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#78117 - 04/11/08 10:41 AM scratch vs. laying feed?
M. Molaison Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Georgia
I am new to chickens. I have a shipment of chicks coming to me from Ideal Poultry in a few weeks. In learning how to care for my new pets, I have encountered 2 different opinions on feeding them once they're laying.

One says, you MUST feed laying mash or pellets as their primary food source or they won't lay eggs! Some have insisted that even giving them too much scratch or table scraps will decrease egg production.

The other says they feed the chickens table scraps, let them free range, feed scratch, whatever, and the hens lay just fine. (Some of the folks who've told me this also say they offer oyster shells for the calcium and that that's necessary if you don't give the laying mash).

So is it really necessary to feed the special laying food? Or will they do just as well on a wide variety of whatever, plus oyster shells? Will they really eat the oyster shells voluntraily in sufficient amount to give them the calcium they need? I'd prefer to feed them things that are less processed if I can...

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#78118 - 04/11/08 01:20 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
J. Meyer Offline
Chicken

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 122
Loc: South Dakota
If they were mine, I'd offer the layer mash free choice, and give them scratch grains as treats. You will be rewarded with more eggs in the long run. Even if you free range them, you will still come out ahead.

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#78119 - 04/11/08 01:49 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
The layer pellets or crumbles are supposed to have more calcium and vitamins, and are more geared towards a laying hens' needs. My girls have layer crumbles available in the coop, free range in the backyard, get occasional table scraps, and scratch as treats. They also have oyster shell available. I guess it's too early to tell if what mine eat effect how they lay as only 1 is old enough to lay. The one that does lays one egg every day, and they are delicious! In doing some research here on the Coop, I've found a few threads discussing the feed getting stale and losing it's nutritional value, or worse coming stale from the feedstore. I try to buy 25pound bags of feed, as I only have 3 hens and 2 little chicks, they don't go through food very fast. Yes they really do eat the oyster shells, and its amazing to crack open a homegrown egg versus a store bought egg. The shells on mine are almost twice as thick. Personally, I would have layer crumbles or pellets available to them, if they free range they then have the choice between feed and grass, bugs, etc. They'll eat what they need smile Good luck!

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#78120 - 04/11/08 06:05 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I have a friend who just feeds scratch and her freeranging hens lay ok. Her dual purpose hens are basically the same breeds as mine, (wyandottes) however in terms of size/robustness, her hens are slight and small, (I'd call them "weedy") whereas mine are great big girls, so balanced feed can make a difference to their overall health and stature as well. She had some problems with fertility too last year and I doubt they lay as well as mine do.

If your hens will eventually free range and the area has abundant insect life, then scratch and scraps will likely keep them happy, but if you want layers, you will need to feed them a balanced diet to make sure that calcium, carbohydrates and protein meet their needs.

However. :rolleyes: Before you get as far as laying, you will need to rear those chicks successfully, and their requirements are entirely different.

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#78121 - 04/12/08 06:22 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
J. Meyer Offline
Chicken

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 122
Loc: South Dakota
As far as "stale" feed is concerned, I wouldn't worry about feed getting stale, as long as it is kept in a container that is sealed well enough to prevent condensation from fouling the feed. The biggest problem is when people (or the feed store) allow their feed to be stored in the paper sack that it came in. This allows condensation to eventually allow molds and bacteria to multiply. The vitamins also will degrade, and the birds will be shortchanged on them. I store my feed in watertight garbage cans. If I see a great buy, I buy many bags, and store it in the cans. I also try to keep mine in a place where the temp doesn't change much. Definitely out of the sun. Excessive heat is also bad for the vitamins. Our cool basement is ideal.

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#78122 - 04/12/08 02:47 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Freds Fine Fowl Offline
Chicken

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 149
Loc: Pennsylvania
Regarding prepared feeds, from commercial mills... the tags are marked as "Complete Ration"... this means, the grains, no matter the form.. mash, crumbles or pellets, are formulated with all necessary trace elements and vitamins appropriate to the age and stage of development of your birds.

So, it's prepared for birds off range.

