Hola from the southwest, everyone. A friend just sent me a website that I've forwarded to several friends; thought I'd do it here, too. It's I'm sure everyone knew all about this but me. Or, maybe I just didn't want to know. (At any rate, goodbye Burger King... and I MEAN, it this time!)

Here's a question. Do most people feed their chickens their own mix or commercial feed? I'm feeding a commercial laying mash and scratch along with supplementing with grocery store produce that's being thrown away. Who knows what's in that laying mash???! I'm considering mixing my own grains now, but still concerned about pesticides. Would this be more/less expensive? Any input? Thanks, dh in nm

-- debra in nm (, February 09, 2001


Response to MAD COWBOY

Right now I'm using commercial feed and supplementing with greens / veggies scraps. However, my buddy and I are planning on planting a few acres of corn and making our own feed mix, since he has the land, and access to all of the equipment, including a PTO powered grinder. I need to research this a little more, but it is something we are going to do.

-- Eric in TN (, February 09, 2001.

Response to MAD COWBOY

I question the total accuracy of the site. For example, it said the head was rendered. Before it is done, every sellable part is removed, such as the tongue, lips and glands (which are sold to pharaceutical companies). My understanding is the hooves are rendered separately for geletin. Don't know how much is fact and how much is made up for emphasis.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 09, 2001.

Response to MAD COWBOY

If my memory serves me correctly, I'm pretty sure JD has some recipes for mixing your own feed rations in "Raising Small Livestock", and I'm going to check that out later. But I'd still like to hear alternatives from folks. dh in nm

-- debra in nm (, February 09, 2001.

Response to MAD COWBOY

Keeping my enemies close, I just received the information this month about PETA now making a run at Burger King, they have named them Murder King for the month. Several months back was McDonalds. I would take this with a huge grain of salt. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, February 09, 2001.

Response to MAD COWBOY

That Mad Cowboy site is almost 100% BS. Read it and use your mind a little and you can see through it. Euthanized cats and dogs are burned. Whole bodies of cattle are not ground up into feed. Almost every part of the body is used in someway. Come on, use your head a little before posting that rubbish.

-- Joe (, February 09, 2001.

Debra, I learned to feed my chickens and Guineas from an ol' time poultry person. Yes, both breeds are fed the same feed! I've had great success:

~ Never have had mites, scaly leg, coccidiosis.

~ Chicks are healthy and grow up to produce healthy progeny who do the same. Hens do the hatching; I don't have an incubator.

~ Eggs are laid all year 'round without added heat/light.

~ I have a variety of breeds. I have more roosters than I should, mostly Standard Old English Game. There's no fighting, and they've never bothered the humans.

~ The birds free range during the day and tuck themselves into their pens at dusk. I then close the gates. The hens and roos roost together.

~ If it weren't for all the feathers flying around, I wouldn't know they're moulting. They're always heavily feathered.

~ To date, I haven't had a sick bird (crossing fingers and toes!)

I feed Chick Starter with Amprolium throughout the lives of the birds. Amprolium is not toxic to the birds nor the humans. When the birds start laying, I mix oyster shell and Diatomaceous Earth into the feed. Hoppers always have feed in them. I feed nothing else. I feed nothing by hand.

-- ~Rogo (, February 09, 2001.

We feed with commercial mixed feeds, We hate it, however our chickens must eat. We do supplement their diets with hay and other greens if available.

Unless you grow your own grains, most all of it is contaminated. I do raise all my hay organically, no fertilizers on my fields or weed killers. Productivity falls however, I'm not going to get rich farming. My extension agent tries to get me to fertilize, the most I ever do is to lime my fields. I think potash and lime are the most important elements for plant life. Maybe I'm wrong.

Now for some of the other post herein, Any parts of cattle that contain cartilage, ears, hooves tip of noise, etc. goes into makeing geletin and glue. Your right in saying that all parts are used up for different products including bones (made into bone meal) blood (used in fertilizers).

Years ago I was in a slaughter house in Denver, Co. Now their not suposed to kill any sick or diseased cattle. At this slaughter house they new exactly when the on site USDA inspectors went for lunch and I watched them drag in sick cattle and kill them. They would be way down the processing line when the inspectors came back. In case some of you don't know, just like assembly lines is how we slaughter our cattle, pigs and chickens. As fast as the cowboys or girls can move them along is how fast they can process them. They really got it down pact.

