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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry, me again. As I said in a previous thread, my chucks refuse to eat maize. As most mixed feeds contain this, I'm going to buy separate bags of everything and mix it all together. But what do I need to buy to ensure the chucks get everything they need?
 

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Got a feed store close by or even a feed mill? They make it simple by just grinding up a layer mash that will have all the necessary nutrients and it takes the guess work out of it. Some years back my chickens stopped liking corn much and I'm thinking it is due to the GMO prevalence in our feed sources. Ground fine, though, and they scoop it up with all the rest of the ingredients.

My grandma only fed shelled corn to hers but they were free ranged and she also grew her own corn, so it was nutritious and good to eat. Nowadays it's nigh impossible to find grain sources that are not GMO. Some people have done this by feeding wild game bird mixes and they seem to have good success with those and by adding fish meal for the animal protein when they don't have free ranged flocks.
 

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Bee said:
My grandma only fed shelled corn to hers but they were free ranged and she also grew her own corn, so it was nutritious and good to eat. Nowadays it's nigh impossible to find grain sources that are not GMO. Some people have done this by feeding wild game bird mixes and they seem to have good success with those and by adding fish meal for the animal protein when they don't have free ranged flocks.
I buy organic feed, but it's not cheap. I get about 3 eggs a day from my 3 girls, occasionally just two. How quickly should 3 chickens be going through 50 pounds of feed?

I'm going to start fermenting the feed, like you suggest. I'm happy about the prospect. Thank you!

Nichole
Denton, TX
 

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I don't know...I never really had just three chickens! :D I'd say it would take quite awhile.

My flock of free ranged DP birds of 30+ would take about a month and a half to go through 100 lbs of layer mash when I was feeding dry mash. That probably doesn't help at all but that is the only gauge I have on feed amounts in flocks. :)
 

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Bee said:
I don't know...I never really had just three chickens! :D I'd say it would take quite awhile.

My flock of free ranged DP birds of 30+ would take about a month and a half to go through 100 lbs of layer mash when I was feeding dry mash. That probably doesn't help at all but that is the only gauge I have on feed amounts in flocks. :)
That is extremely helpful! Thank you!
 

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I feed my Chickens Dumor 16% Layer Feed....and...
I occasionally toss them a couple large scoops of "Scratch".
They also get "leftovers" like bits of garlic, onion, hot peppers, oatmeal, etc.

They seem healthy and content.

-ReTIRED-:)
P.S. I've been planning to ferment the Layer Feed....just haven't done it YET. ( It took me a while to find some Apple-Cider-Vinegar with the "mother" in it....to use as a "starter" for the ferment. It isn't necessary, as I understand.....but I want the probiotics in the mix.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. I went to the feed store earlier and they had bags of corn, bags of oyster shell, bags of layer feed and bags of grit. I was so tempted to but one of everything. But I didn't, I just got layer feed. Should I have got them grit too?
 

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Thanks. I went to the feed store earlier and they had bags of corn, bags of oyster shell, bags of layer feed and bags of grit. I was so tempted to but one of everything. But I didn't, I just got layer feed. Should I have got them grit too?
You did right by ONLY buying the Layer Feed.
If you crush the egg-shells, you can use them for additional Calcium for your Egg-Layers. Youd don't need the Oyster Shell. ( The Layer-Feed should have sufficient Calcium anyway.)
If your Chicken-Run has sand or small pebbles, you also don't need any grit. The Chickens will find their own.
The Corn and/or "Scratch" isn't sufficient feed...it's more like an occasional "candy-bar". IF you feed too much of it....it effectively lowers the Protein level that you are wanting for your birds. Corn/Scratch runs about 8 % Protein, as I recall. So....If you were feeding 16 % Layer feed and Corn/Scratch on a 50-50 basis....
the Chickens NET-Protein-Intake would only be about 12 % Protein....too low.

Stick with the 16 % or HIGHER Layer-Feed for your Egg-Laying hens. And throw them some "left-overs" once in a while. They'll be fine.