Scratch grains are nutritionally inferior to these commercially prepared "complete" diets.

Free range offers an unimaginable variety of food resources and of course, it's fresh when things are growing. Depending on where you live, your birds may end up confined due to weather extremes.. this is when the complete rations really do their job.

You may feed rations from the table, left overs and so on, but never give inedible foods to them, those you would not eat yourself.

Observe chickens eating, you'll notice they snatch up this and that, even rocks, at times dropping it and moving on, or swallowing it. They have wonderful taste buds and can sample the mineral content of what they nibble on. So, if they need calcium? They would know the taste of the oyster shell as containing what they indeed are in need of. If they are lacking nutrients, they will grow, mature and even lay. BUT, will do so at greater cost to their system and the results will be sub-par. Also, birds on poor or incomplete diets, can expect to suffer greater mortality and disease.

Good luck to you.

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#78123 - 04/12/08 05:20 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Jhm thats a good idea, one that I didn't think of. I have my feed in sacks, but it's inside the house as I don't have a shed or anywhere to store it outside. One of those plastic roughtote bins would probably work pretty well too eh? How about heat? If the feed is kept in a plastic container, and gets hot, will it condensate at all?

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#78124 - 04/13/08 08:01 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
J. Meyer Offline
Chicken

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 122
Loc: South Dakota
If the roughtote container is put into the sun, it will likely get very hot inside. This would not be good for the feed, since the vitamins are much more stable at lower temperatures. As to condensation, changes in temperature are never good. The worst condensation occurs when warm/hot air encounters a cold surface. Much like a car windshield gets condensation on it in the early morning. The air begins to warm, and it encounters a cold windshield, and presto, a foggy windshield. A fairly cool basement is ideal, if it is not too humid.

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#78125 - 04/13/08 10:10 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Thats kind of what I figured. I guess I'll keep the feed in the house.

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#78126 - 04/14/08 05:56 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
M. Molaison Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Georgia
Thanks for the info.

Foehn- I realize as chicks they need a different diet laugh I am getting a bit ahead of myself, aren't I?

The feed store where I buy my horse feed carries chicken feed as well- the chick feed is the "medicated" kind (any opinions on that?) and I can get it in 5 lb or 50 lb bags... since I'm only going to have 9 chicks, I was planning on buying the 5-lb size. I really have no idea how fast 9 chicks will consume 5 lbs of feed...

The brand name is Manna Pro- which I would like to know also if any of you have opinions about, because (IMO) the horse feeds made by this company aren't worth hauling to the dump! However I did notice that the manna pro chick feed contains no rendered animal by-products- whereas the non-medicated feed available at Tractor Supply (Dumor?) does contain non-specific rendered animal protiens...

Any thoughts?

Melissa

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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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#78137 - 04/18/08 03:54 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Well that sounds great! I thought I did see somewhere that they carry the gamebird feed, maybe that has less protein than the chick starter I posted about. Thanks for the link I'll be checking it out.
_________________________
Ckvchestnut

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#78138 - 04/19/08 04:54 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I guess every country is different when it comes to what is allowable in rendered, animal by-products. Take England and the mad cow desease for instance. Strict rules regarding what could be rendered and fed to other animals might have prevented this huge problem.
In NZ there are pretty tight controls on what is rendered. Meat meal here means mostly offal and bones that are waste product from the freezing works. Sometimes it might mean whole cattle, that have "gone down the shute", meaning the cow may have had something that meant she was not fit for human consumption, such as Facial excema, or TB. In this case she might be called a "boner" but diseases like these perish in the cooking, unlike CJD. Bone meal goes into Blood and Bone, a soil conditioner, and the offal ends up in products such as chicken feed and dog biscuits, but never cattle supliments. My chicken mash has bold warnings on it "Not to be fed to Ruminants" I have no problem with the thought that some of the offal may be putrid by the time it gets to the boiling down works. Cooking tends to sanitise it and there is no unpleasant smell in the end product, just good quality protein that my hens enjoy.

