Those who raise their own feed, what do you recommend?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by tberggren, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. tberggren

    tberggren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2008
    Ithaca NY
    Just wondering what feed people are growing for their chickens and how much two dozen free range chickens will need. Thanks
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ID/WA border
    I'm going to bump this back up to the top hoping that those with some experience will see it and have something to say, Tberggren.

    My experience is feeding the chickens vegetables and weeds out of the garden. Since your birds will be free-ranged, most of that kind of food will be available to them and they'll be getting it on their own.

    Poultry can be fed a wide variety of grains. You would still need to be sure that they have a balanced ration. I've seen it suggested, by those who should know, that whole grain can comprise up to half of the ration.

    I know from experience years ago that too much wheat in the diet can nearly shut down egg production. My only excuse for that was that wheat was at hand and costing me next to nothing [​IMG]. A 35 to 40% protein supplement should have been able to partially make up for an imbalance. It was a mistake not to have done that [​IMG].

    I also have some experience with farmers who have essentially allowed their chickens to scavenge their entire diet. That is NOT what you want to do if you have any interest in production.

    Steve
     
  3. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2008
    Pennsylvania
    I personally don't make my own chicken feed, but I am thinking about getting into it. My neighbor has chickens, and is a big farmer, he also makes his own chicken food. Today I saw him and asked what he uses to make it, he told me mashed up oats, corn, & sometimes even hay. He also feeds them shelled corn, and anything that isnt eaten out of his garden, like squash, tomatoes (I grow my own tomatoes and the chickens just LOVE them),etc. Hopefully this helped. [​IMG]
     
  4. tberggren

    tberggren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2008
    Ithaca NY
    Thank you,
    It's interesting he does oats, wonder if it's more economical than corn or if he feels it's better for them?
    With the cost of feed going up I just was wondering about the logistics of raising your own feed if you had the land to do so.

    Wonder also how much land it would take to raise enough feed to feed two dozen chickens??[​IMG]

    Thanks again for your input

    Theresa
     
  5. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Pound for pound Oats will cost much more than corn. Currently corn is in the $180/ton range while oats are over $250/ton if you can find them. However, Oats do bring some things to the table. First the fiber content is beneficial to gut health and in swine can help with hemhorragic bowel and ileitis. Second, Oats are higher in protein (13 versus 8%), but that is an expensive way to provid protein as Soybean Meal is a much more effective way to provide protein.

    When I design swine nursery feeds I include quite a bit of oats, as Oat Groats. This helps with gut health and young pigs can digest oats very well.

    Jim
     
  6. HobbyChickener

    HobbyChickener Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We thought about start to this spring. I am curious to see some info here too:D
     
  7. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    With the cost of feed going up I just was wondering about the logistics of raising your own feed if you had the land to do so.

    Wonder also how much land it would take to raise enough feed to feed two dozen chickens??hmm

    Theresa, I used to harvest one-half ton an acre oats on the family farm. I don’t think that’s really the way to go. We would get 1800+ lbs spring wheat per acre, dry farming. I understand that the dry pea farmers not far away have about the same yield per acre.

    An adult chicken is eating about 1/4 lb of good quality feed every day. So, 24 chickens would need 180 lbs each month. If the entire diet of your chickens was composed of dry peas and wheat, you could grow enough feed on an acre to feed them for 10 months. Irrigation would significantly boost yield so one acre for a year’s feed is easily within reach.

    I’m not suggesting that dry peas and wheat would be the best feed, altho' I don't believe that they would be bad choices. And, your acre of ground could grow other combinations – including forage.

    Steve
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    if you are up for the extra work and hassle sprouting your feed increases the biological availablity tremendously. Not to mention the fact that the pound of feed goes a lot further. By doing this our egg production does not decline so severely in the winter and the yolk color does not fade like it typically does.

    Just wanted to add we do this for over 100 chickens.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  9. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    Kstaven,
    Can you elaborate on how you sprout grain (& which ones) for that many chickens?
     
  10. TheMartianChick

    TheMartianChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I wonder if you can use one of those bean sprouters? I was thinking about buying one for making my own salad sprouts.
     

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