Nutritional Needs Of Chickens? (Fun Project)

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Kung Foo Chicken, Sep 29, 2008.

  1. Kung Foo Chicken

    Kung Foo Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm looking into what exactly are the nutritional needs of chickens in feed?
    % Protein
    % Calcium etc.

    I don't want ingredient lists such as Corn, Wheat etc.
    I'm researching making some type of feed or supplemental feed from local plants.

    I was doing some research online where people were using Goats for Kudzu removal and it specifies that the Kudzu almost meets all nutritional requirements for goats. Used as poultry feed in Japan.

    Invasive Kudzu:
    15-20% Protein
    35.05% Starch
    2.38% Fat
    7.95% Ash
    2-5% Calcium
    % ? Fiber (says roots are a good source of fiber)
    The higher amount of protein is in the leaves and roots.

    Kudzu Cow Farms-Rutherfordton NC. Using Kudzu for Cattle Feed since 1940's.
    Sell Kudzu hay to farms to "feed for chickens" and Goats
    Edith Edwards Interview near the end
    http://www.ibiblio.org/wunc_archives/sot/?p=192

    Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle:
    9-20 % Protein Deer Forage
    ? % High in Calcium
    ? % High In Magnesium
    ? % High In Potassium


    No I'm not growing kudzu so no warnings please about it being invasive I already know this. But, there are fields of it all over the South. Asking a land owner to let me pick shouldn't be a problem.

    All for fun and an interesting project
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  2. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    4,871
    22
    251
    Jan 11, 2007
    http://www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org/kudzu.pdf
    (small
    excerpts below)
    "Kudzu is a perennial leguminous vine. In a way, it is very much like a giantversion of the white Dutch clover that is a common component in lawns and pastures.
    It sends a central tap root deep into the soil to secure available minerals and moisture at
    a range of strata. And it spreads its stems across the surface, sending adventitious roots
    down at leaf nodes to grip the soil along the vine's length. Like many legumes in the
    pea family, kudzu roots form nitrogen-fixing nodules
    , fertilizing the soil everywhere it
    grows. .....The chief limitation to use of kudzu leaf as a vegetable may be its highly fibrous
    nature and unappealing pubescence...."

    ...raw kudzu is too fibrous and as far as I can determine unsuitable for poultry (see the toxic plant list for poultry warning about raw legumous plants) except perhaps when a "curd" similar to tofu is made from it but the process to do so seems a lot of work and certainly not on my list of things to try:
    (from the same article)
    "....Leaf protein can be extracted through a very simple process similar to makingtofu, though with fewer steps. The resultant curd serves many of the same uses as tofu. Leaf protein extraction apparently does not pick up some toxins that may be in some kinds of leaves, although in my view we should verify the safety of plant species on a
    case by case basis.....
    ....When the juice is heated, a cake floats to the top. This is the protein extract. It is skimmed and hung in cheese cloth or pressed in cheese forms to reduce moisture.Kudzu Curd........ Possibly most equipment forproduction of kudzu leaf protein extract can be bought off the shelf. (The one exception may be the press for expelling juice from the leaf.) Preliminary inquiries suggest that
    the kudzu can be harvested by a corn silage harvester/chopper to which simple adjustments have been made. After further shredding or grinding, the juice can be expressed by presses, perhaps the type used in cider production. Process equipment from tofu and cheese manufacturing, packaging techniques from the tofu industry, and ordinary refrigeration should suffice....."
     
  3. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

    81
    1
    31
    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    Kudzu hay should be fine for them. I have never seen any ill effects to poultry from eating raw legumes, in fact they are preferred by most poultry. Read the older literature and you will find that white clovers, alfalfa, trefoils, etc. rank as the best forages for poultry. Even fresh kudzu chopped up so they can eat it would probably be OK. Young Kudzu should be great. Just make sure they have access to grit, their gizzard can grind up almost anything.
    As far as it being invasive, it is still planted as a pasture plant in much of the deep south. It is actually a very easy plant to kill, all you have to do is over graze it. Kudzu will not withstand constant grazing as its fast growth rate eventually uses up all the root reserves when it tries to resprout. That is what goats are being used for in many places. Also, it almost never produces seed and only spreads vegatatively.
    It is a good source of protein but you will most likely need to add a protein supplement with more complete protein. Chickens being monogastric can not produce amino acids themselves, they must come from their diet. When feeding protein you are really feeding amino acids and if they are all not there the animal will eventually die. Also, fresh plants are 70-80% water so it takes a whole lot more of them to get the required nutrients.
     