-ReTIRED- :)
 

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Not to get too technical about proteins and such, because I don't count percentages like other folks, but since chickens are monogastric animals, the proteins in these grain feeds are not fully absorbed when fed as is~so whatever is on the bag is not what the chooks are getting anyway.

I feed 50/50 layer mash and whole grains most of the time and it doesn't affect laying at all, but then, my flock free ranges and derives a lot of protein from forage. I also boost protein absorption and utilization by fermenting my feeds...gives you more bang for your buck while also improving flock health in a big way. Improves laying, immune system health, prevents illness and improves digestion in one little step of fermentation.

Such a simple way to boost protein absorption in a monogastric animal~ fermenting the grains. Folks have been doing it since the beginning of farming to help keep their pigs fat on cheap feeds. Beef farmers get more nutrition out of junk hay and corn stalks by fermenting also.

Now the agribiz guys are looking at fermented grains in a whole new light because they can get probiotics and a protein boost in the same feeds they always feed, simply by fermenting them. About time they got smart! ;)
 

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Ok I have a question. I mix my laying mash with scratch grains. Not much. I do it with all my birds. Plus they free range and get scraps on occasion. But I've noticed with all of them. They will eat everything and leave the laying mash. Or in the case of the turkeys their game bird crumbles. Should I be worried about them getting the nutrition they need? I thought about just feeding scratcha abd not the rest since it gets wasted but it doesn't sound like I want to do that. Any suggestions?
 

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Ok I have a question. I mix my laying mash with scratch grains. Not much. I do it with all my birds. Plus they free range and get scraps on occasion. But I've noticed with all of them. They will eat everything and leave the laying mash. Or in the case of the turkeys their game bird crumbles. Should I be worried about them getting the nutrition they need? I thought about just feeding scratcha abd not the rest since it gets wasted but it doesn't sound like I want to do that. Any suggestions?
I think that you should try, as Bee suggests, fermenting your grain and laying mix.
That would probably solve your problem.
-ReTIRED-:)
 

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Ok I have a question. I mix my laying mash with scratch grains. Not much. I do it with all my birds. Plus they free range and get scraps on occasion. But I've noticed with all of them. They will eat everything and leave the laying mash. Or in the case of the turkeys their game bird crumbles. Should I be worried about them getting the nutrition they need? I thought about just feeding scratcha abd not the rest since it gets wasted but it doesn't sound like I want to do that. Any suggestions?
I found with my last batch of chickens that, given the choice, they would eat the scratch and leave the layer feed. With the ones I have now that free range, I don't feed anything but layer pellets. Crumbles or mash has a lot of waste.
 

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Ok I have a question. I mix my laying mash with scratch grains. Not much. I do it with all my birds. Plus they free range and get scraps on occasion. But I've noticed with all of them. They will eat everything and leave the laying mash. Or in the case of the turkeys their game bird crumbles. Should I be worried about them getting the nutrition they need? I thought about just feeding scratcha abd not the rest since it gets wasted but it doesn't sound like I want to do that. Any suggestions?
Yep, you're feeding too much. If you let them free range all day and then feed them one meal in the evening and only put out what they can mostly clean up in that meal, they will eat everything you put in front of them and there will be some layer ration left over in the feeder for a very light breakfast. But they will clean up their plate...all of it.

You'll save on feed~ they will forage more vigorously and save you money on feed and there will be no waste...which saves you on feed. It's a win/win..and they will get more and better nutrition, that they can actually utilize, while out on range and the grain feed will only be a supplement to their foraged diet instead of the other way around.
 

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overrunwithroos
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Thank you. I noticed this evening that they are getting lazy. I don't see them out scratching around much. They kinda just lounge around unless they see me then they follow me around wanting treats I suspect. Can I just stop feeding scratch all together for awhile and just give their laying mash in the evening? Im not sure what the effects of chainging their diet would be if any? And I like the idea of saving some money too.
 

