chickens and what to feed them.

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
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demi
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chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258950 demi
Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:05 pm

so we've fenced off about 500m2 of the garden for the chickens. within this they've got a spacious stone built shed ( roughly 50m2) with mesh windows for ventilation, which we're kitting out with nest boxes and perches, with a wee hole leading out through a covered shelter into their enclosure. theres a big old walnut tree within the enclosure and lots of over grown weeds for them to forage in for bugs and stuff.

were planning on getting chicks, 10 Brahma's for eggs which after a few years we will kill for the table. iv read they can reach over 5kg and keep producing eggs throughout the winter :iconbiggrin: this is a common duel purpose bird here, but they seem to be kept just for ornamental pets else where :dontknow:
and 2 lots of 20 broiler chickens that should be ready to kill in 8 weeks for meat.
in the future we're going to put the broilers up in the 1 acre orchard, but its not fenced just now and there's stray dogs everywhere which might eat them.

we would of let them free range in the whole garden but our dog will chase them and probably kill them if she ever got the chance.

so onto feeding.
we've planted lots of sweetcorn for them ( and us! ) and will be feeding them fresh vegetable kitchen scraps. i know your not supposed to in the UK but everyone does it here. plus all the leftovers from the veggy plots once things have been harvested.
we dont want to have to buy grain or anything for them ( to keep costs down ) so my question is what else can we grow to feed them on? i want to make up my own chicken feed for the winter, so what else should it contain? id read you should feed them crushed up egg shells so they produce strong eggs. what else do they need?

this is the first time iv had chickens, im excited! :iconbiggrin:
please let me know if theres anything else i need to do for them?
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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258954 oldjerry
Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:28 pm

Well you could grow a bit of grain for them yourself(oats are fairly easy).Failing that your layers need protein so,as I'm sure you know,some thing leguminous,which you can either feed fresh or dry,grind and then feed wet.

I've fattened table birds on cooked mashed pig potatoes mixed with oats,that works well.
Just remember,your layers will do alright on scraps and what have you,you just won't get many eggs.For that they need protein.

Obviously this won't apply in your case,but over here FR eggs are so sought afterandsaleable and profitable,that selling a few surplus will more than pay for the odd bag of layers pellets. BW

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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258955 The Riff-Raff Element
Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:12 pm

I'd go along with Jerry. If you buy nothing else for them, buy some oats and some dired peas and crack them in a mill - the amino acid mix is nigh on perfect (they'll sort out the one or two missing ones via the insects thay find) and they will more than repay you in increased laying. You might want to think about some Leghorns or Rhode Island Reds if you can find them: amongst the traditional breeds there are few if any better for laying and the Leghorns particularly are light on food.

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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258964 demi
Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:16 am

so i can make up grain from sweetcorn, peas, beans and oats all dried and milled together, that should be enough?
and mashed potato mixed with dry oats to fatten them up?

im not concerned about getting loads of eggs. i reckon with 10 birds that should be enough to feed our household ( 5 people ). but we can always get some more birds if that not enough.
eggs cost 9 denars each here, thats about 12p each, and considering the average salary is only 150 Euro's a month thats pretty expensive. and the cost of living is rising, all the food prices are going up, including animal feed, and because my husband and i are not working here we have to cut out as many expenses as possible.
food prices here are not unlike the UK. apart from in the summer when there is an abundance of seasonal veg which you buy by the kilo ( eg 1kg of peppers are around 70p ) meat, dairy and other items are just as expensive if not more then in the UK.
and electrical items and white goods ect are extortionate and not good quality. the only thing Macedonia produces is tobacco and everything else is imported and the government charge really high taxes on imports so that drives the prices up.
and dont even get me started on cars! people sell old cars here that are like over 20 years old, falling apart and would never pass an MOT in the UK for 1000's of pounds. you cant by a car for under 1000 here. the majority of the cars on the roads here would go for scrap metal in the UK but still they're all mega expensive. i was looking at prices of old off road jeeps ect in the UK and you can pick one up for a few 100 pounds but here they are well over 3000 for one that looks like something out of WW1.

anyway, rant over, sorry :oops:
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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258971 The Riff-Raff Element
Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:07 am

demi wrote:so i can make up grain from sweetcorn, peas, beans and oats all dried and milled together, that should be enough?
and mashed potato mixed with dry oats to fatten them up?



'bout the length of it.

It is very hard to produce a plump roasting chicken on what it will scavenge for itself. You'll just end up with something scrawny for soup. You need some level of supplementary feeding.

The grain mixture you suggest sounds fine: I'd be tempted to go 50% peas & beans, 30% oats and 20% maize and add in the mash for the table birds as and when. You pigs will eat up any surplus maize - I imagine that you'll be able to grow more of that in weight terms than anything else except potatoes.