They are on reduced layers ration at present since only two are laying. They get cracked corn, kibbled barley and molasis instead, as I prepare them for next seasons laying.
Today my hens had a ration of the pressure cooked fish which I prepared yesterday, as a top-up. They had scoffed the lot in less than an hour. I was very amused at Little Nasty who delicately picked out the fish bones and snapped them into little pieces before she swallowed them. (Pressure cooking makes them brittle)She's had a big boost of calcium.

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#78139 - 04/19/08 06:58 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
J. Meyer Offline
Chicken

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 122
Loc: South Dakota
My friends: This is off topic, and I apologise for that. Some background on me:

I farmed for 15 years, until it became necessary to either upgrade my machinery and get a lot more land (this would have meant going into mega$$$ in debt). I chose to go to work for a large seed company, and worked there for 20 years. I still have a herd of purebred beef cows, and now work at several jobs and am a volunteer EMT on an ambulance company. Still live in a very small agricultural town.

I have witnessed the "chemical and biotech" revolution first hand. I have sprayed herbicides, and worked with biotech corn and soybeans for years. Here are some of my observations:

1. Without biotechnology (Bt corn and Roundup ready soybeans), farmers would be using much larger quantities of herbicides, and they will be much more toxic than the ones that they are using today.

2. Bt, (Bacillis Thuringiensis) is a naturally ocurring bacteria that lives in soil. Humans have been consuming it since time immemorial. The Bt gene has simply been transferred from the bacteria into corn plants.

3. Bacillis Thuringiensis is only toxic to the larva of moths and butterflies. It has no effect on any other living organism that I know of. It kills these larva by blocking up their digestive systems, and they starve to death. The protein in Bt has no effect on adult moths of butterflies.

4. The corn borer moth (the target of Bt) is extremely destructive to the stalk of the corn. It tunnels inside the stalk, and cuts off the flow of nutrients to the leaves and ears. It allows molds and bacteria to enter the stalks and weaken them. This not only cuts the yields, it also causes the stalks to break off and fall down and the combines cannot pick them up.

5 A secondary target of Bt is the corn earworm. They eat the kernels while they are being formed. These pests cause less damage than the borers, but are nasty pests nonetheless.

6. Before Bt, we used to spray for these pests with insecticides. These chemicals were extremely toxic (toxaphene, malathion, and several others that have been proven to cause cancer and other illnesses).

7. Roundup herbicide is much safer than many of the other chemicals it has replaced. It works in plants by stopping the production of an enzyme that the plants need to grow. The roundup gene allows the plants to metabolize the active ingredient(glyphosate)in Roundup, and therefore it does these plants no damage.

8. Roundup has allowed farmers to eliminate many tillage trips over their fields, thus saving a lot of diesel fuel, and not spewing a lot of Carbon Dioxide and other pollutants into the air. Roundup has also revolutionized the chemical industry by eliminating many chemicals that were far more toxic than Roundup.

9. Organic farming---I applaud the idea. The problem is that if every farmer were to go organic, there would be widespread starvation worldwide. I have a neighbor who tried it for many years. He fought weeds, insects, and worked himself nearly to death fighting them. He still believes in the concept of organic, but the reality of the marketplace forced him to go back to "traditional" crop growing.

Now---I know that many of you will refute what I have just posted. That's fine. However, I want you to know that my family has lived in this area of South Dakota for generations. My father is now 92 years old, and has eaten locally grown produce and meat from the livestock that we have raised all his life. My wife and I have done the same, and so have our children. We have not grown any extra appendages on our bodies, and our minds seem to be fairly unaffected by these "poisons" that we have ingested over the years.

If any of you would like to visit South Dakota, and see for yourselves how modern agriculture works, please feel free to contact me.

Sorry this got so LOOOOOOOONG!

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#78140 - 04/19/08 07:36 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Thanks JHM47, I am last surviver of several adjoining family farms--from 1906. While the dairy (small by today's numbers, but it sent two families of kids through college), operated just with the family, for 25 years. At first, Manure spreaders took care of fertiling-- for the first 50 years--and one brother-in-law also had the honey-wagon to spread natural fertizers from his hogs. Of course, it was not enough. We raised all our hay and grain for the dairy, and always had some grain left to sell. Now, the grandson of a neighboring farmer, takes care of the farms on shares--weather is the only factor regulating yields, which are excellent--all sprayed and fertilized for the LAST 50 years(ouch, this year!) I miss the beef, pork, MILK that we had for all those years, but I have EGGS! When I can, I purchase local meats and have hunters who share wildlife with me--very nice!

