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Poultry and Livestock: My chicken feed experiment has a clear winner!

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IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 2, 2011
5:55 AM

Post #8731621

I wanted to see what feeds my hens preferred instead of buying feed that went to waste on the ground. Feeds not cheap so I decided to do an experiment. Using 3 different feeds (Steamed rolled oats, cracked corn, and commercial layer pellets) in 3 different feeders to see which one was the preferred. Steamed rolled oats was the clear winner. All the hens were surrounding the feeder with the oats and the cracked corn was pecked on a few times and they all turned their beaks up at the commercial feed.

Thumbnail by IowaAnn
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porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 2, 2011
6:24 AM

Post #8731674

Interesting! Of course I'd eat ice cream instead of beans or cabbage too if I didn't know the nutritional problems.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 2, 2011
7:16 AM

Post #8731751

The girls have 10 acres to roam around to get what they need. They eat grass, bugs, spiders even started eating my cilantro! LOL! I think this commercial feed is a crock. Nature provides all the nutrients they need without depending on some company to grind up a bunch of (who knows what, can't read the ingredients) stuff that the hens won't eat. They know better than we do what they need and chickens survived long before man domesticated them. Winter may be a problem for me since we live in Iowa but I'll figure something out. :)
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 2, 2011
1:57 PM

Post #8732378

Free range is definitely the best!
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 3, 2011
4:14 AM

Post #8733695

Oh, I agree, but not everyone can allow free ranging, or has the room for it. I'm starting to have losses again, so need to rethink...
DonnaB
Vancleave, MS
(Zone 8b)

August 3, 2011
9:27 AM

Post #8734196

Cat it may be from the heat and humidity
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 3, 2011
10:19 AM

Post #8734270

With this hot weather they really need fresh water. I change my water a few times a day just because the water gets so hot even if it's sitting in the shade. I noticed that my hens drop their wings and pant when it gets to hot for them.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 3, 2011
11:38 AM

Post #8734436

Donna, they're not dying, they're disappearing. As in predated. I think. No remains, just gone. The heat where the chickens hang out isn't anything like the area around the house, it's much cooler, and they hunker down in the dirt after scratching a hole. The dogs do the same thing, and I'm considering it...
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 3, 2011
6:17 PM

Post #8735386

What will you feed them in the winter when the ground is frozen and it's too cold to free range? Thanks for doing this experiment. I know my neighbor makes up his own chicken feed but not sure what all he puts in it. I know for protein he buys soy. He said his hens are laying great again.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 3, 2011
7:41 PM

Post #8735574

I think I'd find something meat based rather than using soy, but that's just me.Opening a can of cat food finds me in a sea of chickens, and they get all my meat scraps. I simply don't trust soy anymore, but can understand that it may be a cheap, available protein source.
Whatever works:)
Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 4, 2011
3:36 AM

Post #8735909

if your chickens are free range, [in an area with grass and buggs to eat] all they need is more energy to lay well, [ grass is too low in energy for chickens to lay well ]-- comercial feed is for caged or cooped up chickens, -- almost any grain will provide the extra energy needed,
Some folks have tried feeding just grain to caged chickens, they will soon start to loose egg production and the chickens will have health problems after a while. I think your experiment was a great idea, -- and a good thing to know, -- what is the cost comparison? between the feeds?, -
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 4, 2011
3:37 AM

Post #8735910

catmad, did I miss something about soy? That was actually something that I was thinking about for winter feed. If there's something bad about soy I sure want to know about it before feeding it to my chickens. I know that soy is something that is added to commercial feeds for protein.


Loon, I have been thinking about what I would feed them in the winter for protein and one of the things I thought about was soy...but if soy is bad I'll have to ponder a little more. :) I've been researching about mealy worms and how easy they are to raise as feed. Right now it's just a thought but it's something to think about for the winter. Also gathering dry grass clippings for hay. Strangely enough they do eat dry grass. Go figure.; ) They will eat anything other than commercial feed.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 4, 2011
3:45 AM

Post #8735914

Michaelp, The oats were the cheapest by far. The main thing is that even if the feed costs were the same if my hens won't eat it...it's a waste of money. When given a choice they wouldn't eat it and that made me start reading the ingredients...I don't blame them for not eating it. I can't pronounce half of the ingredients or have any idea what they are.

What are you doing up so early?! LOL!

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 4, 2011
4:12 AM

Post #8735934

Find a good feed mill to grind up grains for you. We buy a mix that our feed company has made for years. It's just corn, soybean meal & other grains. No antibiotics or medications. It is ground, not pelleted. We tried pelleted years ago, you're right, chickens won't eat it.
Our hens laid very well right through the hot weather. I have around 225 hens & get 16 dozen eggs a day.