  4. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

    81
    1
    31
    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    I forgot, I have tried to get chickens to eat Japanese honeysuckle. They didn't seem to fond of it. I'll have a better idea in the spring as their new pasture area is full of it. It would be great if they take a likeing to it. Stuff is everywhere here, so much the deer con't even put a dent in it.
     
  5. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:As a Livestock Nutritionist I need to make one point, Chickens and Pigs, both monogastrics, do NOT have a Protein requirement. Rather they require Amino Acids, of which specific ratios are needed to meet the growth and production requirements of the animals.

    Jim
     
  6. Kung Foo Chicken

    Kung Foo Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes I have read of the Legumes. Kudzu is nowhere close in species to the poisonous varieties listed. It is closer related to the Garden Pea which is sometimes used in feed. Some of the 1920's literature suggests feeding to Chickens but, lacks detailed information.

    The Tofu and such is most likely a gimmick to get people to eat it. My Grandmother used to cook the new shoots and they tasted like green peas with Asparagus shape strangely.

    I've emailed the lady from Rutherfordton NC (which isn't far away) to see if she can shed light on this selling of kudzu hay as "chicken feed".

    For fun I retrieved some leaves from my Uncle's field just to see how chickens reacted. They were so so on the fresh leaves. I dried some leaves out and crushed into dust, put in a little water and baked them a kudzu leaf cookie.[​IMG]

    On first glance they looked at it and me like I was trying to fool them. They pecked around it a little then a few moved in and ate it all up.

    The control sites are crazy tho about using all kinds of herbicides. Most of the problems with it getting out of control is people planted it and left it unchecked for 30-50 years then decided they didn't want it in that spot anymore.

    Thanks for the responses this is interesting.

    http://www.actahort.org/books/467/467_6.htm
    Not related to chickens but:
    The water contents in the fresh roots of five wild kudzu accessions are all below 70%. (2) The starch contents of the five germplasms range from 2.4%–28.3%. Among them, 9403 and 9405 have the starch contents of more than 25%, being good starch resources. Kudzu powder has starch content of 39.1%, which is much more than that of potato. (3) The kudzu roots are rich in Ca, Fe, P and Zn, which are limited in other foods but important for human body health. The content of Ca and Mg in 9402 is respectively more than thirty-five times and eighty-seven times as high as that of sorghum. Concerning Fe, P and Zn contents, 9405 contains almost nine, two and seven times the contents of wheat respectively. (4) 9402 and 9404 have more and well-balanced amino acids than other germplasms. (5) The content of various nutrients in kudzu powder is greatly lower than that of wild kudzu roots. Therefore, it is urgent and necessary to gather and evaluate kudzu germplasm resources and improve the processing technology.

    My chickens will eat Japanese Honeysuckle in the winter when a lot of the other foliage is gone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Nutrient Requirements of Poultry

    Researching nutritional needs IS fun, Kung Fu. However, if we wish to fully understand the information out there, we need to understand the relationships of the food parts of diet by breaking things up into components. (As Jim is saying - into amino acid rather than protein percentages) I was just reading in Wikipedia that there are thought to be 8 "essential" amino acids and 20 "nonessential" (?) ones. The difference is that the essential ones must be in our diets and the nonessential ones can be synthesized out of other components. All this gets a little complex . . .

    Perhaps it can be said, some critters have digestive systems that can use a limited number of foods and be healthy. Chickens, apparently, thrive on variety.

    One a side note: alfalfa protein can evidently be isolated or maybe the correct word is "concentrated." I'm wondering how that can be done. Alfalfa hay should have about what is required by a chicken if we only look at protein percentages (not sufficient but a starting point). It would be a little easier to utilize alfalfa if the percentages were higher since it must be used in combination with other, perhaps lower protein, foodstuffs. Just curious, probably waaaaay beyond my capabilities to do anything with alfalfa but even at $200/ton (current, very high price!), it is still a good deal cheaper than chicken feed. Buying chicken feed by the 50# bag will cost the equivalent of nearly $500/ton. That's not chicken feed!

    Perhaps like your neighborhood and kudzu, I can find alfalfa nearly every direction I look. It is in planted fields AND vacant lots. I can "harvest" it with a lawnmower . . .

    Steve

    edited to say: looking more closely at Diana's post - the "kudzu tofu" process may be the way alfalfa protein is concentrated . . . who'd have thunk?
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  8. priszilla

    priszilla Chillin' With My Peeps

    674
    1
    151
    Jan 12, 2008
    easley sc
    Kudzu is all over around here- I may get some shoots for mine- and try drying some for winter..
     
