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FARM Chicken feed
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Thread: Chicken feed

  1. #41
    I would be carefull about purchasing bugs online and having them shipped to Hawaii for bird feed.

    You might introduce an non native insect that could in time do damage to the ecosystem of the island.

    If you live near the fishing docks maybe pick up some fish guts and heads for starting your maggot colony.

    Nothing better for attracting flies than week old fish guts and heads festering in a sealed galvanized trash can on a hot Hawaiian day...

    Just my 2 cents on the subject.

    SIRR1
    A hero is a man who does what he can. Romain Rolland

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    663
    LOL Sirr1 ,We have plenty of bugs here without importing any. I have known several people who tried soldier fly
    but no one who really had any success. Usually it seems to turn into a really gross mess. The cardboard idea
    works pretty good.

    We feed all the kitchen garbage to the chickens and the garden trimmings but it isn't enough
    to sustain a dozen laying hens.
    Grow fish and you will have vegetables
    hawaiimicroaquaponics.blogspot.com

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    1984
    Posts
    9,538
    Quote Originally Posted by SIRR1 View Post
    I would be carefull about purchasing bugs online and having them shipped to Hawaii for bird feed.

    You might introduce an non native insect that could in time do damage to the ecosystem of the island.

    If you live near the fishing docks maybe pick up some fish guts and heads for starting your maggot colony.

    Nothing better for attracting flies than week old fish guts and heads festering in a sealed galvanized trash can on a hot Hawaiian day...

    Just my 2 cents on the subject.

    SIRR1
    Black Soldier Fly is native to Hawaii.
    (and most of North America)
    shōu xnyngkă ma?

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Puget Sound Area of Washington State
    Posts
    151

    Summertyme - how do you cook your old chickens?

    A friend says he simmers them for three days with a horse shoe and then throws out the chicken and eats the horse shoe LOL.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    1984
    Posts
    9,538
    Quote Originally Posted by Lei View Post
    LOL Sirr1 ,We have plenty of bugs here without importing any. I have known several people who tried soldier fly
    but no one who really had any success. Usually it seems to turn into a really gross mess. The cardboard idea
    works pretty good.

    We feed all the kitchen garbage to the chickens and the garden trimmings but it isn't enough
    to sustain a dozen laying hens.
    Sorry to hear about the BSF problems, might be too wet inside container. They like humid moist, not drenched wet.
    Did you see my links up-thread in #27? Moringa would be an easy addition to your yard.
    http://www.winrock.org/fnrm/factnet/...SH/moringa.htm
    http://moringamamma.wordpress.com/20...d-flea-market/

    I studied a lot of the Hawaii specific permiculture literature for possible application in Kenya. A good bit was useful in any tropical
    climate.
    shōu xnyngkă ma?

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    21,498
    Quote Originally Posted by myrtlemaye View Post
    A friend says he simmers them for three days with a horse shoe and then throws out the chicken and eats the horse shoe LOL.
    LOL! Nah... I just simmer them with onions and garlic for soup stock- then pick all the good meat and either add it to the soup or can it for use in casseroles, pot pie, etc. I don't care HOW old a bird is, you can simmer it until the meat will fall off the bone if you're patient enough.

    Of course, you can use a pressure cooker and save time and fuel...

    Summerthyme

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    11,377
    I bought 50 pound sacks of layer feed yesterday. $13.90 per bag.


    That's the same price I paid last month.


    I'm surprised that the price has not gone up in the past month, but it has not.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Penna
    Posts
    2,790
    Here in Pa I just paid 16.95. I still didn't get an answer to: What kind of seeds or grain do I get to sprout for the chickens? I already make them hot oatmeal in the winter.
    Deemy

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    USA
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    11,377
    Quote Originally Posted by Deemy View Post
    Here in Pa I just paid 16.95. I still didn't get an answer to: What kind of seeds or grain do I get to sprout for the chickens? I already make them hot oatmeal in the winter.

    I have sprouted wheat grains for them. A lady farmer friend of mine sprouts oats for them, too, as I recall.