For water, we got tired of filling 5 gallon things, so early this summer we installed an automatic fountain. Works great, water is always fresh & never empty. Can be adapted to a hose if need be.
http://www.flemingoutdoors.com/automatic-king-size-poultry-fount.html
Bernie
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 4, 2011
4:47 AM

Post #8735965

IowaAnn wrote;"catmad, did I miss something about soy? That was actually something that I was thinking about for winter feed. If there's something bad about soy I sure want to know about it before feeding it to my chickens"

As far as I've been able to find, the soy readily available is genetically modified, and I try to avoid that whenever I can. There are also concerns about the hormonal effect soy can have, and I just prefer to use something else. I don't feed soy to my mammals, so try to avoid it in the birds as well. Fortunately, the feed I get is locally made, and soy free. If I didn't have that alternative, I suspect I'd simply concoct a mix out of what's available, but I don't use much. Just for confined birds, and that's not very often.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 4, 2011
6:11 AM

Post #8736147

Catmad, I knew about GMO corn but didn't know about the soy. :( What are we doing to ourselves!?

CountryGardens, I'm happy to hear that someone else had a problem with pelleted commercial feed. I was beginning to think it was just my girls being picky. ;) I'll have to search for a feed mill that will grind up some grains for me. I'm thinking wheat, corn and rolled oats (they won't touch the whole oat grain).
Thanks for the heads up on the automatic waterer! That would save me a few steps out into the heat to freshen the waterers. It's been a very hot year and if it's not done in the early morning it isn't going to get done. : ) What do you do in the winter? Does that water line freeze up?

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 4, 2011
6:13 AM

Post #8736154

Sell the hens! We only keep 10 or so for our own eggs. But then we have new chicks in November so it's bucketing water from the house.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 4, 2011
7:45 AM

Post #8736282

Ah! I only have 28 mixed chickens right now but hopefully when they start showing who's roosters and who's hens we'll start culling them out. That's the problem with hatching eggs, you never know what you're gonna get. They are just now starting to show their secondary sexual traits and a few are starting to crow so they will be dinner soon. :) Hoping for just 12 hens to keep us and a few friends supplied in eggs and for our entertainment. :)
Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

August 7, 2011
6:23 AM

Post #8741510

I think the idea is great, [if you have free-range hens,] - [feeding oats, ] I think the waste and digestion ratios are good also, - Where I live grain costs are high, -- and I wanted to buy some alfalfa pellets to supplement the feed in the winter when no grass is available, -- the alfalfa pellets were 1/3 more then layer feed, - I don't understand that, --
Most places I have lived, -I could buy my grain and of alfalfa, from a farmer or co-op -for a lot less, --

I get up early most days, -- Sat, I leave the house before 6 to get to the farmers MKT and check in before 7am, -
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 7, 2011
7:01 AM

Post #8741592

We did wind up buying a big bag of soy protein and started giving it to the hens along with their balanced layer mash. They do free range also. We'll see if this makes a difference in egg production. Our layer mash is mad at a local grain and bean mill.
Light_for_Jesus

(Zone 6b)

August 7, 2011
7:13 AM

Post #8741628

Much of the corn is now GMO. We are not doing this to ourselves, it is being done to us.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 7, 2011
9:08 AM

Post #8741804

They used to spray highly toxic chemicals to kill the corn ear worm. BT is bred into the corn. If you research it, you will find it is organic.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 8, 2011
4:19 AM

Post #8743671

Yup, Bt is considered organic, and I have no issues with it. My problem is with it being made a "part" of a plant. Genetically altered plants that have entered the food chain without (IMO) sufficient long term trials. We know some of what they are "adding" to the plant, but do we know everything? I doubt it. Aside from the ridiculous practice of allowing the companies that develop these things to sue anyone within range of the pollen from these plants, I think it needs better control of the companies running roughshod over small farmers.
Sorry, hot button...
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 8, 2011
7:04 AM

Post #8743923

Catmad, I have the same hot button!!

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

August 13, 2011
4:23 AM

Post #8753281

Me too. Thanks for that clear explanation to those who aren't familiar with the concept; Bt sounds so innocuous until you realize how it is being delivered...
AnnieBBB

(Zone 5b)

August 18, 2011
12:23 PM

Post #8763287

Michaelp, when you buy alfalfa pelllets what kind do you buy? The kind made for rabbits?

I kind of remember reading that a certain kind of animal alfalfa pellets have a lot of salt in them so I was wondering what you used.

I tired the horse cubes and my chickens wouldn't touch it, not even if I soaked it in water.

