Letting chickens forage ONLY?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chooniecat, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    Ok I might (well probably [​IMG] ) will come off sounding like an idiot but what exactly does she expect chickens to eat? You have your "organic" people who want only plant based protien feed (from my small understanding of what "organic" means) and now someone who doesn't want them to eat grains. I am sorry they are omnivores not ruminants. If they are allowed to "pasture feed" they are going to eat bugs, grass and any seeds they can find. I guess I just don't understand why people think changing the way an animal has evolved to eat (i.e. vegitarian food for dogs and cats) is going to give you a healthy animal. OK off my soap box now.
     
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  2. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I AGREE with you. I was just curious when she mentioned tryng to find grass fed(with any bugs they can catch included) and that sure didn't sound like a good idea for domestic layers but she mentioned it so I was inspired to research. and I agree with what was said about not being enough pasture land available(mine would have to go into the plentiful woods surrounding us then the daytime predators would get em!)So I guess since its not my requirement to have ONLY grass fed(+ bugs) chickens then I will not strive to become that way. She is still trying to find said producer and if she can-thats OK. I run out of eggs now anyhow.
     
  3. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree too.

    About corn. There probably needs to be more research about the connection between corn and cancer (see post above). Corn in the feed lots is fed to fatten the cattle. And grow fast. Historically, cattle didn't eat grain per se, but ate vegetation, primarily grasses.

    I don't have a problem with some fat and veg oil consumption, but rather how much we humans have changed what the animals eat and the very fatty meat we prefer compared to say Daniel Boone hunting for deer or turkey. Those were lean animals.

    And the meat actually contained far higher like 10-20times the level of Vit A in the meat! Corn based diet doesn't have nearly the Vitamin A activity that we benefit from when we eat it. SO I imagine a piece of chickeen is better for us if the bird could eat off the land, grasses, bugs, grains, more grasses. Just my thoughts --I think some cancers are preventable. Eat grass fed, not corn fed. Or supplement with antioxidant vitamins.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011
  4. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I AGREE with you. I was just curious when she mentioned tryng to find grass fed(with any bugs they can catch included) and that sure didn't sound like a good idea for domestic layers but she mentioned it so I was inspired to research. and I agree with what was said about not being enough pasture land available(mine would have to go into the plentiful woods surrounding us then the daytime predators would get em!)So I guess since its not my requirement to have ONLY grass fed(+ bugs) chickens then I will not strive to become that way. She is still trying to find said producer and if she can-thats OK. I run out of eggs now anyhow.

    This whole idea comes from cattle industry. Unfortunatly it does not work with chickens. The term grass fed is a misnomer as most pasture has grain grasses in it. Again this is Ms public that is not truley informed and just reading how good grass fed is compared to normal feeding practices. I.E. too much corn.
     
  5. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    chooniecat I hope you didn't think I was "ranting" at you! This woman's idea of a "healthy way" to feed chickens just sounds like a disaster to me and misinformed. I am not saying I am any where close to an expert on feeding chickens, but "grass fed"? Sounds like a whole lot of impacted crops to me. Anyway, just wanted to let you know it wasn't directed at you! [​IMG]
     
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Couple things askew in the panacea of all this. Chickens years ago were also very poor egg layers under such conditions and would be today also.

    A chicken is domesticated, meaning they do rely on humans for some support. If chickens came originally from tropical climes, then having been taken to northern latitudes, they are out of their element for 8 months of the year up here. Merely foraging would mean certain, cruel death for chickens at this latitude, and forget about egg production. Their bodies would have zero calories to spare.

    There simply isn't enough food supply. No worms or bugs for 6-7 months of the year, ground snow covered for 4 months and no water to drink other than eating snow. It might be possible for chickens to survive in El Salvador year 'round, but this lady would pay a pretty price for such imported eggs. [​IMG][​IMG] I highly doubt the equatorial regions alone could provide the world's population of chicken meat and eggs.
     
  7. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have a thing to add but that is exactly how my grandparents raised their chickens, they foraged around the farm and fields, and came (mainly) into the coop to lay their eggs unless they were broody and went off somewhere private to sit on a clutch of eggs. My grannie would be able to pick out a hen or two for the family dinner now and then, but I remember them being all feathers and little meat, but that was over 50 years ago so I am not for sure about that. But she always made a chicken feed a family of 8 somehow with all the side dishes on the table.
    I think if you try it let us know how it goes and how the market is for something like that. I am extrememely sensitive to grains too.
    Quote:
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  8. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:NO NO NO! You said it like you thought it as I do(and get in trouble!) And I don't know exactly where this "customer" is coming from mentally all I know is she is a personal trainer that is in excellent health and TRYING to consume food the way she thinks is healthy. She doesn't have enough land for chickens herself(?)(doesn't take much for domestics) but she has bought her own steer calf to grass feed and that ,of course, is more natural for bovine than domestic fowl.
     
  9. UrbanGrower

    UrbanGrower Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:From what I've read in The Omnivore's Dilemma, it's more because we feed ruminants and other animals, who aren't designed to eat grain, too much grain. Grains have a higher Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio than greens. Once this becomes an imbalance in diets of the animals we eat, and ourselves as well, begin to experience a lot of health problems like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and so on. Now we are pushing this further, breeding fish to accept it as well. Chickens are a lot different because they are designed to consume grain, but the lack of variety can probably still cause problems.

    Then again the amount of Omega 6 in our cooking oil, as compared to our grain fed beef, is astronomical. So I'd say it's better to ditch the hydrogenated vegetable oil and use the butter. I worry less about the consequences of grain fed beef - as far as my health goes, and more about the conditions the animal has to endure, which are pretty bad on a feedlot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
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  10. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

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    My 2 cents: Our chickens don't have the same options for unadulterated food that our grandparent's chickens did. Chances are that the amount of toxins from chemical fertilizers and pesticides ingested from strictly 'pasturing' would affect them negatively more than a commercial, grain based diet. I think a healthier alternative would be a combination of grains, vegetables, seeds and insects. However that can be accomplished probably wouldn't be possible without supplementing commercial food.
     

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