Old-time method: Is layer food really needed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by country freedom, Apr 4, 2009.

  1. country freedom

    country freedom Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think I understand why people wanted breeds that laid every day and didn't go broody at all. Have enough eggs to sell to the public and for their own family.

    But, if my family doesn't eat that many eggs (and my family is downsizing), what about the breeds that go broody, which I'd rather have, would layer food still be needed? I already know about oyster shell.

    How did people do this in the olden times?
  2. BFeathered

    BFeathered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2008
    North Texas
    I'm no expert, but letting them free range and giving them their own eggshells (dried and thoroughly crushed) would probably be one way of doing it. I've also heard that any extra calcium they need for general health can be gotten through "soured dairy products" aka yogurt, etc. A lot of "old-timers" around here just give them scratch, leftover veggies (raw, from making your meals) and let them free range for whatever they find/want. Check the chicken "Treats" list for what's good and what's not if you want to go this route. Good luck!
  3. Stamper

    Stamper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2009
    I'm curious about this too [​IMG]
  4. vermontgal

    vermontgal Chillin' With My Peeps

    I found an old article on the web about chicken foods - Feeding for Eggs (pdf) - from the Oregon Agricultural College, 1914. This is an interesting article because it addresses a balanced diet from the perspective of feeding chickens the various individual foods (oats, corn, flax, milk, yogurt, meat, greens, etc.) - rather than just heaving along a 50 lb bag that is supposed to do it all.

    This article still emphasizes how to balance things and maximize egg production, not just rely on whatever scraps come off your table. The old-timers would still have fed chickens grains, and likely these grains would have been around for humans, horses, cows, etc. anyhow.
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I am working towards a flock that will reproduce itself. I have 4 hens who get layer feed but no additional calcium. I haven't even bothered to cook and crush eggshells for them, as their eggshells are good and hard. But we live where there is a lot of limestone in the soil, and they free range. If the shells ever show signs of a need for more calcium, I will offer crushed eggshells.

    This area is rural south Georgia, lots of farms, and people are not wealthy.... Around here in the old days, people fed table/veg scraps only, and let the chickens find their own food. Perhaps chickens got enough protein from bugs and worms, or there were enough meat scraps (I worry more about protein than calcium.) I do keep layer feed available to my 4 hens, but it takes them at least a month to go through a one gallon container of it. I do offer a small amount of table scraps or veg scraps or other treats each day. Mostly they find their own food.
  6. SewingDiva

    SewingDiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I'd wager this is still the case in the developing world too and I'm convinced that in milder climates chickens can easily find enough food for themselves if they free rgange. They are pretty resourceful animals! Now that spring is here ours have been free ranging more and I've already noticed I'm not going through feed quite as fast because they are finding more of their own food.

  7. lalyswishytail

    lalyswishytail Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 13, 2009
    Chicago area
    I asked the same question, (about feeding the old-fashioned way), back in January and no matter what I type into the search box, I can't find it! People gave me some really interesting ideas about what their grandparents did including simply growing and roasting corn themselves. I'll keep looking. If you find the link first, would you mind posting it?

  8. lalyswishytail

    lalyswishytail Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 13, 2009
    Chicago area
    I found it! I don't know how to post the link though. For now, it's on page 24 and it's titled "Does anyone feed the 'old fashioned' way?" (or something very close to that. There were 37 posts so maybe you'll find something that works for you.
  9. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I think a lot of people back in the day free ranged and fed table scraps. In the winter they fed cracked corn.
  10. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    Remember most 'old timers' had other other animals that the chickens cleaned up after, either on there homestead or the neighbors, most people don't let feed lay around like that nowadays

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