Thanks!
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 18, 2011
3:42 PM

Post #8763538

Salt is often included in cattle feed to limit intake... The alfalfa pellets I buy seem to be generic; all that is in them is alfalfa.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 18, 2011
5:54 PM

Post #8763698

Why do you people want to feed your chickens things not made for them ? Feed people have been running tests for years as to what is best for what animals.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 18, 2011
6:59 PM

Post #8763767

Country Gardens, I with you agree generally. I think the point is that free range chickens may not need all the nutrients in the feeds designed for confined hens as they supplement their diets in the pasture. I feed layer pellets anyway just to be sure even though my girls do free range.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 18, 2011
8:47 PM

Post #8763957

When they are out & about they will only eat what they need after what they find.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 18, 2011
9:28 PM

Post #8764009

Yes, I have noticed that mine eat less feed in the summer months - except this summer when the drought has killed everything they would normally eat.
LouisianaMark
Baton Rouge, LA

August 19, 2011
3:15 PM

Post #8765245

Anyone know if you can buy non-GMO soybean seed if you wanted to raise your own small plot? This whole Monsanto soybean thing just shows how rich corporations can buy the political influence they want, even if it serves only them.
titaniumRX8
Mint Hill, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 19, 2011
4:55 PM

Post #8765379

LAMark- try J.L. Hudson seeds they have many open pollinated seed types. Here is the link---> http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/VegetablesA-D.htm look under the 'Other Types of Beans' heading about 1/4 the way down.
AnnieBBB

(Zone 5b)

August 19, 2011
7:43 PM

Post #8765613

Actually, I was thinking of the winter months when the ground is snow covered. I buy greens during those months, kale, endive, cabbage,whatever is on sale. I want something that is not only healthy but will keep them busy.

I've never seen pellets at TSC that were any animal except for rabbit or horse. My concern was the salt content in rabbit pellets.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 20, 2011
3:15 AM

Post #8765855

Rabbits are a one stomach animal. Chickens have a crop & gizzard to process food. Cows, sheep, goats, deer, etc have 4 stomachs. That's why they are good at grass. Humans, mice, dogs, cats hogs are 1 stomach. That's why those things can eat meat.
Lesson for today is over.
Have a great day!
Bernie
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 20, 2011
4:14 AM

Post #8765894

Would it then follow that rabbits eat meat? Or that chickens don't? :)
I have to confess that I am less than enamored with what those "feed people" include in their products. They seem to strive to provide what a critter needs to survive, but not was is optimum. Many cats foods contain corn as the first incredients, yet cats are obligate carnivores, with no nutritional need for grains or seeds.
I'll stick to feeding a species appropriate diet, and just feed things I understand. Commercial feeds have their place, but I read labels carefully.
It's a personal choice.
AnnieBBB

(Zone 5b)

August 20, 2011
10:27 AM

Post #8766341

Not to drag out the subject... just curious from my own observations. My chickens will eat voles from the garden, field mice, grass, fruit and berries from the trees, any garden leftovers including pumpkins, just about anything they can shove through their beaks.

I don't think commerical feed is complete. If adding extras makes them healthier, healthier eggs too, they why not supplement?

The thought of a rabbit eating a porkchop just seems so wrong.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 20, 2011
12:12 PM

Post #8766666

Feed your rabbit some dairy cow ration. See how long it takes before it dies.
Only reason corn is in dog & cat food is to lower price. Nothing says it's good for them.
Rabbits can't eat cabbage either, they will get the runs, bad.
I could go on, but nobody cares anyhow.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 20, 2011
4:40 PM

Post #8767015

I feed the commercially manufactured feeds put out by the big (at least supposedly) reputable companies because I know that they have done enough research to produce a feed that will sustain life of whatever species it is marketed to feed. I also let my animals free range, graze, forage to supplement their diets. In addition I give various beasts household leftovers (waste not, want not). I don't know if their diets are complete, but everyone seems to be doing okay. There are lots of ways to maintain animals successsfully, fortunately, so each of us can find one that suits.
AnnieBBB

(Zone 5b)

August 20, 2011
7:12 PM

Post #8767562

I care, which is why I asked. Bernie, I'm not busting your chops or trying to provoke you. You certainly have much more experience than I when it comes to livestock, especially chickens. I guess I just like to "feed" animals and want to try to make it as healthy as possible all year around.

I'm still not convinced that feed companies know it all----- their goal is to keep animals alive for a limited amount of time until they are butchered. I'd really like to keep my current flock for 3 years. I don't think commerical feed alone will keep them in the best possible condition, especially in the winter when they can't forage. Speaking of winter, it's just around the corner. This summer sure went fast.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 20, 2011
7:15 PM

Post #8767565

Summer is a long way from gone here...
Light_for_Jesus

(Zone 6b)

August 20, 2011
7:18 PM

Post #8767569

Normally we begin to cool off the second week of Sept. It can't come soon enough.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 20, 2011
7:21 PM

Post #8767575

October is usually the first cooler weather here, but more than cool we need rain.
AnnieBBB

(Zone 5b)

August 20, 2011
7:35 PM

Post #8767599

School starts next week. The leaves on one of the trees (planted this year) in the back yard are changing. All the flowers in the gardens look old and tired, even the weeds look worn out. It's still hot but the humidity dropped down into the normal range - no 90 degree days with humidity in the 90's as well. Crickets, all the fall bugs are chirping at night.

