Lord Knows,

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by rancher hicks, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    (just thought that would grab your attention)

    There is a bunch of information out there and advice on raising chickens. But for me being old I just want the facts. So here is some information I had not read in the years I've had chickens. This is from the ALBC newsletter for March.

    What should I feed my chickens?
    Chickens are omnivores with simple stomachs, which means they can eat both animal and vegetable products. Provide them with access to plants and insects along with adequate protein. Heritage Chickens need more protein than is in more common chick rations that are geared more for commercial chickens. ALBC recommends for newly hatched heritage breed chicks a feed ration containing 24-28% protein, most often found in Game Bird or turkey grower rations. After 8 weeks of age, the level can be transitioned to 20-22%, and for birds older than 16 weeks, the feed protein level can be backed off to 18%. (And don’t forget fresh water!) We also recommend adding apple cider vinegar to the water at a level of 1-4 Tbsp/gallon once or twice a week to promote health in your flock. Apple cider vinegar is known to act as a natural coccidiostat, help the birds cope with cold or hot extremes by boosting metabolism, and will fend off algae growth in your waterers.

    I like to share information that may or may not be affordable to everyone. Heaven knows there are many publications out there.

    Also in the new News letter is an update of "rare and endangered breeds". I think each of us who have multiple flocks can help by keeping one flock of an endangered breed.

    On the critical list are , Campine, Chantecler, Creveoeur , Holland, Modern Game, Nankin, Redcap, Russian Orloff, Spanish, Sultan, Sumattra, and the Yokohama.

    The ALBC lists "primary breeding", of 50 birds or more. When you consider that some have had every birds killed by predators and that building a flock takes time this makes sense.

    While I understand the hatcheries have many of these breeds, how many exemplify the true nature and purpose of the breed? How many "dual purpose" breeds from the hatchery are so skinny as to make the useless for the table? How many have retained the hardiness of their ancestors?

    In this age of "free ranging" hardiness should be of prime importance to poultry keepers.

    For me personally of the three Delaware hens I received from the hatchery, not one has survived to year three.

    Take care,

  2. tweetysvoice

    tweetysvoice Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2011
    Lawrence, KS
    My Coop
    Why do you think it is that your Delawares didn't make it? I have two Delawares that I'm raising right now. I have a co-workers that breeds them and has told me that they are one of the easier birds to raise...

    I would think that some of that data is wrong too, seems to me like the protein rations are way too high to start off with, are those just for meat birds? I thought I'd read that you don't want a bird growing too fast if they are layers only. Just curious since I'm new to this.
  3. daver

    daver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2011
    Linden, NC
    I read your post with great interest.

    Not an experienced chicken person but researching Buckeyes for future use, I found that the Buckeye thread on this forum discusses this idea of a more protein diet at length. Buckeyes being on ALBC's critical list.

    Thanks for bringing this up.


  4. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY

    I do have Delaware just not hatchery. They are very hardy and lay well. They go through a molt quickly too. You do understand that the ALBC recognizes two types of certain breeds. Leghorns and RIR are listed as "non industrial".

    While it is my OP that hatcheries hatch volume with little regard for a deep gene pool and whether they carry the "Dual" of the breed. Which is why I think they were not hardy birds. It is also my OP that heritage birds were bred for hardiness or resistance to disease and as in the case of the Buckeye cold hardiness.

    I have heard friends comment on how skinny their birds are and how well they lay. They kept hatchery hybrids. This is fine as long as they understand they will have nothing to put on the table when they are done laying. They are referred to terminal birds.

    As for the feed and data that is the ALBC's and questions should be directed their way. I simply thought it would be of interest to some here. I make no claims one way or the other, except to say the ALBC are more expert.

    You must realize that Heritage breeds the ALBC is concerned with are not "layers only" but Dual purpose for meat and eggs. A heritage bird should lay long after a hybrid has stopped, be useful for the table if the need arises.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by