Our equipment, like yours, became too small, but was celebrated when it was new! The equipment my farmer uses is HUGE, does some fields in an hour that we took 2 days to do! Actually, we still had two Teams of Percherons 58 years ago, and while we did not "farm" with them any longer--for several years, used them to haul hay from stacks in winter. It was sad to see the last team go (but we kept driving/riding horses for our pleasure)--and my granddaughter has my last riding gelding-- I brought him in from Scotland as a colt--Welsh Cob. He is a super horse--she does, not just riding, but uses him for Skijoring and Archery on horseback and driving- Farms are still the greatest places to live IMHO ! And friends DO come to visit from every direction. Actually, have a friend coming from SC to pick up some breeding birds!! Hope the last of the snow will be gone. Thanks again JHM47 for telling it like it is--on the farm! I, too hope to make it to 92 (and not far to go) CJR

Well, no one can tell all the stories a farm knows!

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#78141 - 04/20/08 04:42 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
J. Meyer Offline
Chicken

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 122
Loc: South Dakota
CJR: Thanks! I was very afraid that my post would result in a lot of people condemning me for my views. I have tried to tell the truth as I see it, and I'm sure that some here will have a much different opionion. That's fine with me, but I have actually LIVED this, and some who post here have only read things that are basically untrue.

Yes, farm life is truly wonderful. My wife and I lived on a farm and raised 4 great kids. Two are now doctors, and one is a schoolteacher. The other son is still in college. I feel that the experience of living on a farm gave them the work ethic to persevere and excel in college. They also helped to deliver countless baby pigs, calves, lambs, kittens, etc. This couldn't have hurt them when the older ones got into medical school. They were also EMT's on our local ambulance service when they were in high school, snd I feel that may have helped also.

Anyway, I LOVE Montana. We have visited Glacier Park a couple of times, and also enjoyed stopping in many of your little towns on the way. The people in Montana are very much like South Dakotans; friendly, honest (almost to a fault), and willing to do anything to help someone who needs it.

Thanks again for your nice post,,,,,,,,,jhm47

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#78142 - 04/20/08 06:14 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ridekool Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 313
Loc: Canada
I agree, without some kind of pestisides/herbicides farmers would have a bugger of a time...more so then they do now (all my uncles farm; beef, dairy and/or hogs) 100% organic grains sound great...but my birds play in the fields AFTER they get sprayed (bad I know, but they just don't listen) Having them eat 'normal' grains is fine by me...easier on my bank account too smile

A big THANK YOU to all the farmers out there. My critters thank you for feeding them and I thank you for feeding me smile

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#78143 - 04/20/08 06:31 PM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
Biofuel is now making an impact on chicken feed "down-under" It has risen by 10% in just the last week. Bread varies between $2.00 and $4.00 a loaf depending on the grain content, and milk is almost the same price as Chanel #5. laugh No, I'm exagerating slightly here! :p It's $4.50 for 2 Litres in the supermarket, for standard milk and dearer at dairies and gas stations. I get it at fruit world where it is still $1 cheaper.

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#78144 - 04/21/08 06:53 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
M. Molaison Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Georgia
jhm- I got to laughing at your post. I think it's rather funny how freaked out people get over "genetically modified" corn- what they don't realize is, EVERYTHING THEY EAT is genetically modified unless they're harvesting it from the wild!!!!!!!

Man has been genetically modifying the plants and animals we raise for food (and keep for pleasure or work) since the first humans settled and became farmers. Look at the wild ancestors of today's vegetables and fruits and tell me we haven't genetically modified them. Corn, for instance, looks nothing like it's wild ancestors.