I don't worry about the meat, but I do worry about corporate greed. Who's gonna stop them from slaughtering Cattle that are infected with mad cow disease? Government inspectors? People that work for years at the same facilities?, who make friends are able to be paid to turn the other cheek?

Raise your own and be safe.

-- hillbilly (, February 09, 2001.

We feed grain sceenings to livestock and poultry, we have grain and livestock farm and clean our grain before being stored or sold. Most of the grain coming out of the cleaner is cracked and weed seeds so we dont grind it, we mix with rolled grain for cattle. Elevators sell screenings buy the ton from 5 to 75 dollars depending on quality. As far as pesticides in small grains we have never used it and herbicides are used to control the weeds but if you follow labels on chemicals as far as for feed use and grazing- not a problem. The amount of chemicals misused in city areas is much more of a problem than any of the large farms, every little yard has enough chemicals on it for an area 10 times its size. As far as madcowboy B.S., we raise cow calf pairs with calf crop going as slaughter cattle. I know large feed lots feed anything cost effective but he is getting a little out there. He talks of 15 large feed lots in operation the same time he was and not now that pretty much tells the story. Raise what you can handle and raise with pride of quality and they would all be living well at it.

-- Steve (, February 09, 2001.

I saw the show on TV years ago, 20/20, or ones of those, that actually showed the feed lots feeding chicken manure mixed with sawdust. That part is real, and has been for a long time.

-- Cindy in Ky (, February 10, 2001.

Hillbilly, Fertilizing your fields used to mean spreading the manure back out on them. That is what we have done for years and have noticed that our production has been increasing instead of decreasing. When we first bought this place the soil was like DEAD from all the commercial fertilizers. Now we have all sorts of good wigglers back in our soil. We also lime as needed. I must admit it didn't happen over night. We actually rotated which fields to lay fallow for a while to renew themselves, but it has been worth the wait to know we are actually selfcontained and in a beneficial loop.

debra-We have purchased grains we didn't grow from places that we appreciated their farming practices and ground our own. (I hope Country living Mill producers to read this haha) but we used our mill on a very course setting and cracked our own for mash. Another thing that used to be done to really increase the vitamins in the feed was to sprout for the critters. We are planning to try that on a small scale and see how we like the results.

-- diane (, February 10, 2001.

Diane, I wish I had enough manure to use as fertilizer. Our property sounds like yours, it seams the previous owners just kept taking and taking from the ground and never put anything back. Someday we will have our top soil built back up, maybe a million years from now. :)

-- hillbilly (, February 10, 2001.

Cindy in KY: (Boy, we have a lot of Cindys on the forum)

Technically what they are being fed is composted poultry litter. It is a mix of shavings (bedding), manure, feathers and spilt feed. I believe before it can be fed, it has to be piled and turned for at least a specific period and number of turnings. It is not fed directly, but rather mixed into their other feeds, such as grains, silage or haylage. Far as I know, it is an approved practice by the USDA/FDA.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, February 12, 2001.

Hey, y'all. The reason I posted this is that, as homesteaders, aren't we all pretty concerned with the quality of what we buy at the grocery stores? Isn't this one of the reasons we became homesteaders in the first place? If we could all grow our own grass-fed beef things would be great. Not all of us have the luxury of raising our own food. As for me, I eat my own eggs and eat fresh veggies out of my garden. I'm just concerned that as consumers, we are SO divorced from where our food comes from... it's so EASY to buy pre-packaged and prepared and fast-food... that we don't think about it anymore. Had a Big Mac lately? (been a while for me) It doesn't even taste like food! The information is meant to be 'food for thought', 'tis all.

Perusing this Forum, I think plenty of us are concerned with the possibilities of mad cow disease... real threat or just the occasional incident, there is something to it. I am a former member of PETA. I eventually felt that organization, while well meaning, seemed a little too militant for me, and I found myself not wanting to participate in any of their activities. And although I don't feel I'm someone who believes everything I read, I do know that there is SOME truth behind their efforts... so yes, I take it all with some consideration.

Thanks for all your input. I have a friend who sprouts wheat for her chickens & says they love it. I'm going to try that. I don't have land to grow my own grain, so I have to continue to scrounge at the stores for their throwaways and save all my leftovers for my girls. I can't let them out to range as much as I'd like because of one of my dogs, but they do eat well and have room to roam in their pen. Even though they get commercial laying mash and scratch, they still have the richest yolks and the best-tasting eggs I've ever had. dh in nm

-- debra in nm (, February 12, 2001.

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