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question about the type of grain used

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by dwdanby, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. dwdanby

    dwdanby Hatching

    Jan 1, 2013
    I am here kind of under false pretenses. I have a question about the grain that both locally raised and commercially grown chickens eat. I am interested in the economical question of how many pounds of grain it takes to produce one pound of chicken. There is a popular ratio of around five to one, but someone told me that in actual fact, the grain chickens eat, while real grain and good for the chickens, is actually not the part of the grain harvest which is for human consumption. In other words it is healthy chicken feed but would be wasted if they (and other animals) didn't eat it. Is there any truth to this? What would you say the ratio of grain to meat is? Thanks for your help.

  2. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    The Feed to Meat Ratio depends on A LOT of things but 2 big ones come to mind;
    (1) quality of feed, if your just feeding a random mix of grains your going to feed a whole lot more feed than if you feed a good commercial feed. The same can be said if your feeding a cheep commercial feed compared to feeding a good Meat Bird Feed.
    (2) What type of breed/s are we talking about? Meat Breeds grow faster than a Dual Purpose Breed and if a Dual Purpose Breed is it hatchery quality or breeder/ show quality?

    As for the quality of the feedstuff that go's into livestock feed it can very for feed to feed and brand to brand but it is still good quality feedstuff and can consist of culls from a "human food plant". Now there are by-products that are used in livestock feed but there of good quality and can be anything from Wheat Middlings, to Potato Wast.

  3. dwdanby

    dwdanby Hatching

    Jan 1, 2013
    Chris, thanks for the detailed reply. I have a question: so when you say "culls" do you mean they take grain from a "human plant" that is therefore good to eat for a human? Also, I am thinking of both meat birds and layers, but not birds used for show. And yes, basically I'm thinking of locally raised birds that come to my local market that have been raised humanely, so not in cages, and I'm guessing they have been fed a good commercial feed, so I'm looking for the contents of that type of feed. So what you're saying is that a good commercial feed does contain some grain that humans could eat? and what would you say the percentage of the feed is of that type of grain? Thanks for helping me out on this.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Seldom are animal feeds made from low quality feedstuffs be they from plant or animal sources. All ingredients I am aware of have the potential for being consumed directly by humans and safe for such use although they may not be all that tasty. Cull products which likely represent only a small portion are likely to be designated by particulate size rather than significant differences in nutritional quality. Most feed manufacturers take their job and customers satisfaction very seriously. Bad batch of feed mean bad PR and potential for reduced future sales. Bad batches are made and sold occasionally but that is far from a regular occurrence.
  5. coffeenutdesign

    coffeenutdesign Chirping

    Jul 24, 2012
    You would probably get more precise answers by contacting a few feed mills in different regions and comparing their answers. Also, you might be in the wrong frame of mind asking if livestock feeds are made from grains that humans could eat. People CHOOSE not to eat a lot of things they could eat. Common commercialism dictates that food sold to humans has to be pretty and has to be the same size and shape and has to conform to society's expectations or it is not "fit" to sell to a grocery store, even if it is perfectly edible. Heck, there are plenty of weeds and plants you can find in fields that livestock graze that are safe for human consumption, but most people don't go foraging for their salad alongside the animals.
  6. Organics North

    Organics North Songster

    Dec 30, 2009
    Wisconsin Northwoods
    I am going to twist this a bit.... Leave the whole industrial mindset of how many pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken thing for others.... (It ain't good, be a vegetarian, eat the grains and skip the chickens if you want to be efficient.. Besides we are saturated with Omega 6 grain based meats, it ain't healthy either!)

    Chickens have been domesticated and kept by the poorest peoples of the planet for a very long time.... This whole notion of growing grains for chickens is new and stems from the wasteful consumer industrial mindset...

    The question is how many chickens can your family support? How many chickens can your land support?

    Grains? Sure mine eat them in winter, but otherwise they free range and eat very very little grains... They would much rather forage for bugs, roots and tender shoots. I supplement with forage crops during dry times... Grow Kale and lettuce for your birds, keep a compost pile for them to work and turn. They eat very few grains during those times of year.

    Chickens are extremely efficient when kept as part of human subsistence living set up. (I value their poop as much as the eggs or meat!)

    Key is one needs to develop a good understanding of nutrition and what is needed and what is not in order to buck the system and be efficient... Make it a life long passion... I will change the way you think, the way you live the way you eat and will bring you back in balance with the rhythm of the natural world... (However, you will only be eating chicken a few times a year, maybe a Sunday chicken dinner if you have enough land...)

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