Raising chicks without premix

jessifl

In the Brooder
Dec 13, 2017
9
3
14
I pasture my chickens and hatch some eggs myself because I raise true Americanas and I also raise Delawares. I do let my girls go broody and raise some pasture mutts though.
My girls are half wild at this point mostly living on their own. I only intervene when select breeding or if someone has an injury or illness. This isn’t very often though.
Currently I do provide them with homemade feed and compost.
I have a horse and hogs so protein from bugs isn’t an issue.
My feed is a mix of all organic wheat, barley, oats, sunflower seed and corn- in cold months. I also make sure they are getting enough protein with crab or fish meal and a premix. I soak my grains and then mix in the meal and premix right at feeding.
I have tried raising my hatched chicks without a premix and they started just dying at around 10 weeks old at the rate of 1 a day until I got more premix delivered and all was well over night. I also mill the grains for them until they can handle whole grains.
But my pasture chicks don’t get anything milled and they actually grow up heavy and healthy.
Has anyone raised chicks without premix or store bought feed? It’s got to be doable because there is no way people bought premix a few decades ago.
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Apr 9, 2016
14,342
19,901
832
California's Redwood Coast
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

What's a "true Americana"?

Using corn when it's cold... is a MYTH that needs to be debunked. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie... calories from just about ANY source are fine... they will either come from protein, carbs (including fiber), or fat... Birds will use those calories to stay warm... protein and carbs being equal in calories I choose higher protein since it has more nutrients. Bugs and sunflower seed are just too high in fat... though obviously bugs are free choice on pasture.

So I do remember one person who does nothing but free range for their RIR flock. I'm sure some breeds are more suited to it than others, as their is a wide array of foraging abilities or desire. Sounds like you pasture conditions may be more consistent than mine seasonally. Some seasons are more bug heavy and green than others.

I can't help but wonder of you 10 week old loss episode was coccidiosis that was corrected by the time your premix came in. Sorry you faced those. :hugs

It's funny that people some how don't consider buying all those grains and such as a store bought feed. :confused: Do you mind sharing what your premix is? Although, your set up doesn't sound like it will work for me.. I am still here to learn and like to see the different ways people do things and what does and doesn't work for them.

It may come on your premix or fish meal stuff, but just as informational purposes... it isn't just the protein from the bugs that's important, it's the amino acids that also count. I know they are added into the vegetarian formulas many of us buy.

I would consider sprouting my grains... but I don't think I would mill them. I know you are already soaking, and that MAY be enough to provide the better bio availability of the nutrients within them. My guess is your chicks on pasture with no milled grains are getting a more rounded nutrient profile.

It's true many decades ago, pelleted feeds may not have been as readily available or widely used. It's also true they didn't have the awareness we do and may not have been too concerned with longevity. I know some people will feed animals all kinds of stuff. And it's so different being in country where our table scraps go to the trash instead of the animals! :hmm

Putting where you are located in your profile will help others to make the most relevant suggestions possible at a quick glance. ;)

Spoiled chickens.... eating crab! :p Using fish meal and crab doesn't equal fishy eggs when you eat them? :sick

Maybe raising your chicks outdoors in their own little protected pasture would give them the same nutritional benefit as your others seem to get? My recent piggy addition is said to get iron from the dirt but if kept indoors needs a supplement. I would love to see pics of your lovely flock! :pop

I hope you get lots of fantastic and informative answers! :highfive:
 

jessifl

In the Brooder
Dec 13, 2017
9
3
14
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

What's a "true Americana"?

Using corn when it's cold... is a MYTH that needs to be debunked. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie... calories from just about ANY source are fine... they will either come from protein, carbs (including fiber), or fat... Birds will use those calories to stay warm... protein and carbs being equal in calories I choose higher protein since it has more nutrients. Bugs and sunflower seed are just too high in fat... though obviously bugs are free choice on pasture.

So I do remember one person who does nothing but free range for their RIR flock. I'm sure some breeds are more suited to it than others, as their is a wide array of foraging abilities or desire. Sounds like you pasture conditions may be more consistent than mine seasonally. Some seasons are more bug heavy and green than others.

I can't help but wonder of you 10 week old loss episode was coccidiosis that was corrected by the time your premix came in. Sorry you faced those. :hugs

It's funny that people some how don't consider buying all those grains and such as a store bought feed. :confused: Do you mind sharing what your premix is? Although, your set up doesn't sound like it will work for me.. I am still here to learn and like to see the different ways people do things and what does and doesn't work for them.

