Need Help Managing Feed and Getting Animals to Eat it

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by PalmRoyal, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. PalmRoyal

    PalmRoyal Chillin' With My Peeps

    226
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    Apr 28, 2013
    Lima, OH
    Hello all! I recently started my own duckweed farm for the chickens, turkeys and muscovies. I chose the only species that I could get, Lemna minor. After some research about that, I found that it is around 45% protein and 4% fat (or at least that is what it is commonly stated to be) but has higher dosages of calcium oxalate. I got to worry about this because that didn't sound good, but then I was reassured that it was OK because it is apparently sometimes used to feed cattle (again, that is what the websites I have read are stating). Should I be worried about calcium oxalate? It was stated as being around 2-4%.
    My next question, is how do I get my animals to want to eat this? I have mixed their grains into it and they would eat a little bit of it, but they are not very keen of this. If it is any consolation, they also do not like alfalfa hay pellets that I buy for them and will pick around the pellets (I ended up giving it to the rabbits who absolutely love it).
    Lastly, I am hoping to stock up and dry it out for winter so that they have a nice protein source and a good variety of dried grasses to eat. How do you think you would go about drying it? I was thinking about using some of my plastic flats, squeezing most of the water out of the duckweed, then lay it out on the flats to dry.

    Currently, my animals are offered 24-7 free range (15 hours of it is cage free, the rest of the time is in the barn with unlimited access to a 50'-60' enclosure). Then they are given dried breads from the local pantry to graze on (it is that heart healthy 100% whole wheat stuff) in the morning. Usually this takes them about 15 minutes to eat up their breads and go out grazing and "hunting" for bugs. They are very active doing their grazing and "bug" scans of the yard and then about at 4PM, they are given their grains for the day. Their grains consist of black oil sunflower seeds, whole corn, soybean meal, whole oats and DuMor Gamebird Grower. They then go off and graze again (a majority do this) or go into their groups and chill out until bed time. They are allowed to eat oyster shells at any point in the day and it is also mixed into their grains.
    The reason I wanted to add the duckweed is because I would like to make sure that they are getting a good source of protein in their diets and so I can dry it out and come winter time, they have a nice source of plant material (along with clover and alfalfa hay and possibly dried beet pulp). Am I correct in my thinking that this is a good idea? Many people love using duckweed to feed their animals, but do I have the correct type of duckweed?
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014

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