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Pastured colored broilers/DP birds without commercial feed?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Mrs. Mucket, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does anyone raise meat chickens without commercial feed? We'll be raising colored broilers and dual purpose cockerels on our pasture that has grains mixed in. We move their night shelters around and they are ranging from sunup to sundown. We're wondering if they'll get everything they need.
     
  2. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    That is a huge question and one best answered by starting with a soil test and then samples of the forage checking protein levels. From there you could better determine where any shortfalls may be and what you need to supplement. We get soil and forage sampling done annually because of our dairy animals and it is not complicated or expensive. Even the best straight forage system is likely to slow the growth rate.
     
  3. ChickenAlgebra

    ChickenAlgebra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    We let the Rangers on pasture, but still give them feed. I let the DP chooks run around willy-nilly in grass, eating bugs etc and still feed them and I'm not trying to fatten them up.
     
  4. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

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    I run pasture and supplemental feed but the recipe i use is mine, so I know whats in it.
     
  5. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:kstaven--we've had our soil tested (at U Mass) but not forage. I'll check into that. What time of year do you send out your forage sample?
     
  6. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We free range, but since we sell our broilers we mix our own organic feed.
    I believe that you can raise poultry on pasture exclusively, though you will not get the weight gains needed for a cost effective turn over.
    A couple hundred chickens will need to be moved to different areas in order for the pasture to regain its growth.
    Our pastures will not be ready till May, but we can get good gains and cut down our feed cost once the pastures begin to produce.
    If long term and good quality forrage is available you should be good for pasture raised chickens.


    Good Luck
     
  7. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Mrs. Mucket :

    Quote:kstaven--we've had our soil tested (at U Mass) but not forage. I'll check into that. What time of year do you send out your forage sample?

    We wait until it is about a foot tall or better to get a good baseline. I won't suggest a time of year because of different growing climates we all have.​
     
  8. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's what I do, but I don't rely on pasture as the main feed. Greens are good for vitamin A but the protein (as others have said) is very variable.

    I move my chicks fairly early onto the sprout diet with wheat, corn, peas and sunflower (all sprouted), alfalfa meal (or lucerne chaff as we call it, soaked in molasses water), sweet lupins, meat meal, yeast, a little seaweed meal, and probiotics (kefir whey). This is their basis, then they get to eat whatever's under their feet until the next tractor move.

    Last group of chicks (only 12) were on this diet from day 2, but I also included a little cracked corn and dry millet early on until their gizzards were able to grind the harder bigger seeds.

    I feel it's best to provide a ration with the appropriate protein level and if I find they're filling up on greens instead then assume they probably know best... You can judge how much ration to put out by what they ate yesterday. Whereas if the protein isn't there in either the ration or the grass, it might only become obvious when the birds fail to thrive.

    Good luck with whatever system you choose, mine seems to work well for me.
     
  9. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    We are lucky in that we only have to go to sprouts in the winter. Then we have our dairy animals on it also.

    That is the problem with discussing feeds and practices. What applies to myself doesn't work in the next valley over and doesn't apply on properties around us that have been cropped to death with no thought to long term soil health.

    Whey from our cheese production is high protein candy to the chickens.
     

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