Poultry feed

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With the thought in mind that the only dumb qustion is the one not asked, here goes!As far as home made feed for your chickens, could they be fed worms for protein that you raise under your rabbits, or where ever?

-- James d. dodds (Dodds98@gte.net), October 16, 2001


probably as a supplement..but they would need grains too. and green stuff in my opinion.

-- Jenny (auntjenny6@aol.com), October 17, 2001.

HI there James. You're right about the questions. :)

As far as making a home made feed, chickens need alot more protein than worms, and providing worms for the main source of protein (especially beneath rabbits) causes possible problems not only with their dietary needs but also with parasites.

Instead, consider a high quality protein such as fish meal (available from Bill Worell @ http://www.showpoultry.com). Soy meal is often used in commercially prepared feeds, but should only be used by a nutritionalist because of the deficiencies and other shortcomings of using it as a heavy-load protein source.

Honestly, I've done a lot of studying on feeds with the intent to make my own. However, the more I learn, the more I realize that I have more to learn. I have feed reference manuals at my house and even took a course in feed components in Kentucky. I don't even make my own feed. There are too many things that balance against one another in feeds.

Your best bet is to find a really quality feed and then tweak it with supplementation. I highly recommend BlueBonnet if you can get it up there. Their protein sources are specifically listed on the tag (something for which you should always look). Their lower protein feed uses soy and plant proteins, their higher protein uses fish meal specifically. You won't see the vague listing of "animal proteins" or "meat meal" on their labels, meaning anything from feathers to pork sweepings. Also, if you see something ike "_____ fermentation products" on the label, that's the mark of a well thought out feed. Those nutrients are the end products of digestion of the beneficial bacteria within a chickens' gut.

Also, consider boosting their power to absorb the nutrients in the feed by feeding probiotics monthly - you'll be glad you did.

Good luck with your feed search. I hope that this info has helped a bit! :)

Nathalie R. in Houston TX

-- Nathalie R. (threehorses@katworld.com), October 17, 2001.

In one of Joel Salatin's books, he said that if you have a chicken house with no floor installed, and maintain a 2 foot deep loose fluffy bedding like chopped straw, that your hens can pick up enough protein from the bugs in the bedding all year long to maintain egg production. Now, remember, I did not do the research on this. He said the research was done pre-1950, I believe. (Back when they were researching stuff worth researching.) I would go to your local library and check out Joel Salatin's 4 books and read them all, if I were you. If they dont carry them, have them do an inter-library loan. His books are entitled "Pastured Poultry Profit$", "Salad Bar Beef", "You Can Farm", and this year the new one came out: "Family Friendly Farming." Every one of them FULL of good information, and well worth reading!

-- daffodyllady (daffodyllady@yahoo.com), October 17, 2001.

We have fed hens over the years, quite successfully, using the following formula: 65% corn, 20% wheat, 10% oats and 5% soybeans, all ground and mixed. Our chickens always had the run of the farm and we also made sure they had garden refuse when it was available. The theory is that in a small flock, not crowded, they will scratch and peck around enough to pick enough bugs, worms etc.,on their own to supplement this diet. Ours were healthy; no noticible problems, layed well and lived long. If you don't have a mill of any sort for grinding, a small feed mill in town will usually grind and mix those ingredients to your order, sometimes even if you bring your own stuff, tho for a fee.

-- rosalie (deatline@globalsite.net), October 17, 2001.

Ours get cracked corn and table scraps. they have a large pen so they get bugs and worms there. We have a small (20) flock.

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), October 17, 2001.

Thanks to all. A great fourm for sharing information.

-- James D. Dodds (dodds@gte.net), October 17, 2001.

James, my answer to your question until recently, would have been just like all the others. With only one son left at home, I need very few eggs. Though my hens do spend the night in their coop they get let out each morning. And though I will give them some chopped corn now that it is colder at night I haven't been giving them anything to eat but leftovers from the house, and what grain they glean from the goats leavings. My hens are large and healthy and laying an egg every other day, Buffs and Australops. So yes if your hens have to live in confinement than you really need a good grain mix, but left to forage, worms are fine, mine make a huge fuss over any bugs they find, so their must be something in them that is needed. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), October 17, 2001.


I have austrolorps and was interested in knowing the age of yours (want to know when to butcher mine, when their laying drops)


-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), October 17, 2001.

Had to ask the kids :) They are almost 4 years old. I am letting them molt this year and won't be turning on the coop light until the end of the month. I really need to start some new chicks next spring, but I enjoy my older girls, most as I walk by I can stroke. I love the black Austrolops (you would think I could remember how to spell that) they have such attitude, they won't even run from you, they squat, which makes gathering them up if you need to easy! They also have pecked our dogs nose when she didn't think she should be sharing a snack! Now thats a brave bird. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), October 17, 2001.

Earthworms can give your chooks gapeworm infection.

-- ~Rogo (rogo2020@yahoo.com), October 19, 2001.

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