I hope you all get some rain soon. The NE part of the US sure got a bunch.
Light_for_Jesus

(Zone 6b)

August 20, 2011
7:42 PM

Post #8767610

Yes Porkpal. The last days of October usually show a drastic change, often drizzly rains too. Oh, I look forward to that.

This summer has been kind of scary. I've never seen anything like it.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 20, 2011
7:46 PM

Post #8767623

Me neither.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

August 21, 2011
3:57 AM

Post #8768110

We use commercial feed that has no antibiotics, but our chickens are also free range and get a lot of garden and kitchen waste. We keep our layers for four years and then butcher them for stewers at the same time that we butcher that spring's cockerels; we buy 25 straight run chicks so we can use the males as fryers. I would love to go organic, but we don't come out ahead with our egg sales even with regular feed, and there's no local supply of organic feed.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 22, 2011
8:54 AM

Post #8770731

I try to avoid commercial feeds all together. I'll put out some high flyer 28 commercial feed and they will eat it but only if the oat flakes and cracked corn is gone. Can't tell me that oats or corn is bad and not nutritious since we are told that oatmeal is good for us. : ) I think that if we knew what crap was put into the commercial feeds we would be shocked! It's a way for big companies to dump junk that they can't get rid of and still make a buck. I'd love to have someone actually tell me what the ingredients are in those feeds. If I can't pronounce it I won't eat it. I think you would be surprised to find out what's really in those pellets. If my hens won't eat it and they would rather eat maggots, a dead raccoon or a mouse then that tells me something is not right about the commercial feed. Just my humble opinion. Chickens survived centuries without commercial feed so I'm sure that our little flocks can survive without it too. ;)
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 22, 2011
7:15 PM

Post #8771978

One thing my hens just LOVE is watermelon. :) I crack one open and ball out what we want leaving a lot of the goody in the rind and then put it out for them. They just love it. One hen is smart. She flies up in my apple tree and helps herself. We do share a lot of excess zucchini and tomatoes etc. from the garden and they all just love the veggies and fruit. They still aren't laying very well but I guess in time they will. Good news is one of the old broody hens laid an egg today so maybe things will turn around.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 23, 2011
8:40 AM

Post #8772765

I agree Loon! Watermelon is a real treat with the chickens. Honestly, chickens are the best permiculture animal around. They are foragers and will eat just about anything (except commercial pellets), provide eggs and meat to eat, great entertainment and provide manure that's excellent for the garden. Even the feathers after butchering is high nitrogen fertilizer. We can use everything but the squawk. :)
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 29, 2011
5:44 PM

Post #8783813

Well the chicks still aren't laying well so we're trying something different. The man at the feed store said the farmers have had good luck feeding horse feed to the chickens. They swear by it so we bought some horse feed. They dove right into it. I'll let you know in a week or so if laying picks up.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 30, 2011
4:32 AM

Post #8784529

What type of horse feed? There are about 15 kinds on the shelf, from sweet feed to senior. Are you using a pelleted type, or a grain mix?
Do chickens taste or respond to "sweet"? I know they like hot...

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

August 30, 2011
4:37 AM

Post #8784539

Some horse feed has molasses in it. Chickens really don't need molasses.
Of course horses aren't fed right either.
The work horses of the old days, did it on grass hay & oats.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 30, 2011
12:03 PM

Post #8785209

There's nothing like nature to feed animals. It's all there for the taking, we've just been taught to depend on feed companies to "balance" the feed ratio. I think Chickens are smart enough to survive on their own if we let them. Somehow wild pheasants, turkeys, geese, ducks ect.. all survive without commercial feeds. Isn't that amazing?! Humans are the only mammals that continue to drink milk after they are weaned from their mothers. The food pyramid is making our country obese. We're being brainwashed into thinking we HAVE to have so many servings of everything to be in perfect health...I say it's way too much. As always, just my humble opinion. :)
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 30, 2011
12:33 PM

Post #8785252

Looking around me every day I certainly see people who are eating way too much of something!
I don't think either people or animals require any magic formula for a healthy diet. We are making it much too complicated.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

August 30, 2011
7:50 PM

Post #8785979

IowaAnn, but wild critters weren't bred to put on weight quickly and to produce meat or eggs at the rate we expect from our domesticated animals. Nor could you turn a Pekingese out and assume it would be able to survive on its own; they are much too far away from their wolf ancestors. If we want our animals to produce decently we do have to supplement their diet with extra food. Not that I think that feed companies have the answer, but some extra carbs and protein, especially in the winter, are probably a necessity.
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 30, 2011
9:04 PM

