lets talk serious about meat bird feed

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by KatyTheChickenLady, May 23, 2011.

  1. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    can you believe the % in increase in feed this year, what if it does the same next year?

    I want to have a serious talk about feed for meat birds with those who have opinions based on EXPERIENCE. Not experience with laying hens and not what someone "thinks" will work when they finally do get meaties.

    SO here's where I'm at: I think we all pretty much know that meaties need around 22+% to hit weight on time. I back mine up to 20% from start to finish - it takes my birds about 2 week longer to hit weight, but I have NO flip, this is a satisfactory rate of gain for me.
    The cost is rediculous though and makes me want to tweak with the feed a bit.

    I supplement my laying hens with red wheat, cracked corn & table scraps. However with the CX this lowering of protien slows down growth;
    so my question is what do we have that we can keep up or balance the protien content with.
    Ideas? Discussion?
    I know some people are using cat food. . . and in areas near the coast some folks use fish . . . should we start growing worms . . . If we raise & butcher rabbits would the meat scraps be good?
     
  2. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are omnivores, so they will eat everything. We are omnivores too. Sausage casings are animal guts cleaned, turned inside out while being stuffed with all kinds of meat and organs with spices added. Quite a few of us eat sausage. So why not chickens ? Chicken ( or any animal) guts are just long worms in their eyes that contain lots of protein and stuffed with predigested food . Doesn't your puddy tat eat the mouse guts ? In the wild, all predators will eat the guts of their prey too.
     
  3. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got some price quotes from my mill last week on a lower % protein feed, and found that with the price of corn, lowering the protein hardly changes the price at all. I know Brunty dropped to a 16%, but I saw where he still had one batch at 9 weeks, so I'm guessing it has slowed them more than he thought it would. If they develop slower on a lower protein, I don't see where you are gaining anything, except having them around longer. When I do a batch for the family, I add a fair amount of raw goat milk to their feed. The additional protein in it, seems to keep them on pace, maybe a little ahead, but it does lower my feed bill because I feed them less and they eat more pasture. That being said, I know not everyone has 6 goats worth of milk around, and mixing it adds a great deal of time to the chore. Although not cheap, fish meal can add a little more punch to the feed without raising the price dramatically due to it's high percentage of protein. You have to be careful though. Adding more than 5% total fishmeal will result in the chicken having a fishy taste. I haven't checked pricing, but I hear spelt is easy to grow and high in protein. Might be an option.

    As sad as it is, I'm afraid higher pricing of everything is here to stay. They're starting to, but I don't think items in the grocery store has quite caught up yet with rising grain prices, but our backyard flocks are already feeling it. I read last week we could expect a sharp increase in store prices by the end of Summer or a little sooner. For whatever reason, there is some lag time on commodities.
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    thanks bossroo - yes I am aware that chickens are omnivors, but not sure what you are suggesting . . . that we feed them buckets of guts?

    Big - okay thanks! that's what I'm looking for goats milk is a great idea however upon looking up the protein content in goats milk it appears to be only 20% what are your thoughts here?
     
  5. Buster52

    Buster52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I know I'm not invited to this party, but... [​IMG]

    My feed that I have mixed at the co-op comes in at half the price of commercial feed. I can therefore let the birds stick around a little longer, as I seriously doubt it would take 16 weeks to reach full weight. Plus, slowing down the growth rate a bit, it seems to me, would also eliminate the need for rationing of their feed in order to get them to market weight without flip. If my FCR goes from 2 to 3, yet the feed costs half what commercial does and in turn cuts down on management problems, seems to me I still come out ahead financially.

    I have been researching this for a while. There are some good protein alternatives out there that aren't so expensive. Two are soybean meal and ground alfalfa. Plus, I understand you can sprout barley and the results are high protein.

    I apologize for crashing your party, but I have actually been thinking along these lines and so wanted to throw my thoughts into the hat to see what those with EXPERIENCE think of the idea. [​IMG]
     
  6. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to disagree with the higher protein. We ended up with nice birds at 9 weeks on the 16% protein. I did try a batch on 16% from start to finish and I'm 4 weeks in and already have went back. I feed the 22% for the first 3-4 weeks than switch to the 16% and got some good looking birds.

    Males dressed out at 5 pounds and females at 3-4 pounds. Males I use for roasters and cut up birds, females for fryers.

    I think the key is keeping feed in front of them all the time along with water. They should never run out. Even at night they have feed on pasture, many of them will eat and drink all night.

    It's tough, I'm not a feed expert by any means but like you am worried about rising grain prices... the less we use the better. The supplement is $24.00 / 100. The more supplement you add the higher the feed. Right now we only use 500 pounds of the supplement but if I want a 20% I would need 1000 pounds of corn and 1000 pounds of supplement. Making the feed raise $40.00 / ton.

    I could process at 8 weeks, but I really want those bigger males for cut up chickens. It makes your time more worth it.

    I think anything over 20% after 4 weeks is wasted money. But that's just my opinion based on what we are doing here. Right now I've finished about 600 birds on the 16%
     
  7. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:My bad Jeff, I must have read something wrong.
     
  8. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    KatyTheChickenLady[b :

    Big [/b]- okay thanks! that's what I'm looking for goats milk is a great idea however upon looking up the protein content in goats milk it appears to be only 20% what are your thoughts here?

    I think it boils down to digestability. A bagged feed can say it's 20% protein, but are you really getting all that 20%. In examining droppings behind the tractor, I'm guessing not. If you read up on raw goat milk, you'll find it's one of the easiest foods in the world to digest (right behind breast milk). When our goats are fresh, I drink a ton of milk everyday (like a gallon in a day when it's hot) and I can tell you I have so much energy. More than I should, and I attribute this to the easy digestion. I also eat less. May be because it's hot, and noone eats as much when it's hot, but it could also be since goat milk is such a complete and easily digested food, my body is getting a lot of what it needs from the milk. I'm not trying to stand on a raw milk soapbox here, but I think the same thing is applicable to the birds that receive it. They simply eat less because they're getting more nutrition from what they eating. I could be way out there on this. I really need to do a side by side to claim this is accurate, so just bare with me.
    Does that make any sense?​
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  9. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So it sounds like the key to using lower % is feeding them more. Have you been able to deterime how much more feed you go thru doing it like this? Or is this change in philosophy so you get bigger birds without risking flips? As opposed to saving $? You got my wheels turning Jeff. Another question-Did they have more fat around the gizzard and neck?
     
  10. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    ah buster - your always invited. what I meant was someone with at lest some thought put into it as opposed to "I heard, or I read . . ." you know what I mean. so What is the protein content of ground alfalfa?

    jeff - I'm not a feed expet either that's why I want to talk about this, I think there is a lot to consider, some that we may be missing. so you think the higher protein up front and then the drop to 16 is the way to go? I free ranged mine this year (they never moved a step more than if they had been in a tractor) but it was definately less clean up for me and they were cleaner/healthier looking birds.
    Did I miss something? What is the supplement you use? or are you referring to your grain?

    big - digestability . . . excellent point! ok so goat milk is 20% protein and easily digestable for mammals . . . does this equate to poultry??? I was ready about people feeding oats and barley, but then I read an article from a University stating that oats and barley have a particualr kind of "sticky" protein that is NOT digestable by poultry unless it's broken down by cooking, sooooo if you're using these grains and considering the digestabilty . . . what does that do to your protein content???
    I don't think you are on a soapbox, personally I think you are on the right track I just want to back it up with some facts or like you said a side by side comparison.

    you're right wheels are turning . . .
     

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