It may come on your premix or fish meal stuff, but just as informational purposes... it isn't just the protein from the bugs that's important, it's the amino acids that also count. I know they are added into the vegetarian formulas many of us buy.

I would consider sprouting my grains... but I don't think I would mill them. I know you are already soaking, and that MAY be enough to provide the better bio availability of the nutrients within them. My guess is your chicks on pasture with no milled grains are getting a more rounded nutrient profile.

It's true many decades ago, pelleted feeds may not have been as readily available or widely used. It's also true they didn't have the awareness we do and may not have been too concerned with longevity. I know some people will feed animals all kinds of stuff. And it's so different being in country where our table scraps go to the trash instead of the animals! :hmm

Putting where you are located in your profile will help others to make the most relevant suggestions possible at a quick glance. ;)

Spoiled chickens.... eating crab! :p Using fish meal and crab doesn't equal fishy eggs when you eat them? :sick

Maybe raising your chicks outdoors in their own little protected pasture would give them the same nutritional benefit as your others seem to get? My recent piggy addition is said to get iron from the dirt but if kept indoors needs a supplement. I would love to see pics of your lovely flock! :pop

I hope you get lots of fantastic and informative answers! :highfive:
Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

What's a "true Americana"?

Using corn when it's cold... is a MYTH that needs to be debunked. A calorie is a calorie is a calorie... calories from just about ANY source are fine... they will either come from protein, carbs (including fiber), or fat... Birds will use those calories to stay warm... protein and carbs being equal in calories I choose higher protein since it has more nutrients. Bugs and sunflower seed are just too high in fat... though obviously bugs are free choice on pasture.

So I do remember one person who does nothing but free range for their RIR flock. I'm sure some breeds are more suited to it than others, as their is a wide array of foraging abilities or desire. Sounds like you pasture conditions may be more consistent than mine seasonally. Some seasons are more bug heavy and green than others.

I can't help but wonder of you 10 week old loss episode was coccidiosis that was corrected by the time your premix came in. Sorry you faced those. :hugs

It's funny that people some how don't consider buying all those grains and such as a store bought feed. :confused: Do you mind sharing what your premix is? Although, your set up doesn't sound like it will work for me.. I am still here to learn and like to see the different ways people do things and what does and doesn't work for them.

It may come on your premix or fish meal stuff, but just as informational purposes... it isn't just the protein from the bugs that's important, it's the amino acids that also count. I know they are added into the vegetarian formulas many of us buy.

I would consider sprouting my grains... but I don't think I would mill them. I know you are already soaking, and that MAY be enough to provide the better bio availability of the nutrients within them. My guess is your chicks on pasture with no milled grains are getting a more rounded nutrient profile.

It's true many decades ago, pelleted feeds may not have been as readily available or widely used. It's also true they didn't have the awareness we do and may not have been too concerned with longevity. I know some people will feed animals all kinds of stuff. And it's so different being in country where our table scraps go to the trash instead of the animals! :hmm

Putting where you are located in your profile will help others to make the most relevant suggestions possible at a quick glance. ;)

Spoiled chickens.... eating crab! :p Using fish meal and crab doesn't equal fishy eggs when you eat them? :sick

Maybe raising your chicks outdoors in their own little protected pasture would give them the same nutritional benefit as your others seem to get? My recent piggy addition is said to get iron from the dirt but if kept indoors needs a supplement. I would love to see pics of your lovely flock! :pop

I hope you get lots of fantastic and informative answers! :highfive:

Ameraucana Sorry- autocorrect.
I am in south Louisiana.
Yes I know a calorie is a calorie but it is proven nothing will help with fat building like corn. Here that is important because of the wet soggy conditions during fall and winter and usually spring.
Here crab meal is cheap because it’s a by product of our crabbing industry.
My premix is from abcplus.biz. Thy are a great source of tons of different mixes for any kind of live stock.
Yes our area is very buggy during warm seasons and I don’t worry too much.
I have stopped grinding since I wrote this post because I am noticing that my young birds burn through a lot less feed if I feed them whole grain after about 4 weeks.
The “wild” chicks are still getting the premix and all because I do put it in everyone’s feed. I do this to make sure my girls get everything they need. I like my birds to maintain a good physical condition to keep them laying as long as possible. Plus I like knowing their bones and everything are good and healthy at the end of the road when they end up stock.
I don’t think the dying off was an illness. I do believe it was the lack of something vital. I have read a few others this happen to and had a great conversation with a man from eco-ranch.com. Plus I do keep very good notes on any and every illness or injury with my birds.
I hope this response answers all your points. Thanks for the thoughtful reply!
 

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