trace minerals

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by emmapal, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. emmapal

    emmapal Out Of The Brooder

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    My birds free range 24/7 and so do not each very much chicken feed at all. In fact, I am trying to transition them to completely homemade feed and would like recommendations for a brand of trace minerals to offer free choice. I think they need it not only to round out their diet, but also because of the studies I've been reading lately that it increases egg production when using organic vs rock-based trace mineral mixes.

    Anything you prefer? Sold locally is always preferred to save on shipping: I live near Austin and shop at TSC most often, though we have a Callahan's, Buck Moore, and indie feed stores scattered around. Thanks!
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Kelp is my multivitamin and mineral source of choice. (Not a brand, the dried seaweed).

    You can get it granulated or powdered but I'm not sure they'd eat it free choice as it'd be difficult to consume in that way, a bit like gritty dirt if granulated, or dust if powdered. They'd probably still try but might inhale it. I mixed it with wet feeds.

    Over here it costs between $6 and $9 for a 1kg bag which lasts many months, but if you buy it in quantity it's much cheaper. I wouldn't buy any that's been heat treated if I could avoid it, but even then, it'd still most likely have a noticeable impact on their health. It's great and surprisingly powerful stuff.

    It's got the complete nutritional spectrum, in balance, and manages everything from the endocrinal system to the proper display of phenotype and assists in disease resistance and recovery. It will also assist in recovering instincts, but at the same time helps calm them, not make them flighty or aggressive, and it stops the weak feathering and slow regrowth issues that contribute to "overmating" and moulting.

    When they've been on kelp for a good few months to a year they won't show any bare patches when they moult. But if you've been breeding any animals for color or type, it can change the appearance, as full nutrition causes underlying traits to show. Legs, beaks, eyes, skin, claws, feathers, earlobes, feather sheen, every trait can change, even in old birds. It can also return white or grey hair, fur, and feathers to normal color if the paleness was due to lack of pigmentation, whether due to age or insufficient diet. It's used in treatment of all hormone and thyroid problems, and of course nutritional issues. Adding kelp to the diet in most animals and humans raises their IQ a few points. Kelp is an egg laying promoter and can get non-layers going.

    I've never seen healthier chickens than the ones descended from a few generations of those I raised on kelp. It has a generational cumulative benefit, just as an inferior diet has a cumulative generational result.

    The dose is a pinch a day per adult bird, and obviously less for chicks. Over many hundreds of hens I never had a single case of egg binding, even in the case of a hen who was stomped on by a horse and laid "sandpaper shell" soft shelled eggs for the next year. Often the egg white and yolk would get laid first and hours later she'd produce the membranes.

    I highly recommend you try it and persist with it for a year or so. The effects sometimes seem so subtle that you may wonder if anything at all is happening, but I've experimented with and without it, with poultry who'd never had it before and those that had, and the results have convinced me most thoroughly.

    All the best.
     
  3. emmapal

    emmapal Out Of The Brooder

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    that sounds just like what I am looking for: an organic source rather than rock powders. Most of the studies used the Bioplex organic trace minerals. I can easily mix kelp in with scraps sprouts and BOSS mash I make for them already. Can it go in their water?

    Where do you like to buy yours? Around here only Callahan's has it, a large feed store near downtown Austin. Do you have a favorite source online that has a good price with shipping?
     
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  5. emmapal

    emmapal Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, i did read many studies that showed no difference when just added to the commercial feed, but I just feel my girls are not eating enough unless I add commercial pellets (they storm me when I bring out scraps or feed the dog and cats). I am increasing the amount of scraps and sprouts I am growing for them, but doubt I can really provide all the minerals they need without some supplement.

    Azure Standard has 50lbs kelp for $70 and no shipping on the drop ship route...dangerous web site for health foodies!
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Amen! Love that place, great customer service. But I could almost direct deposit my entire check there......
     
