How much feed overall per bird?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Lil Mucket, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Lil Mucket

    Lil Mucket Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2010
    WA
    So I am trying to research and come up with a balanced ration that we can grow on our property as opposed to buying commercial. I've had no problem finding the different percentages of what kind of feed for meat birds vs. laying birds, etc. and no problem finding lists of things I can feed them but I am having a realllly hard time finding out how MUCH feed to allow per bird. Can anyone give me kind of a guideline or estimate? Assuming Freedom Rangers and let's assume a 12 week lifespan maybe?

    What I would like to do is grow worms on a large scale (I already use them extensively in the garden and compost) for protein and then research what types of other grains I can grow on the property, looking into the nutritional information for those specific grains and then adjust accordingly. I am not going to include the fresh ingredients that may be seasonal unless they can be preserved (like seeds or comfrey hay, etc). So then the end result is I know that if I want to raise say 100 birds per year I need to raise _____ lbs of worms and _____ lbs of Amaranth and _____ lbs of wheat and ______ lbs of sunflower seeds, etc. I will also do fresh greens and squashes and table scraps, etc but I don't want to count that in my planning.

    So... any takers?
     
  2. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Do you have the land, the water, the tractor and harvesting equipment, the storage facilities, fuel, power, fertilizer, as well as the seasonal manpower to plant, care for and then harvest these crops? If you are thinking of only growing an acre or two of each, you will find that those crops will be quite expensive indeed compared to purchased grains.
     
  3. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    I would allow 25 pounds per bird
     
  4. Lil Mucket

    Lil Mucket Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2010
    WA
    Quote:We have the land, water, tractor, not sure about harvesting equipment, no storage facilities yet, fuel, power and manpower yes.

    I guess to clarify this is what I want to do and here is why. We have acres and acres of very fertile land, with a pond, woods, and pastureland. We have a high production well on-site as well as a year-round spring. We have people who have a passion, are willing and able to put forth the effort to become sustainable in terms of food production

    Yet, we are buying commercial chicken feed. It just doesn't make sense. Practically speaking, I know that we could raise our chickens to do a ton of foraging considering that there are wild turkeys EVERYWHERE (someone once told me that if the land can support wild turkeys you can support chickens) but I would like to grow a feed ration substitute. Am I going to grow an acre of wheat? No way. Growing fields of grain that you then harvest and thresh and process with machinery is not the only way to grow grain or some form of dry feed for your chickens since they can do quite a bit of self-harvesting. Not to mention we live about a mile away from a wheat farm that might be willing to barter wheat for a couple finished chickens [​IMG]

    So with the 25 lbs of food per bird figure I could say then that 2500 lbs of commercial feed is adequate for 100 birds. That gives me a figure to go with. I've already made a spreadsheet of grains and dry materials I can grow or produce on-site here and their nutritional contents so now I just have to formulate... then next year we can test grow to see what's the easiest.

    This plan also does NOT include any of the fresh feeds that I will be producing like squash/pumpkins and their seeds, potatoes, mangels, greens, etc. And of course, any benefit that they would get from the pasture itself also is not included.
     
  5. TimG

    TimG Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 23, 2008
    Maine
    Quote:I think that's about right if you're using bagged feed. No idea what ratios of worms and grains.
     
  6. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 17, 2010
    Pflugerville, TX
    I think the idea of being self-sustaining is great. If we had the land and the know-how, that's how I would go too. Let us know how it goes for you!
     
  7. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are going to have your chickens self harvest grain... may I suggest you plant wheat + oats + barley as a 3 way mix. This tends to have very high yields and the benefit is that you already have the mixed grains. Talk to your neighbor to see if he would harvest it for you. Here in Cal. this mix is a very popular mix as when the grain reaches the dough stage it is cut and baled as forage hay for horses. Think as in oat hay, but more tonage yield per acre and a good mixed ration. Horses LOVE it. Now the dairy cattle owners are getting in on the action as green chop feed for their cows. The fly in the ointment may be predators.
     
  8. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bossroo, would that wheat-oats-barley also be a good mix to overseed in our free range areas? We are looking to add more variety. Currently they love the mustard and salsify growing in with the grass.
     
  9. MrChicken207

    MrChicken207 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 4, 2010
    Caribou, Maine
    I love the idea of self-sustainability. I plan on doing the same as soon as I can convince my dear wife on purchasing the land. I like the idea of a mixed grain. I'm not so sure that the neighbor would harvest for you because most larger scale farmers plant one type of grain for a reason. the seaeds don't get accidentally mixed in their equipment and then into the field. I think that overseeding it as a free range fodder would be a good idea.

    I'd love to be able to plant wheat when I have the land, but the only problem would be to find a short season variety. barley, rye, and oats all grow quite well here. Most farmers who still have poultry (there are very few since large scales became popular here about 40 years ago) raise oats for their birds.
     
  10. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mrs. Mucket :

    Bossroo, would that wheat-oats-barley also be a good mix to overseed in our free range areas? We are looking to add more variety. Currently they love the mustard and salsify growing in with the grass.

    I would recommend you get rid of those weeds as they will eventually completely take over . Millo is a good substitute for corn (is related to corn) grows a third to half as tall and produces a good palatable seed on its' stalk top . Another good dryland crop that would complement well would be safflower. It only grows to about a foot tall and its' seed is oily and resembles a small sunflower seed. Amaranth would be another you could try. Clover and/or alfalfa are both very good, not only for their feed value, but also to fix nitrogen into the soil to fertilize the other crops.​
     

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