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I'm new here, know nothing about chickens, need advice

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by moenmitz, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Hi there! I am getting chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys for the first time in a few weeks and am learning a lot lately. One thing I cant find a sure answer to though, and I hope someone can help. These will be free ranged birds- I live on 12 acres, and total flock will be about 50 birds. Some for laying, the rest for eating- just by our family and relatives. So, since I dont need to meet all sort of government guidelines to be certified organic anything...I want to do this as simple as possible. I have a huge garden every year-is it possible for me to grow everything I REALLY need to feed these guys? I am thinking that since "great grandma" had chickens and didnt have commercial feed, obviously, they can do just fine without it. Warm months are not a problem-they can feast on all of our bugs and weeds and whatnot, maybe give them some corn or scraps for a boost. But, what about winter time? I only plan on taking a few, maybe 10 chickens, through the winter as layers. So what did our grandmas do in that situation? I know they didnt buy bags of fish meal and roasted soybeans and flax seed and all that jazz, and obviously, their chickens lived just fine. What I want to knwo is, cna I grow the basics in my garden this summer, dry it and store it and grind it up if needed, and have them subsist solely on that for the winter? Just seems to me there HAS to be a way to do this...just cant find out what that is!
     
  2. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Just like other creatures, chickens CAN eat alot of things and survive-- if not thrive terribly well. THAT SAID, some of the things I WOULD grow if I wanted to have birds 'live off the land' so to speak, are not allowed to be grown here, either, so I'm not much help!! [​IMG]
     
  3. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 15, 2008
    Of course I don't want them to suffer healthwise at all!! But I also dont need them to be "super layers" or grow really fast, and from what I understand, alot of the commercial feeds are designed for those reasons. Plus I think because there is so much money involved in selling feed that a lot of the info out about what is "necessary" is so much propaganda. I just want to know what would be a simple mix that could get them happily through the winter- if I had enough grains and seeds, (thinking corn, wheat if I can grow it, never tried, sunflower seeds)maybe composted some worms for protein- I typically freeze a ton of spinach, squash, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, peas and beans...does that sound like it could be an adequate feed? We are only talking about a few months...
     
  4. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * I think lentils are an excellent food for chickens, high protien, etc.-- However, I buy em dried at the health food store, and some folks say they oughta be cooked same as soybeans. . .but, my hen had them dried for months b/f I ever heard that. . . .[​IMG]-- probably not enough fat to carry them through if your winters are really bad.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  5. Silkies4life

    Silkies4life Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2008
    Be careful because some things are not good for chickens to eat, like raw potatoes or any type of raw bean or rice. If they are going to free range on that much land, I would image you could keep them healthy through the winter. You would be surprised at what they can "dig up". You may just need to give a supplemental food through the winter but nothing fancy. Maybe just a plain adult chicken feed. Nothing expensive. Careful if you are going to have turkeys and chickens together. Sometimes because of their size turkeys will kill chickens, especially roosters.

    Good Luck!
     
  6. moenmitz

    moenmitz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are in Iowa, so our winters can be pretty crappy-and with the amount of snow we get, I would think foraging would be almost impossible most of the time. I wondered about the turkeys getting along with the chickens-kinda planned on keeping them separate. We have several buildings and are sort of cobbling up different areas for the different birds and their purposes. The geese are weeder geese, and they will be fenced into the gardens with a little shelter of some sort built on. The chickens we plan on putting out in the yard and possibly in our goat pasture-which brings me to another question-what about goats milk for chickens? Be ok you think? Also-is there much danger of them picking up diseases from being in with goats? Ours are all healthy, but I know that different species can sometimes carry things that are harmful to other species.
     
  7. Silkies4life

    Silkies4life Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2008
    As long as everyone seems healthy they can go together. I have my chickens in with my 2 nygerion dwarf goats and they do great. The chickens actually love scratching around the hay that is left when the goats are done eating. Growing up, we've always had are chickens and goats together.
     
  8. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Can I make a suggestion, and please don't take offense. You may be better off in the long run if you start out a little slower and with less breeds and numbers.....especially if you've never had any birds before.
     
  9. banter

    banter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    I only have a few chickens and I supplemented their feed this winter with scraps. Frozen peas are cheap and they love them. I cooked the potato peels, they loved garbanzo beans and lentils. We only feed whole food scraps not junk, but it's surprising what they can eat that you throw away.
     
  10. Animallover606

    Animallover606 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2008
    DO you have a coop Because I don't .
     

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