Pellets, organics, and grains and the big debate

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Chicken Slave, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Chicken Slave

    Chicken Slave Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello all! I am feeding organically regardless of product. My problem though is this. I can not find an organic pellet, they eat pellets ok but not great. The two organic feeds I have tried have ingredients finely ground and the only way to get them to eat it is making a mash which is kind of a pain daily. Then there are the grain feed recipes which so many people say to use only as scratch. Now, they eat an organic grain feed mix just great, all of it. I used six diff recipes, chose grains from each part of the recipe that htey like and balanced out the rations. I had some great eggs from that! I am now trying the second organic mix and it is ground up as I said and they leave all the ground stuff in the feeder. As a chicken under wild circumstances would eat greens, grains, and bugs, why are so many people so adamant about pellet feeds? Why only feed grains as a treat? My hens free range each day for several hours and I made a planter in their pen and grow wheatgrass for them. They probably get less bugs than anything at this time of year. Is it just personal preference, or concern over the balance of nutrition?
    Thanks
     
  2. TheSpeckledRoo

    TheSpeckledRoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like to feed my girls pellets because it equals less waste. If you watch a chicken will grab a mouthful of crumbles and chuck about half of it on the ground. With pellets my girls are less likely to do so. I have noticed however, my girls lay much better (2 or 3 more eggs a day) when fed crumbles. I think its the fact that they are easier to digest. I am very interested in learning about how you make your own feed. Is it cheaper than the commercial brands?
     
  3. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote: What is your definition of "wild circumstances"? There are no "Wild" chickens, never was.

    Chris
     
  4. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    I mix my own feed and it is more expensive than the "commercial feed".

    Chris
     
  5. Chicken Slave

    Chicken Slave Out Of The Brooder

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    Waste was the consideration when choosing from the various online recipes. Our local Whole Foods was having a 20% off bulk sale the weekend I was doing this so that helped a lot. I went and gathered smaller amounts of many things and tested them all to find stuff they liked. Then rationed them into the mix properly. The way I ordered my last batch of grain, it did come out cheaper. However I made a bulk purchase and picked up my grain at the shipping terminal instead of home delivery. Buying a 50lb bag of feed comes out about the same as the mix once you buy all the grain to make your own. What your mix is fresher than the bulk mixed feed usually. Below is the recipe my hens liked best. I just gave them that mix and they went nuts instead of walking away from the feeder as soon as the corn was gone for the organic mix. I can still use up the mixed feed as mash. Great for them on cold mornings! But I don't wanna do that every day just to get them to eat.
    As of now they don't seem to really care for much fresh veggies or fruits. Bananas they liked and broccoli. So their food has to provide their nutrition. They free range but bugs are low this time of year. Some people add fish meal to this recipe. I get plenty of nice eggs w/out the added protein. I do feed mealworms dried but starting to raise them for fresh ones during winter.


    6 parts wheat
    4 parts rolled oats
    1 part field peas
    2 parts cracked corn
    2 parts flax seed
    1 part sunflower seeds
    1 part alfalfa pellets
    1/2 sesame seeds
    1/2 part diatomaceous earth
    1/2 part kelp powder
    1/2 nutritional yeast
     
  6. Chicken Slave

    Chicken Slave Out Of The Brooder

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    If a chicken were too be a wild bird. Not that they ever were. although I do see people who just let their flock roam on their land w/ no particular mind. Kinda wild.lol Dustbowl Ok period chickens ate wheat. That was their only choice. Until the grasshoppers came. Not that this was the healthiest diet but it does bode well for using the grains.
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    I see a bigger concern than the form of feed (mash, crumble, pelleted or "all grain") when it comes to chicken feed.
    Chickens are Omnivore and eat both Meat and Plants, most of today's chicken feed are a Herbivore (vegetarian) diet. Chickens need Animal Protein in there feed even if they "free rang".

    As for what form of feed is better for today's chicken, I would say that a "all grain" diet is going to be poor choice for most of today's chickens. Over the past 5000 years of man breeding chickens to their needs most chicken have lost the ability to process the nutrition they need from a mix of grains (plus a all grain feed contains no animal proteins). [​IMG]

    Chris
     
  8. Chicken Slave

    Chicken Slave Out Of The Brooder

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    Well I'm pretty certain that they haven't been pelletizing food for more than about 50 years or so. That doesn't really make much of a dent over 5,000 years. At what point does an animal loose it's ability to digest foods? What was done in order for these birds to not digest grain? I certainly don't understand. I give my birds mealworms as a treat daily. They forage and get bugs and worms. I don't see a whole lot of people feeding their chickens meat products. Fish meal in some recipes but when is a chicken ever going to get a chance to eat fish? I know they will eat mice and frogs and the like if they are given the opportunity.
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote: Who said they lost the ability to digest food? I said that they lost the ability to process the nutrition they need from a mix of grains.



    Quote: Most of today's birds are bred for one of three things, Egg Production, Meat Production, or a Combination of Both and these birds can not extract all of the nutrients that are in whole grain.
    These birds also need a fare amount of protein in there diet to preform and look good.



    Quote: How many people do you know that have poultry? I know a lot of breeders and a good bit of people that raise poultry for eggs and I would have to say nearly all of them feed a feed that contains animal proteins. The feed that I feed has Fish Meal, Poultry Meal and Beef Meal in it.

    I think that you may be over looking that chickens are "Man Made" there is no "Natural Feed" for them, and that they will by instinct eat anything that don't eat them first that includes fish. I have seen my chickens steal fish from my 15 pound Muscovy that was on the bank of our creek.
    I be honest I don't see any feed mfg. putting "meal worm meal", "worm meal", "frog meal or even" "snake meal" in there poultry feed anytime soon. [​IMG]

    Chris


    Chris
     
  10. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    My Coop
    I feed an organic mash (Countryside) which has a lot of powdery fines in it. Once a week, after the chickens leave the 'dust' (full of nutrition), I take it and mix it with a bit of water, and they scarf it down. It takes me maybe 10 minutes per week, which is time well spent to ensure the health of my chickens. I find that there is not enough powder each day to mess with, so I let it accumulate for a week, except for in the hottest, most humid parts of summer, when I do it more frequently.
    Buying the organic mash is actually less expensive than trying to mix my own feed, especially given the protein requirements that laying and moulting birds have.
     

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