My husband is questioning the feed....

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by crayon, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. crayon

    crayon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2011
    Hillman Michigan
    PLEASE NOTE: this is not about the sodium amounts- it is more in general- the best well rounded type of food we can buy them- or feed them......

    We have 10 chicks - 5 1/2 weeks old now. They are outside in a large (1200sqft) grass area. They have a coop within this section- but it is small right now- so they mostly have tall grass and lots of blackberry bushes (they love to eat the leaves and hang out in the shade under the bushes- they have carved rails and have a blast- spend most all day outside now.

    They have a huge diet of fresh flying bugs, lots of greenery and lots of water. The issue comes in the feed. My husband wants them to be mostly "grass fed"- and that is fine- but for now they have feeds we buy at TSC. My husband was reading what is in it and he is not happy with added "crap" like sodium. (Agreed)..... But they see me walk into the coop area and they go nuts! They love their feed- it is like a kid in a candy store- you would think they don't eat all day- although they DO!

    Does anyone have suggestions on getting them to be more grass/natural and eat mostly (if not all) natural things (esp. now that it is summer)

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make your own feed- so it is more organic?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  2. classicsredone

    classicsredone Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They'll likely still need some commercial feed even if they free range all day. You can of course buy organic food, or supplement regular food with organic ingredients. Remember, things like sodium are required by animals, and must be included in a complete feed. I personally don't like that Purina feed has no ingredient level, so we get foods that do have that. I feed the chickens black oil sunflower seeds both raw with shell and sprouted, sprouted wheat berries, scraps from the garden, blemished produce, leftovers that aren't salty or heavily spiced, etc. to supplement their diet. My girls are pastured in a tractor that gets moved 1-2 times a day. Another option that is inexpensive after you get going is to breed soldier fly larvae or meal worms. They are a great source of protein, fats, and other nutrients.
     
  3. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Quote:The big question is what to do in the winter when there isn't much to free range on? We are going to make a paddock area eventually so they can free range a bit, but for now they are dependent on us providing greens and worms and such. We feed organic crumbles and know it is a balanced feed so they get all the nutrients they require. Total free ranging requires a lot of property and a diverse mix of plants and grasses for them to get the proper amounts of nutrition. This is a tough decision when you want to be totally free-ranging, but the health of your chickens should be uppermost in your hubby's mind.
     
  4. Luke13:34

    Luke13:34 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Naugatuck Valley
    Maybe remind hubby that our bodies actually need salt to live (chickens, too!). Chicken feed isn't like human junk food. The sodium levels are very carefully measured for poultry nutrition. No one, not even Purina, is setting out to give our chickens high blood pressure. Sure, you can get organic feed and you can also find do-it-yourself mixes for feed online. Just be careful that you aren't leaving out nutrients that are important to a chicken or making the protein levels too low or too high. Maybe an automatic feeder in the coop or run would make "feeding time" less of a big deal to them. My girls couldn't care less when I re-stock the feeder, but get very excited when they see I am carrying a plate of "treats."
     
  5. crayon

    crayon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I do think the health of the flock is the most important thing to him- that is why the "added crap" in commercial feed really bothers him. He is researching stuff all the time- he just sent me a whole article on feed- so it looks like we may mix our own and really make sure they are getting what they need all the way around without the added bad stuff.

    We for sure love our chickies- he is out checking on them as much as me. So, it is more a question of "what is the very best" and not give them unhealthy stuff. We are feeding these eggs (someday) to our kids- so it is important the girls are top notch healthy!
     
  6. ChickenAl

    ChickenAl Diagnosis...Chicken-Headed

    Jun 5, 2011
    Putnam cty, NY
    Haha! I do that too (constantly checking out feeds) and my wife thinks I'm nuts.

    I'm sure you love your chickens and want the very best for them. Ours are actually eating better than we do. Just added kelp to their diet, along with kefir and the other things I've researched. These might be super chickens when they are full grown. And we'll probably be broke from feeding them.....
     
  7. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Sodium is required in the feed, much like other stock naturally seeks out salt licks (or we supply salt blocks free choice to them). The amount in chicken feed is carefully measured for them. I think it says a guaranteed minimum and a guaranteed maximum percentage on some brands of feed. They don't add extra "just because" what would they have to gain? Perhaps it's been told that junk food makers add extra sodium to make us humans buy more soda/beer/whatever but chickens (should) only drink water and not enough to make your water bill jump up high even if they were being over-salted. There's nothing for the feed company to gain by giving them extra, and if they gave them way too much birds would die and that would hurt their reputation, so I really fail to see how purposely giving them too much of anything would be to their benefit.

    They may use CHEAPER grains, such as soybeans and leftover grain millings instead of whole grains, but they have to make sure the birds will do ok on it, or nobody would buy their feed.
     
  8. crayon

    crayon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is the ingredients in the feed- it looks very processed to me. Just because it is not junk human food, does not mean it is 100% healthy for the flock either. Look at dog food- some of it is really crappy- with high levels of salt and additives and unhealthy fats. Just saying- that just because it is chick feed and not human junk food doesn't mean it is the best option. It seems that the nutritional needs can be meet with good mix of natural ingredients- like nuts, grains and veggies.


    Grain by-products, plant protein products, processed grain by-products, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D supplement, vitamin E supplement, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium panthothenate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, biotin, folic acid, chlorine chloride, DL-methionine, L-lysine, calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, salt, manganous oxide, manganese sulfate, ferrous sulfate, copper chloride, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, zinc sulfate, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, propionic acid, sodium selenite.
     
  9. crayon

    crayon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I think this was more my point- not the sodium (it was just an example)..... And more like- could there be something better for the girls? Not just buy what is presented in my face the first time.


    THANKS ChickenAL
     
  10. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2011
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    Hubby needs to chill a little.

    The sodium in, for example, the Purina fees, is in the .35-.85% range. While their tags do not indicate how much of each listed nutrient or mineral comes from which source, that range suggests that they are not adding salt to the feed to get it to any specific level, merely that the other ingredients result in a level within that range.

    Blood is nothing but fortified salt water. An excessive amount can be harmful, but we all need some. Remind hubby that the word salary (something at least our human friends tend to need, if not the chickens) comes from the Latin word for salt. Salt is such a necessity that it was paid as part of a salary back when cols spoke Latin on a daily basis.

    And, in general, the availabilty of a full spectrum feed will backfill anything that's lacking for nutrients on the range your birds run on. It's why we leave oyster shells out for the birds to take when their systems tell them they need it. If they're terribly efficient at cleaning up bugs, to the point they find the supply diminishing, the protein in the feed will help keep them in good shape.

    The availibility of a complete feed will help to make up for anything they can't find on their own.
     

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