Look at our dogs and cats. Have you ever seen a wild Jersey cow? Well, how do you reckon today's domestic animals came to be? We messed with their genetics, that's how. We just did it the old-fashioned way, and took centuries or more to do it, instead of using modern science and doing it in months or years. The end result is the same- the plant or animal has a special trait we humans like, that makes it "better" in some way.

And don't even get me started on "organic" farming- I think you and I are in agreement on that topic! It strikes me as particularly funny because, from a Chemist's point if view, almost ALL the fertilizers and pesticides we use, whether natural or man-made, are ORGANIC compounds, by the scientific definition of the word.

Ok sorry, waaaay off topic but I just couldn't resist...

Melissa

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#78145 - 04/21/08 07:30 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
GM (genetically modified), like organic, has taken on a meaning distinct from the original dictionary meaning of the word. "Genetic modification" is generally accepted (both popularly and scientifically) to mean that the organism has been altered by genetic engineering in the laboratory, most often by the insertion of DNA from another (often unrelated) organism. This is where roundup-ready canola comes from, or Bt (caterpillar-killling) corn; also that glow-in-the-dark tobacco that hit the news a while back. Those big un-tasty tomatoes and the cows that give gallons of milk a day are not the result of laboratory tinkering, but simply, generation after generation, folks saying "let's keep the seed from that nice big one for next year's crop", or "lets cross our best milking cow with the neighbour's bull; his bull's sisters all give lots of milk too". Of course the process is intensified in modern breeding programs, but that's all that's happening - selected individuals mated to other selected individuals, then the the "better" (by whatever measure you choose to use) offspring are retained to provide the next breedding population. Over long periods, these differences in degree become differences in kind, and the tomato you see in Safeway doesn't much resemble its ancestor. However it is not "genetically modified" in the currently accepted meaning of the word.
If choosing a mate you like the look of, or keeping the offspring with the best traits for your breeding stock, is genetic engineering, we all do do it. (Did you marry a random man or woman?) But it isn't.

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#78146 - 04/22/08 07:47 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
M. Molaison Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/11/08
Posts: 20
Loc: Georgia
I do see it as genetic engineering, just a more primitive form. Just IMO, I suppose. I know better than to think everyone is going to share my POV! smile

Look at it like this- we can selectively breed a plant to have desirable traits, and over many generations we will eventually achieve the pest resistance, or larger size, or herbicide resistance. It just takes a long time. OR we can go into the laboratory and quickly modify the plant's genetic code to accomplish the same end. Either way, you've engineered the genetic material of that plant to be the way you want it to.

We're all entitled to our opinions... I honestly wouldn't want everyone to agree, because the result of disagreement is often innovation, and that can be good for everyone! smile

Have a nice day smile

Melissa

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#78147 - 04/22/08 09:00 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Everyone has a right to their opinion of course and buying organic is just a form of assurance that you are in fact buying what you want and not buying what you don't want. By law, growers do not HAVE to put everything they put in the feeds or on the soils or plants that produce the feeds on the ingredient labels.

I agree that the work, time and cost is much higher in the production of organic feeds and that people might just go hungry. We moved to a farm from city life specifically for the reason of having more control over what goes into OUR food and the food of all our animals. We can raise our own livestock on our land which will have not had any pesticides and herbicides on it as that's what we choose to do. We are not going into business to sell to others as what most commercial farmers are doing and that is the only reason it is feasible for us, just to do it for our family.

The problem I find is that everything is driven by a fast food nation... we need more food we need our crops bigger to feed more people and to feed people with larger appetites etc. Farmers have to come up with this food quickly or they won't be in business. I don't have issues with commercial farming, my issues lie with what's driving commercial food production smile I also agree that diverse opinions are what make the world go 'round. Cheers!
_________________________
Ckvchestnut

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#78148 - 04/22/08 09:25 AM Re: scratch vs. laying feed?
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
It is perhaps useful to make a distinction in terminology between choosing mates and inserting "glow in the dark" genes in tobacco plants. Geneticists usually call the first "selective breeding" and the second "genetic engineering". If you want to call them both genetic engineering, that is of course your choice, but many folks will not understand you.

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