Small flock vs. 50# feed bags.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lazy gardener, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    ~~On the topic of feed, I'm sure I'm not the only person with this problem. I have 5 girls, so am not able to use a 50# bag of feed before it goes stale. So, I'm considering other options. My girls really don't like the crumble feed, and I'm certain that they wouldn't like pellets either. What is in the typical bag of scratch? Are the seeds whole or cracked? Would a switch over to scratch with BOSS supplementation be a more economical way to go? I'm currently giving them a 22% protein feed. They get supplemented sprouts, cracked corn, and BOSS, and some table scraps. So the crumble is truly their last choice. I'm thinking that if it's a last choice, perhaps they know their needs better than the companies that sell the feed! FEED back welcome! (pun intended)

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2013
    When I raise chicks that my broody hatched, at first #50 lasts a bit. I keep the extra that does not fit in feeders in sealed pails that I get from a donut shop. They get their icing in them so they are food grade. If stored in a cool place the feed keeps fine. I would not mix your own unless you have a proper recipe. You don't want nutritional heath problems. Scratch grains is a treat to keep them busy, I don't even buy it. I throw out some oats on occasion. I am trying to go organic, we found a feed mill who will mix 16% layer, no pellets or crumbles. I am very excited about this! If you have a bakery near you see if they will give you pails and lids. They work great!
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Feed will keep for months if not subjected to elements, rain and direct sun. Where you buy your feed is rotated for oldest sold to you to keep it fresh and stored in non air tight bags in open sheds.

    5 birds (grown) will consume a #50 bag in at most 40 days. There's little reason for it to go stale. Store in garage or a shed, out of direct sun and rain, in a container like a trash can with lid.
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  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    They don't know what's best for them. The corn and BOSS is candy. Of course they are going to eat it before the layer. Cut those out and just give them the layer plus limited sprouts and scraps. They will automatically eat more layer. A 50# bag of layer should only last 6-7 weeks with 5 hens. It's not going to go stale or spoil unless it gets wet or mice get into it. Keep it in a sealed container.

    Scratch is going to come in a 50# bag as well. The problem with just offering scratch is it's not a balanced diet, it's low protein, low Ca, high starch and you'll probably end up with fat hens when offered free choice. You might save some $$ but your egg production will suffer.
  5. marktoo

    marktoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aw now, see what you've gone & done? I had considered this briefly when we first started this venture. I put it out of my mind, reasoning that the feed had probably been sitting in the warehouse far longer than it would be sitting in the garbage can I store it in. Figured as long as I make sure it stays dry, it was about as good as its gonna get. I'm feeding organic feed & scratch, some of which is fermented, along with veggie peelings etc, etc. I was certain I was giving them the best nutrition possible without free ranging, now you got me wondering again. Thanks! Thanks a lot! [​IMG]
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Marktoo, I'm So very sorry. (no, not really!) I would not be the least bit concerned, except that my girls really don't like the prepared formulations, and I'm not sure whether to pull all of the stuff that they prefer to eat in order to force them to eat the prepared feed. Some how, that seems counter productive. Spring can't come fast enough (along with all of the inherent goodies to be had in free range.) Of course, my other option which I'll certainly address this spring is to increase my flock size to be able to utilize a 50# bag while it is still fresh! Unless, of course, I come up with a simple, grain based formulation that will meet their needs. BeeKissed, I'm intrigued with the blend you posted a while back (at least I think it was you) consisting of grains with Koi fish food as a protein booster. But, again, small flock size is a deterrent to economy sized feed bags. Poor hubby is slowly but surely bending to the flock mentality. He brought me some eggs (fertile) from a friend today. Jokingly, I commented that they were fertile, so we should hatch them instead of eating them. He didn't even bat an eye, and said, "so you don't want me to put them in the fridge?" [​IMG] I had no idea that my subtle approach would be so very successful. Perhaps, I should start working on the goat angle... or perhaps meat rabbits. Or a pig!
  7. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I have a hen that can not tolerate any bagged feeds without becoming ill. So I formulated my own feed using different grains that I researched on line as to what is good for chickens and what these grains do. I then add a couple of supplements for vitamins, minerals, protein, fatty acids, amino acids, omega's, probiotics, etc...The chickens have been on this diet for about 6 months or so and are much happier and healthier. They dive into the feed like a treat.

    Do some research on line here and on BYC...there are some good homemade recipes out there. Just make sure your birds get all the essential nutrients and calcium for good health and laying. :)
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  8. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    Do you have a local feed mill? If so they grind it fresh and it is usually mash. You have about six months to use a 50 lb. bag of feed after it is ground.
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    To my knowledge, there is not a feed mill within 100 miles of me, if at all. Thanks, Two Crows. Please tell me what you are using for a "recipe". That may be the direction I need to go. JAJ: freshly ground feed mill grain sounds like a winner. My options are so limited where I am, it seems that it's either prepared feed, or whole grain, all of which is in 50# bags. I could buy a smaller bag, but the small bag is about the same price as the 50# bags.
  10. marktoo

    marktoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Since the the large & small bags cost about the same, would it be feasible to use the overage from the #50 as a base fertilizer in the garden? There was an article in mother earth news some years ago about mixing your own fertilizer, the bulk of it was seed meal, some bone & blood meal, green sand etc. If you're using organic feed I don't know what the difference would be, at least it would make use of the feed you think has gone stale. Just a thought.

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