Sand as substrate & cheap dog food as feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by little_grey_bantam, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Russell County
    I'm just thinking up of ideas on how to make my coop better...
    I figured, they have dirt now and even the hard dirt out here, they manage to "dust bathe" themselves to freedom (or it appears, soon to be!). I was wondering if sand would work??? I figured, it'd be like a big kitty/chicken litterbox... and I'd just have a HUGE pooper scooper, but bigger and the holes would be smaller and I could just scoop up chicken poop at the end of the week and replace the sand as needed? lol, iono, one of those big "ideas" I get when I can't sleep at night...

    Also, for chicken feed, they're on a diet of grain, fresh fruit, fresh veggies and every so often meat (sometimes even fresh meat!). We purchase these EXTREMELY cheap dog food that has a teeny tiny percentage of protein (animal wise, if any at all!) but it's nearly 90% soybean, corn, wheat, millow(sp?), etc. Most of the stuff I purchase at the grain store in bags I feed for the chickens! It's pretty good stuff and we feed it as a snack to our rodent pals and was wondering if this would work well for my flock also! It's pretty much grain lol and cheaper (a little over $10 per 50 pounds) than the regular stuff... once I had soaked them in a kiddie pool of water and all the chickens jumped on the ledge and fished them out - they had a blast (... my chickens aren't scared of water... which typically means a big NO NO!!! since I've heard stories of chickens drowning... and have had one nearly drown!).... any ideas on if feeding cheapo grain-based dog food is alright? Not good for dogs, but great for a poultry flock I suppose! It's just in huge balls; hence why I soak them in water and let them swell and have the chickens fish 'em out [​IMG]

    As for the crumble stuff, usually I get annoyed at the prices (they're killing me! lol) that it's a good idea sometimes to mix it with water so it clumps together in sort of a jello-like substance and the chickens will eat it and won't waste so much (so the sneaky meece and rats can't come and steal them!). lol, it works pretty well, but only feed as much as needed (think fish) or it will rot/mold/etc. especially in hot weather! just wanted to share that!

    Any ideas? Sorry for the run-on sentences lol just thinking too much!
     
  2. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yeah, and just so I don't post a million new threads...

    This is another good idea I was thinking about... putting metal rods around the coop so if something does want to dig... well, they get blocked by metal rods... lol, of course, the rods I was thinking about would probably be expensive... and once you put them in the ground, there is very little of you can do to get them out lol

    And for my coop, I was going to surround it with limestone flatrocks.. because the chickens keep trying to dust bath themselves out... and it appears that most animals aren't smart enough... if they see a hole (even a slight once) that leads to inside, they will be more intent on digging into the coop, but if they see something hard and too much to work on, they'll think twice? That's what the older farmers around here say [​IMG]
     
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    I wouldn't suggest dog food, cheap or otherwise, as a protein source. I've never seen it recommended, whereas cat food is recommended everywhere. According to my vets, cat food has a higher percentage of protein than dog food.
     
  4. FlashPointFarm

    FlashPointFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 24, 2009
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    I remember someone else on here posting that they tried the rod thing and it didn't work.
     
  5. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I meant, not as a protein source, but a grain source... my flock already gets a good protein source. The cheap dog food is high in grain content and it has almost no protein source, so I suppose it'd be great as a grain source. I was thinking this grain-based dog food could supplement for some grain as grain is more expensive, at least, the ones we purchase at the moment (we'll be purchasing grain in bulk later, but it's a ways off). Plus, they enjoy eating them.
     
  6. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    I don't know about dog food but my coop has a dirt/sand floor (on top of 1/2 inch hardware cloth) so it drains excess water very well. Then I throw straw on top. My birds love digging in it for dust baths and whatever else they can find.

    Got to muck it out soon, I've been adding straw all winter and it's probably time.
     
  7. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Dog food might be too high in sodium for the chickens.


    We used a 6' kiddie wading pool as a brooder and then it went to the barn with the flock. We put sand, de, dirt and wood shavings in the pool. I use a kitty litter scoop to clean it out once a week.

    I talk about it and show a pic here...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=1428&p=2
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2009
  8. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    I'm still confused by your first post...if you're feeding them grain & fruit/veggies with only occasional meat treats, what is their main protein source currently?
     
  9. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Chickens have a totally different nutrient need than dogs, while it may be high in grain content it certainly isn't balanced to meet the needs of a chicken. Even with you giving the birds kitchen scraps it isn't going to make up for the nutritional needs of a flock of chickens. They'd be better off free ranging and fending for themselves. If you can't free range your flock then you really need to go to the expense of buy real chicken feed.
     
  10. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Russell County
    I forgot about sodium content... I guess I should look into that. I was just eyeballing the ingredients on the back of the dog food and was surprised by it!

    What we've been doing...

    *garden for fruits and veggies... (part spring & summer and into early fall) for them
    *table/fridge scraps... (year round) don't worry, nothing bad, it's all fruits, veggies, cooked meats and cooked eggs!
    *deer bones come during fall, but deer meat is available all year round, but they have to be cut into itty bitty strips... or well, they attrack predators (thank goodness for the dogs!).
    *LOTS and LOTS of mealworms & pinkies (I raise the worms and we often buy the pinkies! they love the pinkies but only get it every so often)
    *as for now, they get fancy scratch, but we will be getting organic local farm "scratch" millow, wheat, whatever other "plant seeds" lol
    *they do get baked and crumbled egg shells (old farmers tell me this is good for calcium)
    *when we can, oyster shells & "grits"
    *some layer ration crumble thing (we live out in the middle of nowhere and when we make it into town, they always have a different brand available! we try to "beat" our way to it before everyone else does and do stock up). When we do drive about 150 miles out of our way to the nearest city, we get better stuff!
    *we have fed them some wild game grain in the past and will probably be getting more since we know people now, but wasn't sure if this was good or bad... it is a wee bit expensive!
    OH and when possible (when it's not freezing your end off) we plant those seeds and let 'em chow on that!

    They're all free-roam, but do have a run and a coop and even once had a room in the house dedicated to them until we learned what "chicken dander" was lol
     

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