  9. Kung Foo Chicken

    Kung Foo Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    digitS' :

    Quote:Nutrient Requirements of Poultry

    Researching nutritional needs IS fun, Kung Fu. However, if we wish to fully understand the information out there, we need to understand the relationships of the food parts of diet by breaking things up into components. (As Jim is saying - into amino acid rather than protein percentages) I was just reading in Wikipedia that there are thought to be 8 "essential" amino acids and 20 "nonessential" (?) ones. The difference is that the essential ones must be in our diets and the nonessential ones can be synthesized out of other components. All this gets a little complex . . .

    Perhaps it can be said, some critters have digestive systems that can use a limited number of foods and be healthy. Chickens, apparently, thrive on variety.

    One a side note: alfalfa protein can evidently be isolated or maybe the correct word is "concentrated." I'm wondering how that can be done. Alfalfa hay should have about what is required by a chicken if we only look at protein percentages (not sufficient but a starting point). It would be a little easier to utilize alfalfa if the percentages were higher since it must be used in combination with other, perhaps lower protein, foodstuffs. Just curious, probably waaaaay beyond my capabilities to do anything with alfalfa but even at $200/ton (current, very high price!), it is still a good deal cheaper than chicken feed. Buying chicken feed by the 50# bag will cost the equivalent of nearly $500/ton. That's not chicken feed!

    Perhaps like your neighborhood and kudzu, I can find alfalfa nearly every direction I look. It is in planted fields AND vacant lots. I can "harvest" it with a lawnmower . . .

    Steve

    edited to say: looking more closely at Diana's post - the "kudzu tofu" process may be the way alfalfa protein is concentrated . . . who'd have thunk?

    No of course I wouldn't feed just Kudzu to chickens. I was looking more into a supplement food such as feeding cracked corn and maybe later learning what could be added to just the Kudzu to make a more complete food. Such as adding earthworms, mealworms, other types of plants, easily found minerals etc.

    That's the question with Amino acids and exactly what is the nutritional content of local grown plants etc because that information is hard to come by and of course how much if any can be digested by the birds. Humans in China, Japan actually eat the plants and make flour with the roots and have used it to survive in times of famine and medicinal uses. That is why it hasn't overgrown those areas because people eat it.

    We know that Dandelions are edible by nearly all livestock, chickens, people but, what is the nutrition content? The reason I listed the protein etc was because those are the nutritional information I know from reading. The rest I do not know at this time.

    It's an interesting look at things from the perspective of thinking "What would I do if I could not buy bagged feed, either no money, or no feed store." How would one care for their chickens? Dow closing at -777.68 makes it more interesting to learn just in case one has to know.​
     
  10. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    4,871
    22
    251
    Jan 11, 2007
    re raw legumes :
    http://w3.dsi.uanl.mx/publicaciones/maricultura/acuiculturaV/tsmith.pdf
    "...Raw legumes contain anti-nutritional factors including protease inhibitors and lectins. These toxic proteins easily undergo thermal denaturation and the heating process in the production of soybean meal
    is usually adequate for detoxification. The feeding of raw legumes to poultry and swine results in growth depression due to pancreatic hypertrophy and hypersecretion of digestive enzymes by the
    exocrine pancreas. Binding of lectins to absorptive surfaces of the intestine reduces nutrient uptake...."

    http://ps.fass.org/cgi/reprint/81/1/92.pdf
    2002 Poultry Science Association, Inc.
    "....A number of adverse nutritional effects have been attributed to tannins. Studies have been conducted on the effects of tannins in feedstuffs on animal performance.
    Some of them have been carried out with tannins isolated
    from feedstuffs or with standard commercial tannins,
    such as TA, that were thought to be representative of
    tannins in many feedstuffs and with raw legumes containing
    different levels of tannins
    (Mitjavila et al., 1977;Wareham, 1993). It has been demonstrated that feeding growing animals diets containing these compounds brings about several undesirable physiological and biochemical effects. These effects are reflected by growth inhibition, negative nitrogen balances, reduced intestinal absorption of sugars and amino acids, reduced immune response, and increased liver and protein catabolism...... The liver is one of the body’s most sensitive organs to toxic factors or protein deficiency.,,,,"

    Here is an article containing nutritional analysis of some forages (you would need to look up any toxic factors and antinutritional factors associated with them)
    http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/wdb/pub/wmh/wmh.pdf

    Chickens are not ruminants and therefore fiber content is a major factor when you are thinking about harvesting such "food" instead of using it in a natural foraging situation where the bird will pick and choose. I for one would not feel competant to start on such a project.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by