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#78127 - 04/14/08 09:18 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
D. Honour Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 292
Loc: New York
Over time,this is what I find that works.Feed a layer ration in the morning early while the birds are confined and hungry.Then later in the morning (at least an hour after fed ),let them out to forage grass and bugs.You will get eggs and the birds will have a balanced diet.If they fill up on greens,etc,they eat much less layer ration and lay less;I find.I would not feed any scratch as it is bulk and dilutes the balanced diet.If you are after fertile eggs,I suppliment the diet with more animal protein,usually a can of beef dog food a day,depending on the number of birds. If birds are confined , add grass and soil to boost fertility.Birds also need a minimum amount of light and at times of the year artifical light will provide the needed daylight time for good production.

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#78128 - 04/14/08 04:14 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Personally I would prefer not to feed medicated chick feed, but then again with the weather still being cold and wet most days, I'd prefer the chicks don't get sick if mom decides to take them outside for a romp either. The 5 pound bags are a good idea, I wish my feed store had them. I had to buy the 25 pounder which I'll end up giving most of to my mom for her chicks. If it's just your 9 chicks eating it and you have it in a feeder for minimal waste, you probably won't go through much. Don't know about Manna Pro, no animal by-products is a plus though I suppose.

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#78129 - 04/14/08 04:28 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
D. Honour Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 292
Loc: New York
Medicated feed has very little medication in it,in fact some years it will not entirely prevent coccidia/coccidiosis.You can feed it until the 25 lbs. is used up,as HALF GROWN CHICKS CAN STILL GET coccidiosis if bedding is damp and soil temps are above 60 degrees,protazoa thrive and causes this. With high feed costs ,you do not want to waste any feed.

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#78130 - 04/14/08 09:36 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
Always interesting what people prefer in prepared chook food. I actually like animal by-products in my chick feed and layer ration. Meat meal is a good source of protein and iron, and I certainly prefer that to soya protein that has been genetically modified! I read a study not so long ago about hens doing better on animal protein than on soya protein. (Wish I kept it now)

I buy a 10kilo sack of chick starter and use til roughly six weeks, or when the bag runs out. I use a medicated one and have never had a problem with coccidiosis.

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#78131 - 04/15/08 05:29 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
M. Molaison Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Georgia
I know this is getitng off-topic, but...

Well, the thing is, I work in the poultry industry and I see what goes to the rendering facilities. By the time it gets to the rendering plant, it's rotten. Smells so bad it makes you want to vomit. They cook this rancid, rotten meat, blood, feathers, bones, heads, etc, down into meal for use in animal feed. A protien rendering plant is the only thing I've ever smelled that made me instantly vomit, no ability to control the reaction. It was so bad I cannot possibly describe it.

It's the same way with other protiens like beef and pork- it's completely rotten before being rendered. Some rendering facilities even accept carcasses from animal shelters and render down euthanized dogs and cats. If your feed says "meat meal" or "Rendered protiens" or "Protien by-products" or a similar non-specific phrase, then that's what you're getting- protien from an unspecified source that was rendered as I described above.

I don't object to animal protien being fed to chickens- they are, after all, omnivores by nature. But I'd like it to be from a source that wasn't rotten and inedible before it gets cooked!

Melissa

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#78132 - 04/16/08 08:10 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Hi all,

OK, I've resisted defending all things Scratch - for a while. Good point about the quality of the stuff that goes into the pellets with animal by-product. Does anyone else think that the same might be true of the plant and grain by-products? Not that they would be putrifying in the same way as rotting flesh, but that the food stuffs are sub par by nature and most likely stale or rancid before prepared and fortified.

Are the nutritional needs of a healthy, productive laying hen so elusive that only fortified food stuffs researched by agri-business folks will suffice? At what point does local and fresh food outweigh maximum efficiency, for the typical backyard chicken keeper?

Personally, I would gladly sacrifice an egg every other day or so just so I know that what they eat is fresh ( seeds are fresh - capable of sprouting and growing another plant ), local and sustainable. Because I will be eating them, and their eggs, for the sole purpose of moving away from processed foods that have to be trucked in over long distances.

I hope no one takes what I'm saying as offensive, this is my favorite topic of discussion on this site. If there is more than one way to skin a cat, there must be more than one good way to feed a productive chicken - ? Or are the scratch-loving, commercial ration eschewing folks like myself doomed to unhealthy, unproductive hens? I just don't see it...

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#78133 - 04/16/08 08:40 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ridekool Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 313
Loc: Canada
mmolaison, you've totally made me think twice about what I'm feeding my birds.
I think Google and me have a date...I'll be looking into a more healthy protein source and contacting my feed company for a complete list of ingredients.
Eeeeewwwwwww!!!

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#78134 - 04/16/08 11:37 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Ridekool, the 5-Span feed company in Pakenham has 100% organic grain feeds for the chickens! I just bought a 55lb bag of chick starter and will go back for the adult chicken feeds in two weeks when I run out of layer crumbles.

The ingredient list on that feed is Organic corn, organic wheat, organic soybeans and soybean meal, organic flax meal, house blend premix (calcium carbonate, magnesium sulphate, trace mineral salt, bicarbonate of soda, kelp meal, vit b4, selenium yeast, vit a, vit d3, vit e, vit b complex, organic soy oil, limestone, organic, methionine, protein feed (organic potato flour and trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract) whatever that is - better google that one. But I don't see why soy protein would be that bad if you can supplement your own meat products. I get a really decent dry cat food that is made with all natural - never frozen chicken meat - no by products... it sounds to me a little weird to feed chickens to chickens but I wanted to up my protein a bit for breeding purposes so that's what I use. The analysis on the feed is 20% protein (min) 9% fat (min), 3.1% fiber (max), calcium 0.75% (actual), phosphorous 0.62% actual, sodium (actual) 0.19%, Vit a/d/E (min) IU/kg 24700/4800/45

I feed scratch as treats and the birds free range, and I get my eggs every day so I am happy.

I am now thinking that if I switch my mature birds to the organic ration, I won't have to buy flax separately - but then i feed that to my horses as well. It would be nice if we all ran our own feed mills but that's not my reality. I would rather have something that is fresh and not cooked either (cooking kills any good food enzymes anyways). But I am presently feeding layer crumbles, I am interested to see what happens to the rate of lay and the taste of the eggs after switching over to all natural feed.
_________________________
Ckvchestnut

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#78135 - 04/17/08 07:52 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ridekool Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 313
Loc: Canada
Thanks ckvchestnut, I'm stoping in at the 5 Span Friday so I'll talk to Murray about it then.
That's a bit more protein than I like for the ducks and goose, but maybe I can make it work smile
I'm ok buying some fish for the birds in the fall/winter to make up the lack of meat protein. This site has some good info http://www.lionsgrip.com/chickens.html
It would be nice to only have to buy one type of feed, not 4 smile

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#78136 - 04/18/08 12:41 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ridekool Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 313
Loc: Canada
OK, so according to 5 Span, Canada has a lot more control over what we put in out poultry feeds (since 1993). We don't need to worry about cats and dogs being put into the mix. The inspector was at 5 Span the other day making sure that there was nothing 'nasty' in the feeds. So, according to them (5 Span) the 100% Organic feed is just that,but the emphasis is on no pesticides (something the other feeds don't mention) I was told that there's no animal parts in the other feeds either. So I'll try their laymash and see how the gang like it...they really are picky smile

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