Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More on Chickens and Feed

Sprouts for my Chickens

A conversation after yesterdays post brought up SPROUTING FOR YOUR LIVESTOCKI have seen, for a couple of years now, the fancy sprouting rig in FarmTek catalog.  I have only made sprouts for my rabbits and only as an occasional treat.  It's an interesting thought though.  I would be interested to know how much time it would take to sprout enough for say 25, 50, 150 chickens and what the impact on their egg production would be.... I see another experiment coming on...  

Monday, June 24, 2013

GMO AND CHICKENS AND MY OWN FEED

  MAKING SOME CHANGES IN MY CHICKEN AND EGG MANAGEMENT

Don't you love those dark orange egg yolks!  I do!  I think they are one of the healthiest things I can feed my family.  But.... to get those wonderful eggs my chickens seem to NEED to be out foraging.  But then they like to play hide and seek with their nests.   Not to mention they become the self appointed TOMATO TESTERS.  So we are trying to re-access our port-a-pens...  and feed.   I have struggled for years now with the whole feed issue.  If you buy feed from the feed store it has  GMO corn and Soy beans in it to boost the  protein level but the feed is $13.00  -give or take- for 50#'s.  Of course you can get ORGANIC feed- most still has soy beans for about $25-40.00 for 50#'s.  But that doesn't fit into our budget.   Of course you can let them just forage but with our predator levels, we loose more chickens that way than we can afford.  I have tried growing my corn for them but don't ever manage to grow enough for the whole year.  So I am playing with different formula's.  I need something that will give them the protein boost necessary for consistent egg production, yet cheap enough that I can afford to keep my own chickens.  So here we go with my experiment-

Formula # 1:   1 50# bag Oat Groats
                        1 25# bag Black Oil Sunflower
                        1 50# bag winter weat
                        1 50# bag of millet
                        1 25# Calcium (agricultural)     
                          1 5#   Brewers yeast

This mix gives the chickens about 14- 16% protein,   at about .52 cents a pound.  Still twice the cost of regular scratch grains, but I think it is possible to get the cost down buying in bulk.  The other thing necessary is minerals.  Chickens like all the other farm animals and us humans have specific mineral needs.  Unlike us humans though (who sill choose taste over nutritional value)  the chickens will consume the minerals they need if given a choice, and not minerals they don't need.  So rigging up some free choice mineral boxes in each port-a-pen will be a healthy choice.
 
Check back later for pictures of our experiment and how it is going.