Humankind spent a lot of time and energy breeding the modern chicken, but it doing so made it very different from its wild ancestor; net result is we have to put some additional inputs into them.

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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258979 demi
Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:57 pm

The Riff-Raff Element wrote:
demi wrote:so i can make up grain from sweetcorn, peas, beans and oats all dried and milled together, that should be enough?
and mashed potato mixed with dry oats to fatten them up?





The grain mixture you suggest sounds fine: I'd be tempted to go 50% peas & beans, 30% oats and 20% maize and add in the mash for the table birds as and when. You pigs will eat up any surplus maize - I imagine that you'll be able to grow more of that in weight terms than anything else except potatoes.



is maize the same as sweetcorn?
we've just planted 1000m2 of sweetcorn, do you think thats too much?
how long does it keep once its dried? years?? as long as it doesnt get wet or contaminated?
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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258981 The Riff-Raff Element
Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:10 pm

demi wrote:
is maize the same as sweetcorn?
we've just planted 1000m2 of sweetcorn, do you think thats too much?
how long does it keep once its dried? years?? as long as it doesnt get wet or contaminated?



Sweetcorn is just the name given to specifically sweet varieties of maize, but it is the same species - Zea mays - as is grown all over the place for forage crops. Back of an envelope, depending on growing conditions and the actual variety you could yield anywhere between 500g and 1500g dried grain per m2 and if stored somewhere dry and clean will keep for years. It does need to be left to thoroughly dry out on the stem, though.

Pigs being finished for the table will eat loads of maize, as will ducks and geese, plus it can be turned into polenta or corn bread for human use, so I wouldn't worry about having too much. Around here, people don't even bother threshing the grain for pigs - they just leave a big pile of the dried out ears for piggy to munch through.

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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258982 Bulworthyproject
Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:47 pm

We have fruit bushes in our chicken area. The chickens eat all the lower fruit and any insects that would otherwise eat the higher fruit. We grow wild garlic in cages so that the chickes cannot totally scratch it out, but they can get to the outer leaves. We have planted mint, oragano and various other herbs (also in cages). They have fruit trees over the top. Chickens are originally jungle birds and like to be under the cover of trees. They get to eat the fallen fruit and again help control insect populations. We feed them maize, and barley with a bit of garlic powder in it. In the winter we add some sunflower seeds to the barley maize mix. They have a large area to forage in and seem to be quite healthy on this diet.
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demi
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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258984 demi
Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:16 pm

Bulworthyproject wrote:We have fruit bushes in our chicken area. The chickens eat all the lower fruit and any insects that would otherwise eat the higher fruit. We grow wild garlic in cages so that the chickes cannot totally scratch it out, but they can get to the outer leaves. We have planted mint, oragano and various other herbs (also in cages). They have fruit trees over the top. Chickens are originally jungle birds and like to be under the cover of trees. They get to eat the fallen fruit and again help control insect populations. We feed them maize, and barley with a bit of garlic powder in it. In the winter we add some sunflower seeds to the barley maize mix. They have a large area to forage in and seem to be quite healthy on this diet.


thats a grate idea about growing herbs for them in cages, im defiantly going to do that :iconbiggrin:
once we get round to fencing our orchard with chicken wire we'll be sticking them up there to forage and eat the fallen fruit. iv read about keeping live stalk in the orchard. the animals benifit from eating the fallen fruit/leaves/bugs/weeds and in turn control the incect pests and moulds ect by eating the fallen fruit and preventing it from rotting and getting maggots ect.
when/if we get dairy goats they will be kept in the orchard too, with extra protection for the trees to prevent them eating them of course. :lol:
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'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'

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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258988 oldjerry
Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:55 pm

demi wrote:when/if we get dairy goats they will be kept in the orchard too, with extra protection for the trees to prevent them eating them of course. :lol:


It might be worth posting again before you do this.

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demi
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Re: chickens and what to feed them.

Post: #258996 demi
Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:22 am

oldjerry wrote:
demi wrote:when/if we get dairy goats they will be kept in the orchard too, with extra protection for the trees to prevent them eating them of course. :lol:


It might be worth posting again before you do this.


:lol:

for goats ( iv read ) you need to build wee fences round the tree trunks ( same as for deer ) and cut off the lower branches of the trees so they cant climb up.
we've also got an electric fence to put round the perimeter of the orchard, along with the stock fencing, to prevent them escaping into the neighbours land and eating their crops, hopefully :lol:
Tim Minchin - The Good Book
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kr1I3mBojc0

'If you just close your eyes and block your ears, to the acumulated knowlage of the last 2000 years,
then morally guess what your off the hook, and thank Christ you only have to read one book'


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