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Perhaps the weather is too warm....so they are NOT feeling "frisky".
Yes...I think that feeding them as you just mentioned would be fine.....as long as they have plenty of water and some shade.
Generally...Chickens need MORE Food in the Winter to maintain body-warmth. Not so critical in Summer....especially if they can get food "free-ranging".
just MY opinion.....
-ReTIRED-:)
 

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Thank you. I noticed this evening that they are getting lazy. I don't see them out scratching around much. They kinda just lounge around unless they see me then they follow me around wanting treats I suspect. Can I just stop feeding scratch all together for awhile and just give their laying mash in the evening? Im not sure what the effects of chainging their diet would be if any? And I like the idea of saving some money too.
It won't hurt them and you don't have to feed scratch at all as the layer mash/ration should have all the essential nutrients they need.

I actually feed lower nutrition in the winter than I do in the early spring and early summer, as these are peak production times and they need an extra boost. In the winter, all birds(especially in the wild) eat less total nutrients because they are not producing and are not as active, so I mimic that natural nutrient flow for my flock as well and have done for many years. In the winter I cut my layer ration 50/50 with a lower nutrient grain like barley or cracked corn...it saves money and it keeps them in good condition for the winter months. Sometimes I add BOSS to increase the total fats, without the additional proteins, in the ration for winter warmth needs.
 

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I have a different opinion to Bee regarding this.
(especially...IF you add artificial light in the Winter to boost egg-Production during that period.)
BUT...We have some severely COLD Winters HERE in the "High-Altitude Desert".
So...undoubtedly....Environmental Conditions will dictate YOUR "approach" in this matter.
-ReTIRED-:)
 

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overrunwithroos
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Thank you everyone. I have read and read things everywhere but it seems that none of them say the same thing. And I want to do what's best for my babies. I've read alot on fermenting feed but for some reason cant wrap my mind out the process. I understand the benefits and the concept. I understand how it works etc. What I'm having a hard time with is I guess rations? Do you just mix enough for 1 feeding? I read it takes up to 2 days to ferment properly. But read one ladys thing that said when she takes feed out she puts more in with more water. So wouldn't she then have to wait 2 more days to feed it again? I'm so confused. Could I get a food grade 50gal drum mix everything wait a few days then just feed out of it every day until its gone then start over?
 

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Have you ever had sourdough starter mix? It's much like that. You don't only make up for a few days, but you have a mix that stays forever and you use from it until it's nigh almost gone and then you add fresh feed and fresh water. The mix and fluid that is left behind from the original mix inoculates the new feed and in warm weather this is quite fast. I've had the same mix going since Oct. 2012 and have never started a new batch...I just keep the old batch freshened and fermenting along with the addition of fresh grains and water.

Even when starting completely fresh it only takes 8-15 hrs to start fermentation in temps of 70* and above and that's without jumpstarting the mix with old mix/fluid or any kind of culture.

It's fairly simple. I keep a 5 gal bucket setup(the two bucket system) sitting in my coop and just feed out of it every day until it gets low and then add more dry feed and water. It doesn't take long for the fermented fluid to absorb into the fresh grains and the fermentation process starts. Within a few hours the whole mix smells fermented and since I don't feed until 24 hours later, I know it has full fermentation starting in the grains themselves by then.

Feeding is much like feeding your children...how do you know how much to put on their plates? By how much they leave behind ~or if they scrape the plate each time and grow skinny from lack of nourishment. Most people feeding wet feeds do so in a trough and so it's easy to visualize just how much is left behind at the end of the day's meal.

Depending on how many birds or livestock you are feeding, you can use a 50 gal. drum and just keep it going. One lady I know of just has a big trash can and has done this for a long while..stirs it with a shovel! Unless your drum is stainless steel or plastic, I wouldn't try it but a food grade plastic should work fine. If you have a small flock, you might want to stick with a smaller container...this keeps the fermentation at a point where it can be managed better. If it is not fed fresh feed, over time the organisms will eventually start to die and the more harmful bacteria take over to start decomposition of the feed and more harmful molds will also start to colonize. If someone is occasionally refreshing their feeds in the mix, this should never happen.
 

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Ok so I found mother ACV today and am thinking about trying this too. Can this be done with chick starter crumbles or do I wait until they are older? And is this kind of bagged food appropriate for this? I'm not sure what you mean when you say you add more "grains" to the bucket as it depletes.
 
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