scraps/free range/comm feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by polychickens, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. polychickens

    polychickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2007
    My layer ration says NOT to feed additional grains. I assume this is so that they sell more of the processed feed.

    It also says to feed 85# per bird per year...AND to offer it free choice and keep bowls half full.

    Is there a rule of thumb whereby scraps and foraging decrease the commercial feed schedule? If I feed 35 hens 8 pounds of ration per day, can I decrease it to 7 lbs if I give a pound of table scraps? What about free ranging? If I allow them to forage for 2 hours/day each evening, can I expect to cut back slightly on commercial feed?

    I may be the only one here, but I have to do the math and keep costs as low as possible and feed is my highest outlay now.

    Thanks!
    Poly
     
  2. TransplantedTexan

    TransplantedTexan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow!, I am kinda new to this, my first year, but I have 21 birds and feed them no where close to 7-8 pounds a day.
    I have a little tuppeware container, maybe 4-5 cups worth.
    I fill this and it fills a trough. There are 4 troughs, so about 16-20 cups x 2 a day. I also throw a little scratch, like a few hand fulls a day now.

    I would guess about 4 pounds is what I feed a day.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2007
  3. polychickens

    polychickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey Texan, it sounds to me like our numbers are pretty close. If you are at 30-40 cups per day for 21 birds, that has to be nearly equal to my roughly 8 pounds for 35 on a 'per bird' basis.
    Poly
     
  4. TransplantedTexan

    TransplantedTexan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, a buddy and I got to talking about it here at work and I guess so. I did not initially think that amount would weigh that much.
     
  5. picklespickles

    picklespickles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2007
    everyone will say something different.

    me, personally, the more money i have the more commercial i feed. the less, the more scraps. the very least, then total free range.

    mine have subsisted on everything from total free range to scratch to egglayer to table scraps to sunflower seeds to cornmeal to tortillas.

    as long as they are a decent weight and seem happy enough then don't let all the rules worry you. just keep something in their tummies.

    in the old days, people had free range chickens or just fed them slop. their chickens did fine. not saying that commercial feed isn't balanced etc. etc. but if money is a problem and it certainly can be an issue with me, then just keep doing your best and it will all work out.

    i personally will do the math backwards. as in, how much can i afford to spend that month? okay. i have zero money or i have x dollars? so, then, from there how much feed, how much treats, how much grasshoppers will i catch from the other yard and toss over the fence, will i buy an extra bag of tortillas at the dollar store, will i be sure to toss all kitchen scraps outside etc. i like to stock up and always have extra feed on hand, but somtime life intervenes, so i take a practical approach.

    ps my neighbors are well trained and offer me their old vegetables and fruits, etc. [​IMG] they get a few extra eggs and i get some free feed.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It all depends on how you want to raise them. I feed 24/7 free choice and free range with no fences. They get so much scraps most of it ends up compost. They still eat their feed though. Companies may want to make money but may also be warning against those who want to dilute feed with cheap in some area stuff like scratch which doesn't have enough protein in it.
     
  7. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    I agree...for those folks who have their birds as a laying flock for the eggs and meat, then they are usually more tolerant of loss from illness etc. ... all illness and conditions are really secondary to their daily nutrition. That being said , stress from a molt, move, the weather, parasites and getting bullied from other birds even can easily induce a sub-clinical level of deficiency which in turn affects their immune system .... this can be balanced out by other sources such as pasture or healthy treats/scraps. (note I said healthy>human table scraps (even if you do not add salt) often have too much salt just as an example if you have vegetables from a can it will have salt in it already)
    It is why I give my birds a complete supplement (Avia Charge 2000 is such a supplement) and am very careful about any treats/scraps I give but I DO give them with the intention of supplementation dependent on the season or other factors.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2007
  8. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    The reason they don't want you to add grains is so that the daily %ages of nutrients isn't changed.....

    HOWEVER-
    It is my personal belief that most if not all chicken feed is made based on the economics of feeding a lot of chickens the least amount of feed to get the most amount of eggs.....

    This is not ideal for the typical backyard chickener....You typically want a better feed/nutriotion than staying alive and egg laying ration....

    I have the luxury of free ranging my chickens where they have access to greenery, bugs and lots of other edibles free choice all day! They eat a little of the feed, but hardly any---

    Sandra
     
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    They eat a little of the feed, but hardly any---

    ...I think this is dependent on the type of "freerange" pasture they have...I simply have a backyard with grass and mine eat quite a bit and are there at my kitchen door demanding it (if I have slept in)​
     
  10. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The reason they don't want you to add grains is so that the daily %ages of nutrients isn't changed.....

    From My experience this is a correct statement. The main "%age" that will be thrown off is protien, it will decrease. IMHO
    That being said, if they free range , they are probably getting plenty of protien,( bugs and such) to compensate for any "watering down" nutrients.

    Hmmmm.........is "%ages" a word? [​IMG] J/K

    Randy​
     

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