When do you suggest to start my chickens on grower feed?

catballou

Songster
Feb 12, 2021
201
208
126
Michigan
The soy beans are a critical component of a balanced diet in every feed I am aware of, where they are present. Necessary to boost the overall protein levels and provide a more balanced amino acid profile in an otherwise largely grain diet.

Birds refusing to/selectively eating bits is one of the biggest problems with whole grain feeds, whatever else you might think of them. Like a petulent pre-adolescent refusing to eat thier veggies - when they do it day after day, nutritional imbalances occur which are detrimental to your birds.

and much as I like fresh greens (and my birds, too), the nutrition of fresh greens is different from the nutrition of the seed of the same plant.

Reccomend either crushing/milling that feed so they are less able to "play favorites", or beginning a mash/ferment program, again, to make it more difficult for them to selectively gorge or avoid certain components of your feed.
I agree, but I can't crush them up. I wish they were already crushed just a little. My girls pick them up but spit them out again.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,243
15,875
626
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I agree, but I can't crush them up. I wish they were already crushed just a little. My girls pick them up but spit them out again.

Don't know your budget, but there are hand crank grain mills. That, or change feed. Soy is critical to all-grain feed diets. In the absence of soy, you need to be finding a similar legume source, such as alfalfa meal, and adjusting accordingly, or an animal source (fish meal, shrimp meal, poultry by-product meal, porcine blood meal, etc) and again, adjust feed accordingly.

Easier, and better, to find a feed they will eat as a complete ration. Mixing a nutrtionally complete feed at home, consistently, is beyond the skill and resources of most BYC keepers. The more I learn about it, the less I'm inclined to even consider it. Nor can I do it cost effectively.
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
5,243
15,875
626
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
I measure it in a 5 gallon bucket (currently 5 scoops, about 12#, maybe 50-60% of a 5 gal bucket in height). I walk back towards the coop, open the spigot on my rainwater collection system, start filling. While it fills, I stir with a big stick till I have oatmeal. Take a few minutes, and probably 2-3?? gallons of water.

Then finish walking into the run, and start pouring it out, sort of sludgy, into 5" plastic gutters I use as feed troughs. Hang out about 10 min and watch the flock. They should take about that long to finish the majortiy of it, and a good number wander off.

If they almost all stop before then, and walk off I cut the feed ration by a half scoop. If they finish it all bu 7-8 minutes and start mobbing my feet, I add a half scoop.
Just fllowing up on this, because I have to buy more feed tommorow. My flock has been relatively stable the past month. I've culled five birds, mostly late juvenile/early adult (18 wks +/- a month or so), and added 6 new hatchlings to the grow out pen during the same period.

I've fed 400# in 34 days. That's 11.76# per day. an additional amount is fed to the birds in the brooder box, not yet transfered to the grow out pen - but compared to the main flock, that amount is negligible. In theory, I should be feeding about 16# per day (a little more for the adult ducks, a little less for the 12-18 hatchlings in "grow out" at any given time, maybe it evens out?). So my pasture (at the height of the season) is allowing me to feed at a rate about 73% of predicted.
 

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