So many feeding questions... (homemade feeds, price, where to buy, yard scraps, etc) Help!?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by MountainDreamer, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. MountainDreamer

    MountainDreamer New Egg

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    Hello Everyone!

    So, I have spent countless hours going through threads on the forum about feeding my chickens and scouring the internet but even after all the reading I still have a number of questions...

    First, a little background:

    I am a first time chicken owner. I have 4 chicks. As of today, they are 6 weeks old. I live in South Florida on 1/3 acre in a residential area.

    Rural King is the only retailer I can find in the area that sells chicken feeds (unless I want to drive an hour or so)... I am currently feeding them Nature Wise Chick Starter. Once they are off the starter feed, the layer feed is about a dollar less per bag. The organic feeds are roughly double the price!!! All that being said, I would prefer to make my own feed.... like buy wheat berries, oats, peas, etc mix them up and feed them that instead. I looked at a lot of recipes and am confident I can come up with an acceptable mix. In addition to their regular feed I give them kitchen scraps and they get to "free range" out of their coop in a run area for an hour or so a day.

    I also have 2 rabbits who share the run with them who also get kitchen/garden scraps. I bought some wheat berries from Amazon and have started sprouting it in a fodder system. I should have my first batch done tomorrow. Hopefully the chicks and buns like it! I have a worm bin which sometimes gets infested with BSF larvae and I plan to let the chickens eat some of them.

    So my questions are these:

    1- What percentage of their diet can be sprouted grains and what percentage should be dry grains? I've read that sprouting grains can increase the volume of feed 10 fold, is it only an increase in volume? Is there any additional nutritional value?
    2- If I make my own feed mix, does it need to be ground up for them to eat it? Or can it be fed to them whole? Are their pros and cons to both ways?
    3- I saw some people say they are paying like $0.30/lb for wheat berries and other grains... the cheapest prices I can find for wheat berries are $1/lb and that is from Sam's Club. Amazon is like $1.50/lb. I cannot find any co-ops in the area that sell grain, only vegetables. With these prices it doesn't seem economical AT ALL to make my own feed... Am I missing something? Where are people finding their ingredients so cheap?
    4- I saw a lot of people saying they feed all their garden weeds to their birds. I have plenty of weeds growing in my yard and garden. There are some that I know the names of and have researched to see if my rabbits can eat them and have assumed the chickens can eat the ones the rabbits can eat.... What about the ones that I don't know what they are? When you are feeding your chickens weeds from your garden, are you identifying each one and seeing if they can eat it first? Or is it relatively safe to assume they can eat any weeds I find?

    That is all the questions I can remember at the moment. I am sure there are others though... If there is any additional information you think I could benefit from, I'd love to hear it!

    Thanks!!
     
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

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    I think that giving your chickens a commercial feed and all your kitchen scraps should be sufficient. Let them eat whatever weeds they find in the free range. they will choose some over others. Don't be too worried that they will eat something bad. When you switch from starter, don't go to layer until they are laying eggs. The additional calcium may not benefit them until they are laying. ( can be harmful to an extent). You can also use a feed called Alflock. It is good to use when you have a mix of layers, non layers, and roosters. You provide additional calcium with cracked oyster shells free choice. The exotic feed that you are thinking about is fine if you desire to do all that extra work. I feed my chickens the basics, Alflock, and table scraps, and free range. All live long lives and are healthy. My chicks are pets, and I don't eat them.
    You may consider giving your flock fermented feed. There are many chicken keepers here that would have it no other way. I myself don't want the EXTRA work.
    WISHING YOU BEST and [​IMG]
     
  3. deanabess

    deanabess Out Of The Brooder

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    So, anything new you learned? I would like to find more flocksters here in SWFL who are doing things without vaccines and chemicals. I’m 6 months into it and super anxious about the climate here in the summers and keeping our flock happy and healthy!
     
    kriz the farmer and Mommaj89 like this.
  4. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

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    Who are you asking?
     
  5. Little Jerry Seinfeld

    Little Jerry Seinfeld Chillin' With My Peeps

    The question about wheat: I buy mine from a local feed store, for 13 bucks a 50 lb bag, or if they are out, from tractor supply. Rinse it well, Then I soak it and sprout it, feed some sprouted and put some to growing in a fine layer of sand or garden dirt for Wheatgrass. It's only a every few days treat for my birds so the 50 lb bags last a very long time.
     
  6. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Flock Master

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    Why don't you throw in a handful as scratch??? :idunno
    I agree doing the wheatgrass sprouts BTW. :thumbsup Do the chickens pull out the complete plant and eat root and tops, or just snip off the greens?
     
  7. Seaecho

    Seaecho Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fermented feed is not extra work, IMO. My chickens just love it, and I have a routine where I just add 1/4 cup of it to the new mix when I need to make more, stir it up, and it's fermented in no time. All I do is stir it once or twice a day. I think the chickens really do like it better, and you can add things like parrot seed and scratch, chopped vegetables, or whatever you want to it. I also find that I have ZERO waste when I feed fermented!
     
  8. karenm52

    karenm52 Out Of The Brooder

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  9. karenm52

    karenm52 Out Of The Brooder

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    what is BSF larvae? i have a worm farm which i plan to utilize some worms as a supplement feed for my new 3 bird coop. helpful info always appreciated!
     
  10. chikenscratch

    chikenscratch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Seaecho-do you only feed FF? No dry sitting around for them?
     

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