    Sprouting grains for the chickens is not just a healthy way to get them greens (especially in the winter, when there aren't many sources for greens), but it helps reduce the feed bill because they need a smaller amount of sprouted seed than unsprouted seed.

  10. #50
    Look these are easy to produce / culture and are all over the world. As I said before the other ones are not that easy.

    I have bread three types of flies so far so I know a bit about breeding them.

    .................................................. ............

    Livefood
    *
    The Humble Maggot




    So you have been going well with your finches and have bred a number of Stars, Double Bars, Emblemas and Diamond Sparrows. You venture into the bird dealers and lo and behold there is a beautiful pair of Rufous-backed Mannikins and a pair of Melbas. You must have them and so off you go with them to introduce into your aviary - after their customary 40 days of quarantine of course! All is going well and both pairs go to nest, "A breeze this finch breeding" you foolishly think to yourself! A few weeks later you find a number of small black bodies dotted around the floor of your aviary. It is now that the serious fincho must consider adding some livefeed into the diet of their charges.

    Now, if you are fortunate to live on the 'mainland' you will, probably, have access to the termite or whiteant which can make your job relatively easy. However, if you are not so lucky you may have to settle for the joyous task of culturing maggots or 'gentles', as they are known in more 'refined' circles. As a youth I can remember the elaborate sheep-head drums that we used to maintain in order to obtain a supply of maggots, well out of nasal range and hidden from the parents in the far reaches of their property. This method usually resulted in a feast or a famine - you had thousands of maggots or you had none!

    Often these maggots would be large and very popular with weavers but of limited use to waxbills. These were in the 'old days' of maggot culture when a demented few threw caution and their sense of smell to the wind - this method of maggot culture was definitely NOT to be recommended after any sessions of alcoholic indulgences!!

    I may have my history a little astray here so please forgive me but this is how "things" unfolded in Tasmania. Whilst working at the University I was asked to help culture flies for a number of tree frog species being studied. The flies were the 'little green mainland type' (please excuse the vivid description!!) and were cultured on liver in old humidy cribs left over from the pediatrics ward. The flies were plentiful but they were VERY sensitive to the cold and we frequently lost large batches during power failures or through human error. I believe another local finch breeder was experimenting with these flies too and found that he could not maintain a regular supply. He, apparently, experienced large peaks and troughs with these mainland flies.



    I then heard of a breeder that had two mobile fly boxes that contained the local 'small pesky black house fly' and heard a couple laughing over his attempts to breed these guys. As luck would have it I was approached by this 'fly pioneer' to 'baby sit' his two prized boxes while he was on holiday. The day for the collection of the boxes came round and he deposited these into my bird room. My god what a noise! The boxes were literally alive with angry black flies! The amount of maggots that were produced from this system was, to me at least, unbelievable. Following discussions with several finch breeders these flies found their way to all corners of Tasmania, and even further I believe.

    To Roger Curren the Tasmanian finch fraternity owes a huge debt of thanks. It was about this time that I began to read some of the articles from Craig Smeelie about his fly breeding and we were able to fine tune our system.

    The flies are maintained on a diet of sugar cubes and water and are given trays of pollard and calf-rearing powder to lay their eggs in. At present a couple of breeders are trialing a different powder as a food source but the jury is not yet in on their findings as yet! It has been noted by a number of breeders that some youngsters leave the nest with a bad case of the scours and this is being blamed on the cultured maggots. I have seen this in Blue-caps on one occasion. The good thing about the maggots cultured in this manner is that multi-vitamin powder and other supplements can be given to the flies just before they are fed to the birds. Our experiments with Whey powder have been encouraging and we are now using this instead of other milk powder products.

    OK. So much for the wonders of fly culture but how do we get 'off the ground'? Above you can see the set up of my fly boxes. The box measures 47cms high (plus a shelf of around 10cms high), 70cms wide and 47cms deep. Two light globe fittings are placed about 25cms above the floor of the box. We have found that this height allows you to gain access to the contents easily and avoid burning yourself when changing the far light globes. The reason for two globes is that if one blows the other will keep the flies warm - a real consideration where we come from during those cold winter nights! When constructing your boxes make sure to put your shelf on the top of the fly box as warm air rises - this shelf is particularly important for on-growing your maggots.

