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How Do YOU Feed Alfalfa Pellets?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by TwoCrows, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hello there fellow Peeps!

    Just a brief history here, I used to free range my girls in the old gardens where they could forage for all sorts of greens, roots and foliage. On those dry, barren, winter days with nothing growing, I would occasionally throw them a flake of Alfalfa hay. They were in chicken heaven, scratching through the hay eating the leaves and tiny seeds that the flake contained. They didn't bother much with the stalks and stems and left them where they were strewn.

    But over this past year, I had to contain the birds in a large run because of all the predators that seem to be lurking. Last year, I was able to get the girls out occasionally to free range, but I had to be there to supervise and because I don't have the time, I just don't get them out as much as they would like. Last week I threw them a flake of Alfalfa hay and being that they hadn't seen green foliage or anything so tasty in months, they gorged themselves on the leaves AND stems, to the point of one of the girls having an impacted, baseball of a crop the following morning!! I was able to clear the impaction that day and she was back to good health the next day.

    So fast forward to yesterday, while in the feed store, I purchased a bag of Alfalfa pellets for horses. I expected the pellets to be big, but WOW...these pellets could choke a horse! [​IMG] So what I need to know is, how do you Peeps feed Alfalfa pellets to your birds? My birds love Alfalfa, so I am not worried they will turn up their beaks at it. I do have a grain mill I can grind these pellets up in. These pellets do have molasses in them, so I am not sure how much the birds should eat and how often. Should I grind them and sprinkle this over some rice or their regular feed? Make a mash out of it with oatmeal??What do YOU do with your Alfalfa pellets??

    Thanks for sharing! [​IMG]
     
  2. You should have bought rabbit pellets, maybe you could take the bag back to the feed store and exchange it for Rabbit pellets.

    Otherwise you will have to smash them down to size somehow maybe with a small sledge hammer.
     
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  3. Maybe you could grind them up as you said you have a grain mill
     
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  4. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    I wet mine down then break them into smaller pieces. I use rabbit squares. They get soft when i soak them. Hope this helps.
     
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  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    How much are you feeding a day? This is my main question. I am not sure how much they should eat. Don't want to cause intestinal distress. [​IMG]
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Be careful putting those through your grain mill. If they were just alfalfa, that would be okay, but the molasses could gum up the internal parts of the mill. Unless of course, your mill can be completely disassembled for thorough cleaning. Our Nutrimill is not designed to be disassembled except by the factory.

    I will be watching this thread as well! I just got a bag of alfalfa pellets, thinking the girls would go nuts over it, since they've been cooped up during the snowy winter. They don't seem to like them much so far. I have some fermenting (mixed in with their feed, which is also fermenting) right now and we'll see if they like them better that way.

    Not sure how much you can feed, but I am just figuring it as a supplement. They get about 6 cups of fermented feed in the morning and I've been tossing on about 1/2 c. of the pellets. They do seem to eat them that way, but it's not the first thing they go for. I also have some mixed in with their dry feed and they seem to be picking through the feed, skipping the alfalfa. I'll update as to whether they like them fermented better or not.
     
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  7. KuroKitsune

    KuroKitsune Chillin' With My Peeps

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    my chickens get 3rd cut alfalfa hay from a bale and the love it...each group gets about half a flake each and they eat everything but the tough stems. have though of giving them falfa pellets or rabbit pellets but they like the hay alot so that what i give them and they always get excited when they see me coming with the tub that i put a flake in.
     
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  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Thanks for the tip on not running these thru the grain mill! But a bit too late as I ground some up this morning. [​IMG] My grain mill is a Victoria and it comes apart all the way down to the screw. So I can clean this one up if it gets gummed up.

    I did some research here on line about feeding alfalfa pellets and they say to start with 1% to 2% of the entire daily diet. So ground up what I thought was about 2%, since they are used to eating Alfalfa. My birds went crazy on it and it was already ground into chunky powder!! They were in hen heaven with this stuff!! [​IMG]

    Thanks so much for the response and tips!
     
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    And Thank You to everyone that also replied! I am still learning about feeding my flock and I really enjoy hearing about how others do it too. [​IMG]
     
  10. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our homemade feed contains 7.5% alfalfa pellets, which is pretty much the top limit according to all the feeding studies/papers I've read/consulted. They do not contain anything but alfalfa (no molasses). We grind them to powder because that's what our grinder does, and it's too much of a pain to change the parts out between grinding the grains and grinding the alfalfa pellets. The powder gets mixed into the feed mix and the chickens eat the feed just fine, with little waste. The alfalfa pellets we get have a protein rating of about 15% and they used to be cheap, hence the high percentage in our recipe. We switched to organic alfalfa pellets a couple years ago, and they're about $18!! a 50# bag. About 250% more than non-organic alfalfa pellets 6 years ago. Yikes, but it's still cheaper for us than a bale of alfalfa because there is less waste--but we can't find bales of organic alfalfa anyway, so it's currently a moot point for us.
     

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