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: If they aren't sick, they are very likely getting all they need.
    The fact they come running when you throw out scraps just proves they are chickens
    (AKA GREEDY OPPORTUNISTS)
    [​IMG]
     
  8. emmapal

    emmapal Out Of The Brooder

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    LOL, true! But they don't do it much when they have free choice pellets. I wish they would spend more time foraging the pasture than hanging around the porch staaaar-ving. We also raise chicks under broody mamas, and after seeing one at a local farm with leg problems limping and dragging its poor twisted feet and legs, from lack of some nutrient, free ranging on 40 acres, not fed by owners ever, I just feel that to get peak production and optimal health, they should be getting enough vitamins and minerals. I am pretty sure they have enough calories free ranging, but personally I think their overall condition could be better especially with wet cold weather approaching.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  9. emmapal

    emmapal Out Of The Brooder

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    Kyle, TEXAS!
    and by organic, I don't mean "pesticide free" etc, nor do I think inorganic elements are not in fact chemicals, but rather organically derived mineral supplement. For some reason, the rock powders don't seem to have the same effect as sources like kelp, or in the garden bone and fish meal, etc. Phytonutrients, more complex molecules than the simple elemental atoms, who knows? But it seems to make a difference. Which I guess is why nutritionists favor real food to vitamin pills, which are in large part rock powders.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: I don't know if kelp goes well in water. You can always try, I guess. I buy mine at livestock produce shops, feedbarns, etc, haven't bought any online yet.

    Regarding this quote, I have a point of view I'd like to offer. It's not a dismissal of what Bear Foot Farm said, which is perfectly acceptable for probably the vast majority of farmers/poultry keepers, but it's not applicable to me and others who need a certain quality of return from their birds, whether pets or livestock (or both), so here's my 2 cents on it. It's a bit off topic, so my apologies for that.
    Quote: The issue with that, for those who don't cull a used flock on their second birthday or before, is that they look fine while they're actually going downhill for quite a while, if it's a nutrient insufficiency. By the time an animal is visibly sick from lack of a nutrient, it's already done damage. Temporary insufficiency in an otherwise sufficient diet is one thing, and can be remedied, but a lifetime of insufficiency is something that can be untreatable in any meaningful way.

    What is classed as 'necessary' in most "complete feeds" are simply the barest minimum quantities of vitamins and minerals required to keep an animal alive and producing for a very short lifespan. I don't believe any animal produces the best anything (eggs, meat, offspring, etc) when not given the best nutrition. Some birds cope well on plain diets, others need more. The quality of their free ranging environment has a lot to do with their longevity in my experience.

    The diseases of malnutrition are many, and most are slow acting on a normal diet. It takes one to two years before any signs start to show on the average cheap fowl diet, but can take up to half a decade. But the writing's on the wall, so to speak, once the signs do show, because you cannot put in later what never went into the animal's diet in the first place. Bad start tends to equal bad finish, and often (but not always, and it's subjective) means a sub par quality of life in between. This isn't an issue for those who are very commercially/financially oriented, because they cull their birds young anyway, whether layers or broilers. But for those like me, who eat their own birds for health reasons, giving them the best nutrition possible directly equates to giving myself the best nutrition possible, and good health pays its own way too. Incomplete health is cheaper in the short term but far more expensive in the long run.

    Also, I breed my own birds, so I can't have an animal being spent by the time it reaches its breeding prime, which I consider to be two years old and over, not sooner. They can't go from laying to being ready to cull, because that's no use to me. For true health, they do need more than the simplified layer diet provides. But this isn't necessary for many, who will get what they want from their birds on a much cheaper diet, not that kelp's expensive due to the tiny amounts used per bird.

    Unless you do a soil test and it tells you your soil is in correct balance and health, and you know which plants are required to enable them to self-supplement, then you can't be sure they're getting all they actually need just from free ranging, which you saw demonstrated with that person's birds, despite their 40 acres of roaming room; it just doesn't equal complete nutrition.

    All the best.
     
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