Post #8786131

It is a grain mix and it does have molasses in it. We just give them one scoop a day in with their layer mash and some corn. They free range and eat everthing they can find from apples on the ground to little frogs. Hopefully, they will start giving us more eggs soon.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 31, 2011
5:41 AM

Post #8786470

I guess I don't count on my chickens to provide lots of meat or eggs. It's just for our own consumption and if I have extra I give them to friends and family. I just enjoy what they give and they give me lots of joy and entertainment. It's so true that we have domesticated animals to the point that they could never survive without our help. I'm just saying that I don't know or like what is in the commercial feeds. This winter I'll have no choice but to feed the commercial feeds but for now i'm enjoying watching them going back to nature and eating bugs, grass, weed seeds, worms and even frogs and mice. : )

Loon, is it pelleted, granular or whole grains with molasses?
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 31, 2011
7:54 AM

Post #8786710

It is granular.

I just want six eggs a day...enough to meet our breakfast needs for the family. I do not like having to buy eggs when I am spending so much time and money on these chickens. If they don't start laying my minimum soon they are going to freezer camp at the neighbors. I'm talking about the two year olds...not the new chickens. They are now fifteen weeks old so should start laying by November if not sooner.

I like the antics of the chickens and love to watch them. They are not pets though and I've not allowed myself to bond with them like I have with our dogs and cats. They have a purpose to give us eggs and fertilizer for our veggie garden. They give plenty of nice fertlizer now they just have to start laying eggs. I am no expert on this stuff but if bugs and worms etc. are what they need they're getting it. We have 28 acres and twenty of that is woods. They go all over the place hunting and pecking and eating. I am just dumbfounded as to why they aren't laying better.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

August 31, 2011
6:50 PM

Post #8787725

Maybe they are laying their eggs in the woods somewhere. ;)
porkpal
Richmond, TX

August 31, 2011
8:19 PM

Post #8787864

My thought as well.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 1, 2011
6:35 AM

Post #8788273

Some day you'll be walking around in the woods and find a huge nest of rotten eggs...or a hen setting on a huge bunch of eggs. Unless the raccoons find the nest and then you'll just have a bunch of egg shells. :) Seriously, they are probably laying somewhere else. Maybe keep them cooped up in the morning and only let them out at after 12 to see if they will lay in the hen house. This is such a mystery! Chickens that age should be laying well, at least an egg every other day. My hens lay an egg every day so I'm baffled by this.
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

September 1, 2011
8:15 AM

Post #8788423

We do keep them cooped up. We don't let them out till about 6 or 7 in the evening. We've even tried cooping them up for a couple days to see what happened. Nothing. We get about 2 to 4 eggs a day and that's it. We have 9 two year old hens that should be laying more than that I would think. They have a very large run and a very nice indoor coop with lots of rungs to perch on. They've been sleeping out in their run on a couple big ladders we put in there for them. We've even tried giving them a good talking to. Nothing. :) Hopefully, the horse feed will kick in soon and we'll get our 6 eggs a day.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

September 1, 2011
9:42 AM

Post #8788553

Mine aren't laying much right now, either. I've got at least 30 12-24 month old full-sized hens, and we're getting 5-9 eggs daily. I attribute the slow going to the heat, and the recent upheaval of adding a bunch of new chickens to the mix. The last time I had April/May pullets, they didn't begin to lay well until the following spring, so I'm leeping that in mind with this years girls.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 1, 2011
9:53 AM

Post #8788578

Ours are laying about 195 eggs a day from 225 hens. Kept that pace up right through the hot humid weather.
Do they have plenty of water at all times ?
porkpal
Richmond, TX

September 1, 2011
10:00 AM

Post #8788596

Mine are not laying well recently either. They are molting earlier than usual - possibly due to the month-long 100+ degree weather. Then there is the snake... I guess he's out of rats and mice to eat (I certainly haven't seen any recently) and now he's dining on eggs. How many can a big snake eat at a time? I've seen him with two on the way down, but there looks to be room for many more.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 1, 2011
3:00 PM

Post #8789001

Hm, Loon do you have bull snakes? I wonder if something isn't eating the eggs. just seems strange to have that many hens and only getting a few eggs a day...what kind of hens do you have? I want to know so I don't ever get that kind! LOL!
Light_for_Jesus

(Zone 6b)

September 1, 2011
5:26 PM

Post #8789276

Remember I had the little hen that hadn't laid an egg. Later I discovered she had mites really bad, and also worms. She was not healthy.
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

September 2, 2011
8:48 AM

Post #8790134

They have plenty of fresh water daily. We hang the feeder from the ceiling of the lean-to so it's off the ground. It holds a couple gallons. We keep a big one outside also for when they are free ranging. I have rhode island reds and golden comets and one light brahma. The light brahma is the one who does lay an egg faithfully almost every day. That is the reason we bought ten day old light brahmas. They threw in a free one and added an extra brahma in case one died. They didn't die. The free fancy one is a dark feathered bird. Hubby swears he thought he heard it cock-a-doodle-do. I hope not. I thought they were all girls. Oh well. I had named her Oprah so I may have to change her name to Stedman. :) I use DE food grade in their food and also where they take their dirt baths and add organic vinegar with the muther in it to prevent worms.

