In the olden Days

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LazyGirl, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. LazyGirl

    LazyGirl In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2007
    Does anyone know what they fed their chickens in the old days?
    I would like to get back to basics, and our family is trying to eat whole foods, so why not all our animals too?
    It piqued my curiosity when i saw an oldfashioned feed bag with the ingredients printed on it. It was awesome! It had dried milk, bone meal, blood meal, corn, etc. All great things and only like 8 ingredients.
    I guess I would like to simplify and give them the best nutrition without searching the ends of the earth for organic grain, vitamin packs, etc. or making them special treats.
    For instance, what do the amish feed their chickens? Mine are free-range, but of course, being in MI they do have to have well rounded feed for winter.
    Any Ideas?
  2. BantyHugger

    BantyHugger Songster

    May 23, 2008
    I'd also like to know. I think they just grew the feed themselves. I have a book written during the Depression when lots of people were relying on home grown animal for food. It says to grow corn and barley. Give them the seed during the summer and feed them the stalks during the winter. It also says people gave their birds road kill and table scraps. [​IMG] I'm not sure i'd go back.
  3. miss_jayne

    miss_jayne Lady_Jayne

    Jun 26, 2008
    Columbiaville, MI
    don't give them too much corn, they get fat and don't lay well. i have a farmer near me that feeds them seed wheat and free range. they are some of the most healthy birds. he has a three year old rooster that is about 30 pounder. i thought it was some crazy turkey cross![​IMG]
  4. LazyGirl

    LazyGirl In the Brooder

    Dec 29, 2007
    What grain has the highest protein content?
    What if you fed wheat, corn, spoiled milk, compost, and free-range??
    Do you think that would meet all their needs?
    Oh, and sunflower seeds, and maybe flax seed?
  5. HenniePennie

    HenniePennie In the Brooder

    Jul 16, 2007
    Be careful with feeding corn. Corn causes the body temp on chickens to increase. If corn is feed during hot summer days chickens internal heat increases to a dangerous level. It can become fatal.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    The corn causing the body heat to increase is an old wives' tale that has been discussed to death in the forum.

    Look at this web site for about how chickens were raised in the "old days."

    I recommend a commercial feed. It will contain all the nutrients a chicken needs. I would not recommend going solely free range or buying inexpensive feed.

    I went in with a friend on some chickens. He buys feed from the Amish and gives them whatever else he can find. Almost like in the old days. My chickens get a commercial feed with the recommend amount of protein and other nutrients. Mine grew faster and are larger than his. The difference is in what they are fed. Mine also look healthier, the feathers are shinier and the combs are redder.

    Romanticism is great but it doesn't put quality meat on the table and doesn't give you optimal egg production.
  7. Quote:Sorry HenniePennie, but you are incorrect in restating this Old Wives Tale. Corn does not increase a chickens internal temperature, it is a highly digestible starch that is metabolized easily by monogastrics.

    Feed ingredients with high fiber content increase body temperature due too increased ferementation and the difficulty in digestion due to the digestive tract of the chicken.

  8. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Here's what a poultry scientist in 1914 thought people should be feeding their hens for good egg production. A lot of what he has to say still makes good sense.

    Oregon State University Scholar's Archive (a fairly quickly downloaded pdf file), John Dryden, Feeding for Eggs

  9. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Here's a link to a resource for mixing your own feed:

    have to admit that I considered it for about 10 seconds. I'd love to have access to all the things needed to supply a well-balanced nutritional offering for my girls but it's just not possible for me.

    My girls get all the feed they want plus quite a bit of extras: bugs, yogurt, fruits, veggies, grains (bread, tortillas, etc.) and even some meat sometimes. They grew incredibly fast and are healthy, healthy, healthy! I have no reason to not to give them feed when they're obviously thriving on it. I've got other things to do, like make yogurt, can stuff for my household, tend a garden, and commute to another city for my day job. [​IMG]
  10. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    I am buying some oats from some local farmers for feed this winter. We grow corn, wheat & soybeans and DH is going to crack some corn for me. Also last winter I fed wheat screenings. Don't know if we will have any this year, but the elevator will, so I will try and buy some there.

    wheat screenings is the bottom of the barrel wheat it includes alot of weed seeds and stuff like that. Its really cheap to get because it has no sale value

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