How to feed them as naturally as possible? Recipes?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jdix, May 13, 2010.

  1. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
    Saturday we're going to pick up our 4 chicks. We're hoping to get 2 Buckeyes and 2 Rhode Island Reds. I think they're about 2 weeks old and we're looking to raise them as naturally as possible. The run looks like its going to end up being 20'x47'. Originally we thought that the area would be large enough for them to forage everything out of but we were told it wouldn't be. Since we can't let them free range what are some good options for feeding them as naturally a diet as we can. I thought I read that we should supplement their diet anyway till 5 weeks or so. Does anyone have a recipe for a good all natural blend they make themselves? Ive found a few but more ideas the better. I think I read they like grass clippings? Should I bag or rake some up and put them in the run when I mow? I thought about a small compost pile in the run with raised sides and a few inches of cow/horse manure in it to attract bugs for them to eat. Is there a specific feed we should be giving them as young chicks that will change as they get older? Like puppy food to dog food. I guess I should mention that we plan to raise the 4 birds for eggs for now with the plan to eat 2 in the fall/winter.

    Thanx
     
  2. laughaha

    laughaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 5, 2010
    That's a huge run for what will ultimately be two laying hens. I don't think they will eat everything to the ground and as such you shouldn't have to feed much. Do you like to garden? If so try a patch or two of sunflowers, corn (field and or sweet), milo, rape, wheat, etc. That's about as naturally as you are gonna get. These are great cuz you just harvest and toss in the pen. The girls will have fun getting the seeds off of the plant trimmings. If you do corn- I always peel the husk off the cob but toss the whole cob right in the pen. If you do sunflowers- do the BOSS black oil sunflower seeds. I toss a couple dried heads in the pen daily in the winter for extra calories. You could easily get away with a head every couple days or so for just two birds. Oh and plant lots of pumpkins- pumpkin seed is a natural wormer and my chickens LOVE warm pumpkin on a cold winter day. I just toss it in the oven for an hour or so, let cool a bit and then toss it over the fence. I store them in my pantry- Jarrahdale is a small/medium sized pumpkin and keeps REALLY well in household temps. I forgot about one in my pantry (from last fall) and it got tossed to them today as it was just starting to get a bit soft.

    I don't have a homemade complete feed yet, I'm just trying to lower my feed bill as I now have over a hundred chickens.

    I would like to hear about the natural blends you have heard of- they might be some I haven't heard of yet.
     
  3. JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sure you understand you will not get eggs from them till they are about 18-20 weeks old.

    That is a very large run. They will have no troble getting enough green vegitation in summer. They will need protein and carbohydrate sources to grow and produce eggs.

    I assume you have a coop and some supplemental heat ready for these 2wk old babies?
     
  4. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    laughaha, Thats a great idea about the sunflowers. We're going to plant some around the house so I'll make sure they're BOSS's. Good to know also about the pumpkins. We're going to be storing stuff in the basement so I'll just save a space for them.

    JoAnn_WI_4-H_Mom, Yup we know about the eggs. The chicks when we pick them up are going into the dogs cage. I've got hardware cloth around the sides to keep them from squeezing through the gaps and they're going into the basement. We've got a red lamp to go on top. I put a stick through the cage 4" up for a perch.

    Is there anything special I shouyld be giving them at a young age? Food, grit, oyster shells, treats, etc...
     
  5. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2009
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    Hi I am into sprouting, I feed clover sprouts as a treat at week one. (Their main food is organic grower finely ground with the protein bumped up to 22%) By week 3 they start getting the below mix, but I bump up the protein to 22% again. As treats I dig up clumps of grass with roots, dirt, worms and all and let them pick through it.)

    I always offer age appropriate size grit from a few days on!

    Thats a big run, but you will need to offer feed too. Yes pumpkin is great! I add it to my birds wet mash in winter.


    Here is my basic mix:
    Organics North Chicken Feed (For laying adults)

    6 part Black Oil Sunflower (17%P)
    6 part Oats (12%P)
    6 parts Red Wheat (17%P)

    3 part Field Peas (24%P)
    3 part cracked Corn (9%P)
    3 part whole Flax (34%P)
    3 part Alfalfa (17%P)

    .5 part Kelp
    .125 Oyster shell
    .125 DE
    .125 Azomite


    Notes:
    For daily mash first 3 ingredients are mixed and sprouted. Last 8 ingredients are mixed and wetted for mash prior to mixing in with sprouts.

    Proper ratio is as follows for daily serving..: 2 parts sprouts to 1 part mash.

    Above mix has ::: PROTIEN= 17% unsprouted

    Sup. With meat or fish which is about 25% protein

    ON
     
  6. laughaha

    laughaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, looks like a good recipe. Do you know what the protein percent is if sprouted?
     
  7. jdix

    jdix Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2010
    Organics North, Sorry for my ignorance but what exactly is sprouting? I'm guessing that the clover is actual clover sprigs dug up. For daily mash the first 3 ingredients are mixed and sprouted. Does that mean they're actually young plants of each that you just grind up or just the grain soaking in water to soften it up? How do you sup. with meat or fish? Do you use fish meal and how much to raise the protein levels to 25%. I was reading about Azomite. I'm guessing you feed them that to make sure they're getting all their minerals. Again sorry for the questions but this is very interesting.

    This is what I've found so far.

    http://www.lionsgrip.com/recipes.html

    http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickenFeedRecipe.html

    http://organicchickens.homestead.com/chickenfeedrecipes.html
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2010
  8. Organics North

    Organics North Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    Hi,
    Sorry I was traveling.
    Some where is a thread on the protein of sprouted grains. Roughly I believe the sunflower and wheat get to be around 24%. But need to look it up again to be sure.

    Look sprouting up. Essentially take whole grains and soak in water, wash and drain twice a day until the grains sprout. ie start to grow! The clover is clover seeds that are sprouted in a jar, just like you would alfalfa sprouts or mung bean for your salad. (Sprouts are sweet, with lots of good stuff in them for people as well as chickens..)[​IMG]

    I feed the sprouts whole I do not grind them. I grind the field peas because my chickens did not like them sprouted and just wasted them, so I grind them up to "hide them" in the mash. I also grind the corn, but everything else stays whole grain.

    One could use fish meal, I am a bit against it for environmental reasons, but will use it in a bind, or for chicks. The hens free ranging can get enough bugs and worms to get some of the amino acids found in "meat". In winter I will mix a little cooked ground venison into their mash to provide the needed Methionine.

    Yes the Azomite is for minerals, I also feed a little yogurt, Kombucha, or Kefir when they are not free ranging to help out with the probiotics.

    I have less than a year with this "homemade" recipe. I used the sources listed and the vast knowledge of BYC along with some other sources to come up with the mix. I am sure I will make some changes at some point in time.. I find it fun to play with food....[​IMG]

    Good luck!
    ON
     

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