We do not have big snakes here. We do have very small garter snakes but I've never seen any around the chicken coop. The hens would probably kill it or eat it. You should see what they do with a frog.
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

September 2, 2011
7:58 PM

Post #8790903

7 eggs today!! Yea!! That's more like it. Maybe the horsefeed does work after all. We'll see if they can keep it up.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 3, 2011
7:30 AM

Post #8791337

That's great, Loon! Many happy egg returns!
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 4, 2011
5:56 AM

Post #8792405

One of our hens found a frog and it was hilarious watching her chase, catch and eat it. LOL! It's amazing what those critters will eat. : ) I love to watch the other hens chase the one with the delicacy...what a hoot!
Moodene
(Nadine) Devers, TX
(Zone 9b)

September 4, 2011
6:05 AM

Post #8792412

I feed mine dry kitten food to give them extra protein. They all do free range. Mine are still laying thru this hot summer as long as I keep an over head water sprinkler going every other day to keep the water pans area and hoophouse cool..I do give mine leftover scraps and make winter treat blocks for them..which reminds me..it is time to get started making those!

Fogot to add: They are running around in this misting rain I am having from Tropical Storm Lee, fluffing out feathers, and chasing after treats I have given them..what a sight watching them play..lol

This message was edited Sep 4, 2011 7:07 AM
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 4, 2011
8:22 AM

Post #8792553

Chickens are the best entertainment and we enjoy watching their fun antics. Hilarious!

Moodene, What are winter treat blocks?
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

September 4, 2011
8:25 AM

Post #8792554

I wish I'd had my camera when four of my white light brahma chickens flew up into the apple tree and roost there. It was a beautiful site. Next time I let them out I'll have my camera since they all go running that way first. They fill up on apples then look for worms and frogs. We have so many frogs because this is a wetland area by the lake. Our barn cats killed a mouse and dropped it. One one the young hens picked it up and all the others were chasing her. She somehow managed to gobble that whole mouse down. Thought we'd have to do the choking manuver on her. :)
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 4, 2011
8:27 AM

Post #8792555

LOL! I can visualize the whole scene! I love to watch them.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

September 4, 2011
3:02 PM

Post #8793123

I heard on NPR this morning that someone has determined that cows that are given names give more milk. Do you suppose it works for hens' production too? Loon are your hens named?
Loon
AuGres, MI
(Zone 5b)

September 4, 2011
9:01 PM

Post #8793621

We only named a few. Whitey got her name because at the time she was the only white hen we had. Henrietta got her name when I took her to the vet with a broken leg and they had to put a name into the computer. I can't really tell the others apart hardly. The one new one who is black and brown we named Oprah but she may be a rooster. :) I will say that Whitey lays an egg almost every day so maybe naming her did help her lay good. I don't know.
Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

September 5, 2011
4:46 AM

Post #8793863

as the days get shorter, the hens will naturally slow down on laying eggs, -esp, the older dual purpose breeds, - I have lights in my coop on a timer, to maintain daylight hrs, --I have 250 hens and get about 225 eggs/day, -- some of the hens are 9 years old, --and still lay well, -- I am not a "true believer" in commercial feed, --it is made from what ever is cheepest that month, --so it varries, --just because the label say's it is got so much of diferent nutrients, it does not mean that it is available and digestable., -- I wash out my coop daily, and look closely to see what is comming through the hens un-digested, -- some feeds have a lot of wasted feed coming out the back end, I feed oyster shell [make it available] even though the company's say that it is not needed, -sometimes they eat a lot, and sometimes they dont. -- but it helps them digest some of the feed formulas that would have had a lot of waste. Chickens that get outside and can forage , esp on grass , will live much longer and produce a lot longer, --and-- will be happier and have eggs with better nutrition for us humans to eat. [I don't name my chickens]
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 5, 2011
6:59 PM

Post #8795194

Michaelp, I totally agree with you about the commercial feeds. If we knew what was in the recipe to make commercial feeds we would be shocked. What do you feed your 250 hens?
porkpal
Richmond, TX

September 5, 2011
9:18 PM

Post #8795417

If you had a record of every thing that your hens ate free ranging you might be shocked too - at least you don't have to pay for those goodies directly.
Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

