

    552
    2
    121
    May 11, 2010
    Northern Colorado
    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay :

    Grass and Forages (alfalfa, clover, etc.) without supplemental feed is not enough for growing meat animals.

    lol what? don't tell that to the 100% grass fed beef......!​
     
  9. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Chillin' With My Peeps

    283
    7
    101
    Jul 5, 2010
    1) As someone has already pointed out, if you feed your birds on commercial feed they'll fatten up quicker, but then again, you could just as well buy your chicken from the stores, because commercially raised chickens are fed the same feed.

    2) Although another member has stated meat animals can't be raised on grass alone, I beg to differ. For example, many farmers in the UK raise their cattle on grass only, and their cows thrive. Okay, I know a chicken is not a cow, so on to point No3.....

    3) Apart from commercial poultry farms, I must be about the only person in Thailand who purchases feed for chickens. 99% of backyard chickens in this country free range without any supplemental food apart from kitchen scraps. In fact, the man who owns the shop where I buy feed has commented on it many times that I'm wasting so much money. Well, I started thinking about this, and thought that if I really want good quality free range chicken meat, then they birds should ideally be free ranging. So, as from week ago, the birds are put out to forage from morning to evening, although I do still provide feed for them in the coop/run. Interestingly enough, the coop stands open all day, and yet I'm yet to see one of the chickens going in to eat their feed. This tells me they actually prefer the diet nature provides. The two duck are a different story though, as they frequently wander into the coop during the day for a quick snack. I should also mention though, I grow a few vegetables as well such as Chinese Water Spinach, Chinese Kale, Pak Choy and etc. which is there for them if they want it.

    So, in my opinion, you can raise chickens without any commercial feed providing they have enough space to forage for their food. I have often wandered about the way so many people regard their chickens as being "organic", and yet they feed them commercial food, they treat them for worms, and they give them vaccines. In my book, those chickens are a million miles away from being "organic", and to put in bluntly, they are hardly any different to the chickens one buys in the stores. Are my birds organic? No, not yet, but they will be soon enough. Give me another month to a month and a half, and I'll be there [​IMG]

    TC
     
  10. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,355
    11
    151
    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    Quote:lol what? don't tell that to the 100% grass fed beef......!

    Cattle are designed to eat nothing but grass, though. Large amounts of grain are unhealthy for cattle. A chicken will naturally have a varied diet, not just grass. Left to themselves, they will eat grass, seeds, grains, fruit/vegetables, insects, mice...whatever fits in their mouths. You can have "grass fed" poultry, but unless your pasture is incredibly abundant in variety, you will need to give them something like grains too, for more protein and fat. And they will grow slower, but that can be a good thing too, because then they taste better and have fewer health problems--but, it takes longer to raise them, more feed, and the meat might get a little tougher and leaner. You've got to find the right balance, which is what I am working on doing, and I know others are also interested in this.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by