Sprouting grains enough?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hdbrat84, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. hdbrat84

    hdbrat84 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi I'm new to the chicken world I am getting my chickens in two weeks and I'm trying to figure out what to feed them. While they are chicks I plan on feeding them purina starter but I want to keep cost down and maybe make the feed myself. I have done a lot of research but I cant find out what is a total supplement for the chickens?? If I start sprouting grains for them do I still need to fed them something else? Of course I want happy healthy chickens and they are going to be raised for eggs and as pets not meat production. But do I still need to feed them purina? I am planning on getting a lot of different seeds, grains, and beans to sprout will that be enough with them free ranging on my 5 acres In the country and with fresh fruit and vege scraps?[​IMG]
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    Do your homework. Some beans are toxic unless cooked. Kidney beans being one of them. I would continue to feed prepared food, and offer sprouts, as well as free ranging, and the veggie scraps. You'll find a balance. I think the problems come when someone gets it in their mind that chickens can do well only free ranging in the back yard, or only getting scratch grains or sprouts, or only living on stale bread.
     
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  3. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had thought about doing this also to save money and make feed go further. Problem I found is the risk for E. Coli and Salmonella. The benefits did not outweigh the risks in my personal opinion. Maybe they do though- and I just got too nervous about the health risks. Like lazy gardener said "Do your homework."
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I sprout seeds for salads in my kitchen all winter long. I have yet to get salmonella or E Coli from my sprouts. Sprouts for chickens would be no different. I'll take my risks with stuff prepared in my own kitchen, compared to anything from the grocery store! And, yes, I do shop at the grocery store. Don't let fear of the what if's paralyze you from trying new stuff. I have also returned to making my own yogurt. No E. Coli or Salmonella there either!
     
  5. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am very glad that your experience with sprouting seeds has been positive. I just wanted hdbrat84 to be aware of the risks.
     
  6. hdbrat84

    hdbrat84 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you both for your answers, I guess I'm going to have to figure out how much they are going to eat there is no real way of knowing how much they are getting from free ranging. I am excited about sprouting mung beans and wheat tho I have to say!! [​IMG]
     
  7. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I've researched this for quite a while.
    If you want productive long lived chickens, sprouted grains can't replace a complete feed.
    If I were you and wanted to save money on chicken feed, I'd shop around. There are bound to be many places that sell feed around you. The prices can vary greatly.
    Price those things you want to sprout as well. Some of those things are more expensive than chicken feed. For 50# bags, it costs me 13.50 for wheat, 20.50 for oats, 19.75 for barley, 18.50 for BOSS, maple peas 31.00, Austrian peas 37.00. Flax 33.00, millet 13.00. So most of those things are more expensive than a #50 bag of feed.
    All of those things mixed together dry or sprouted won't provide the nutrients in a bag of feed at the appropriate levels. While we're buying in #50 bags, feed companies are buying by the trainload and supplements needed to augment what's lacking in the grains and legumes by the ton.
    You may be able to feed your chickens cheaper than with feed but eventually you'll probably see some deficiencies.
    It's true that chickens didn't get chicken feed in 1920 but back then hens laid well under 100 eggs a year and broilers took 120 days to reach 2.2 lbs. These aren't your great grandmother's chickens.
    Will your pasture still have lots of bugs and succulent new growth in the dead of winter?
    It's the rare pristine pasture in mild weather that can come close to providing all the nutrients chickens need.
    Poultry feed is balanced in energy, fats, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Humans have 9 amino acids that are essential to be provided in the diet. Chickens have 14. Seeds are deficient in several of those.
     
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  8. hdbrat84

    hdbrat84 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have almost 5 acres and its probably 1/2 woods the rest is rolling hills with some big trees for shade its in the piedmont of nc so there are lots of bugs and we don't get snow every year. So maybe I can sprout some in the winter when the free ranging wont be as good? Thank you that helps a lot I nor anyone in my family has ever had chickens so the more you guys tell me the better LOL. I only have tractor supply near me that I know of but I will check around I am thinking that I am going to use purina medicated starter for now.
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    If you drive around the countryside or from town to town and you see something that looks like this
    [​IMG]
    that's a feed mill and will either make their own chicken feed or carry a line or two from other manufacturers or probably both.
    If you Google your zip code, click on the map that appears on the right, click on 'search nearby' and enter feed store. You'll get a list.

    Chickens are both omnivores and scavengers. Bugs and small animals provide important sources of protein for foraging chickens. Grains and seeds provide energy and some nutrients. Greens provide other nutrients. Around here, from the end of November to the middle of March, very little if anything sprouts and bugs don't exist. I'm already seeing much less in the bug realm. Given the choice, only about 10% of a chicken's diet will be greens.

    http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/poultry/nutrition_and_management_poultry/nutritional_requirements_of_poultry.htmlhttp://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/poultry/nutrition_and_management_poultry/nutritional_requirements_of_poultry.html
    Click on some of the deficiency topics at the top of the preceding page.

    Coccidia is everywhere and birds develop a natural resistance. A lot of people use medicated feed as a simple preventative for coccidiosis. All it does is control an overproduction of coccidia by limiting thiamine uptake. I've never used medicated and its use can be avoided by keeping the bedding bone dry and feeders at least half full. The coccidia protozoa needs moisture to continue the life cycle and available feed limits them eating their feces, thereby picking up the oocysts. Extensive use of anticoccidials is causing resistance. Others believe birds fed a medicated feed all the time may never develop a natural immunity against coccidia.
    http://www.poultryshowcentral.com/Coccidiosis.html

    http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/pou...ltry/nutritional_requirements_of_poultry.html
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    With quality free-range forages I can get by without feed of any sort if number of birds is low. As number of birds increase relative to what area can support, the distance foraged from roost increases. Depending on time of year I can tighten up foraging distance by supplementing with either a scratch (whole grain mix that is loaded with energy but short on other nutrients) or a high density protein source like chick starter or even fish carcass. During winter and fall the scratch works best while during spring the chick starter works best. The sprouted grains I think are going to be more balanced than my scratch but not very good as a dense protein source. Use your bird's ranging habits as a guide. If they do not tighten up then try something different.


    Ranging habits are very informative for me. If they go far your get into predator management problems and shifting of roost sites which mean flock starts to bust up and egg harvesting efficiency takes a nose dive even though actual egg production may not be effected. Keep those birds tight, especially at night.
     

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