September 6, 2011
3:53 AM

Post #8795536

I feed the chickens, layer pettets, mid south "all natural" [what-ever that realy means] , water hyacinth, apple snails, lots of garden weeds, and left over, or spoiled produce, [now they are getting wheelbarrow loads of squash], --and of course they get outside in the afternoon, and eat grass and what-ever they want, - as far as them not wanting to eat the pellets, that works for me, -- they are expensive, but they do eat a lot of them sometimes, just depends on what they need , after eating the stuff they like, -
moxies_garden
Batesburg, SC
(Zone 8a)

September 8, 2011
3:20 AM

Post #8798692

[quote="CountryGardens"]Feed your rabbit some dairy cow ration. See how long it takes before it dies.
Only reason corn is in dog & cat food is to lower price. Nothing says it's good for them.
Rabbits can't eat cabbage either, they will get the runs, bad.
I could go on, but nobody cares anyhow.[/quote]

Rabbits don't eat cabbage? Do wild ones eat it? We had planted 15 cabbage plants last fall, in the back garden, and we tough rabbits were eating them. We built cages for the cabbages, and I still have 5 left. I am just learning this country stuff.
moxies_garden
Batesburg, SC
(Zone 8a)

September 8, 2011
3:29 AM

Post #8798696

[quote="catmad"]What type of horse feed? There are about 15 kinds on the shelf, from sweet feed to senior. Are you using a pelleted type, or a grain mix?
Do chickens taste or respond to "sweet"? I know they like hot...[/quote]

I noticed that also. My chickens prefer "sweet" flavors...tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, ...but, didn't like the steamed frozen peas I gave them one time. Now that surprised me. Peas being a seed, and sweet...who knows.
They wouldn't touch the cucumbers or zucchini I chopped up for them. I also had some over grown radishes I had let do their thing. The chicks loved the radish tops. They were about 12" tall when I pulled them and tossed them in the coop. The also didn't know what to do with the tomato horn worms...I guess because they were green and didn't move. I went out later and saw they had all been eaten. The 6 hornworms about devastated my 4 container grape tomato plants. I picked them all off...and now the plants are thriving again.
I am learning so much about chickens online. I am so ignorant on country living. I have lived rural before, but never had the huge garden, or farm critters. Always been just small gardens.
Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

September 8, 2011
4:08 AM

Post #8798718

My Chickens eat almost everything, [not oranges]-I think it depends a lot on how they were brought up, -- if they were fed lots of things as chicks, they will know what to do with it later, --if they are raised on just chicken feed from the store, they will not dive right in to some foods from the garden, -- or--waste a lot, -- I had some chickens who had never had water hyacinth before , they just picked at it, and left a lot, - but when they were put in the big coop with the rest of the girls, and saw them devouring every bit of it, -- they learned to do the same, -[just one example]
--I feed cabbage to my rabbits, --just not more then a leaf or two at a time, along with other foods like water hyacinth,grass,weeds, and garden waste, --if you suddenly give them too much cabbage they will bloat , and/or get the runs, -- but if they are used to getting a lot of fresh greens, the problem is greatly reduced.
moxies_garden
Batesburg, SC
(Zone 8a)

September 8, 2011
4:21 AM

Post #8798723

[quote="Michaelp"]
--I feed cabbage to my rabbits, --just not more then a leaf or two at a time, along with other foods like water hyacinth,grass,weeds, and garden waste, --if you suddenly give them too much cabbage they will bloat , and/or get the runs, -- but if they are used to getting a lot of fresh greens, the problem is greatly reduced.[/quote]


Kind of like people? We eat too much cabbage...and the possibility of bloat increases. :))

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 8, 2011
5:40 AM

Post #8798821

Wild rabbits & tame rabbits are as different as a cow & a pig.

I guess my life was/is to complicated. I always fed animals & worked with feed as a profession, not a hobby.

They mark feed bags as horse, dog, cat, chicken, etc, because the food in the bags is best for that type of animal.
What is the advantage of feeding the wrong food to the wrong animal?

I've seen posts on DG where animals have gotten into something & ate it & died.
Also lots of posts about sick animals & don't know the cause.

Oh well.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

September 9, 2011
4:16 AM

Post #8800208

CounrtyGardens wrote;"They mark feed bags as horse, dog, cat, chicken, etc, because the food in the bags is best for that type of animal.
What is the advantage of feeding the wrong food to the wrong animal?"

Profit??? Much of what is labeled for cats would be much more suitable for animals that thrive on a plant-based diet. And cattle feed has had to be regulated to prevent the inclusion of animal protein such as nervous system tissue and MBM (meat and bone meal). My cats don't graze the garden, and the cows have never been known to hunt other critters :)

Just because certain ingredients are cheaper and not immediately toxic to a species does not mean it's a _good_ or appropriate diet.

IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 9, 2011
7:44 AM

Post #8800461

I hope someone researches what exactly is in these commercial feeds. The list is very long and very vague. Makes you wonder and worry. : (
porkpal
Richmond, TX

September 9, 2011
10:18 AM

Post #8800659

Part of the reason it is vague is that it allows the feed companies make use of whatever produce is most readily available. For example "Grain Byproducts" could be rice hulls one month and wheat chaff the next, even the dust left over from the process of crimping oats. The only limit is the imagination! (And the guaranteed analysis label.)
Michaelp
Glendale, UT
(Zone 5a)

September 9, 2011
6:09 PM

Post #8801348

I stopped using Purina, and Nutrina, when I had a Hog farm, --because they use what ever is cheep that month, --out west they used tomato pulp, and left overs, when it was cheep, the sudden change caused- my little pigs to get the scours, and some died, -- the older ones just went "off feed", -- and lost weight, - when something else was cheep, they just changed the formula again, -- and the problem started all over again, --I had to make my own feed so it was the same every time-- I just bought Mormans premix, and corn, [and some other stuff] --no more problems, --no more sick animals, -- -I learned not to trust the feed companys, --[the hard way, --]
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 12, 2011
6:40 AM

Post #8804804

Michaelp, that is my fear that the feed companies are just throwing in the mix whatever needs to be disposed of and is cheap. When chickens won't eat it there is something wrong!

I just bought a bag of soybean meal for them and will mix it with ground corn. I would love to get whole soybeans and do a coarse grind instead of almost a powder. On the commercial feed labels they have a super long list of vitamins so I'm wondering if they take the vitamins that have gone past the expiration date and throw them into the mix just to get rid of it and still make some money off of it. Just a thought, since all vitamins have an expiration date where do they go when they're old and can't be sold anymore? How can we claim that our eggs are organic if we don't even know what we're feeding them?! It's so frustrating!

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

September 12, 2011
8:51 AM

Post #8804995

Ann, you can't claim that your eggs are organic unless you're feeding them organic food, which I assume you're doing? Otherwise soybeans and corn are two of the most widely grown GMO crops in the country. I don't buy organic food because it's not available here and shipping would be prohibitive, but it does bother me!

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 12, 2011
9:45 AM

Post #8805072

Prohibitive! Our only organic meat grower ay our Farmers Market is quitting because he is broke. Trying to feed livestock organically is very expensive. He said if he could grow his own feed stuff, then maybe. But at $8000.00 an acre for land, (or $300.00 per acre rent), it is not possible.
The only non GMO crops in this part of the country are grown by people that are not very good farmers. Their land will soon be farmed by the farmers that know how to farm. Again the high price of land is the driving force.

Your idea that feed companies "Throw" in bad ingredients & out dated vitamins is plain bunk!
I bought layer mash this morning so tore off a tag.
It says;
Ground Corn
Dehulled Soybean Meal
Wheat Middlings, (What is left after they grind wheat for human flour)
Alfalfa meal
Diacalcium phosphate
Ground limestone
Vitamins, (Vitamins come in a premix that is for a certain animal or fowl. Then it is added so much per ton of feed.)
Is this feed label hiding any "throw" in ingredients ? I think not.
When I was mixing feed commercially 40 years ago, an inspector took samples & tested them. They had better have in there what was on the label or you would be out of business. I'm sure the way the government regulates things, they are probably stricter now.

Oh, by the way my hens have been laying the same number of eggs per day ever since they started laying in March. No slack off for hot weather or any other excuse.
porkpal
Richmond, TX

September 12, 2011
11:26 AM

Post #8805191

Country G what feed did that label come off? I have always fed Purina feeds and been satisfied with the results, but their feed labels are much more vague: "Processed grain by-products, grain products, calcium carbonate, roughage products, plant protein products, monocalcium phosphate..." followed by a long list of minerals and vitamins.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 12, 2011
11:48 AM

Post #8805235

My feed company makes their own mix, which most Co-ops in this part of the country do. Also makes it cheaper, don't need the cut for Purina or other big companies.
This feed is around $10.00 for 50 # & is 17% protein.
A similar feed from Tractor Supply Company is near $15.
Don't know where we could buy other name brands here.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 12, 2011
2:36 PM

Post #8805491

I might have to go to Lewisville, Mn. to get decent feed! $10.00 for 50 pounds???!!!! That's cheap! I pay around 18.00 for 50 pounds and the girls won't touch it. Where is this feed company and what's it's name so I can come to Mn. with a pickup and get some good feed. I'm in Iowa and travel to Mn. quite often so it's no big deal to travel there.

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 12, 2011
2:42 PM

Post #8805499

The feed store is in Mankato. New Vision Feed, LLC. North Riverfront DR.
IowaAnn
Elkhart, IA
(Zone 5a)

September 13, 2011
6:24 AM

Post #8806453

So when I go to New Vision Feed what feed should I ask for? Is there a name for it or do you just ask for chicken feed?

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

September 20, 2011
1:39 PM

Post #8816459

17% layer mash. They also have pellets, don't get that.

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