    The system for maintaining the flies is reasonably simple and only requires a minimal daily effort.

    1. Place three large fast-food containers or plastic lunch boxes in the box
    containing maggot and pupae.

    2. Place container of sugar cubes on floor of box.

    3. Moisture - some people place wet sponges in coffee jar lids but we just
    prefer to spray the flies with a plant spray pack twice a day. A breeder in
    NSW has adapted the plastic cage water containers to supply moisture - the
    'L-shaped' ones. He uses a bird cage waterer with a piece of sponge in the
    finger bowl section - this allow moisture to be available and stops the
    flies from drowning!

    4. Once flies start to hatch 2-3 plastic lunch boxes are placed into the cage.
    These contain a sloppy mixture of pollard, coarser bran flakes, water and
    your milk powder. The proportions are usually 2 handfuls of coarse bran and
    pollard to a heaped desert spoon of whey powder. If you are lucky enough to
    get hold of some whey powder you will need to be careful of your mix as
    the whey appears to generate more heat than other 'fly culture media' - so
    test before you go into full on production. Be careful not to make it too
    sloppy, as the flies will drown in it. If it does look too runny you can simply
    sprinkle a small amount of pollard over the top to give the flies a 'runway' to
    land on - I call this the Oliver method!

    5. In my system I stir the food in the lunch boxes at least once a day to aerate
    the mix and to prevent any eggs being desiccated. Twice a day is better!

    6. Once the eggs have hatched you will notice your lunch box has become a
    seething mass of maggots and is now ready to be removed from the cage.

    7. We place the lunch box into a larger plastic cake box (kitty litter trays are
    popular too I hear!) where they are fed a new mixture of pollard and milk
    powder. At this stage these cake boxes are placed into the shelf above the
    fly box and left until they reach the desired size. When this stage is reached
    remember NOT to slide the cake boxes right into the shelf as these little
    fellows love the dark and will leave the 'safety' of their cake box and roam
    ALL through your system! Best to leave a little light shining onto them.

    8. Before feeding I sieve out the maggots as best as is possible and then place
    them into fresh, dry pollard to fully clean themselves out and the multi
    vitamin powder added. Also at this stage it is a good idea to let them start to
    turn into pupae as some species prefer to eat these rather than just the
    maggot.

    9. The next day they are clean and ready to be fed to your birds. John Butler in
    Cessnock, NSW, has a novel way of separating the used bran from the
    maggots with an electric hairdryer - and does it work a treat!

    10. When you start to feed them out don't forget that you should aim to put
    new maggots and/or pupae back into your fly box EVERY DAY. If you
    neglect this chore you will find you will suffer periods of 'fly droughts'
    usually just when you need them most!

    Well, that is a simplified version of the fly culture method as practiced down here. Over the winter we use 60 watt globes and this is changed down to 25 watt globes in the summer months - guess this is where local knowledge comes into it as regards the wattage that you use. It is essential that you monitor the heat in your fly boxes as many flies die if the temperature remains above 28 degrees Celsius for any length of time. Remember the amount of flies that you get out of this system is proportional to the number of flies that you have buzzing around in the box. The only problem most of us encounter with the fly boxes is how to keep the flies IN every time you open the door - many things have been tried but few 'go the distance' - any thoughts out there?

    I guess it is no real alternative to termites for a lot of you but when you don't have access to them you try what you can. The risk of disease from internal parasites must be reduced by this 'closed system' approach to livefeed but care, and common sense, must be exercised when checking for fungal and bacterial pathogens. Oh, and for all you doubting Thomas's out there, my system was given the thumbs up by a parasitologist who declared it to be not at risk for the spreading of diseases - so there!

    Do yourself a favour and get into maggots it's a great 'talking point' amongst non-finch people!! However, you may have to practice your innocent 'staring at the roof' stance when your neighbours start to complain about "How many little black house flies there are around this year". What, me? Never!!

    http://www.finchsociety.org/cfa/livefood/flies.htm

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Penna
    Posts
    2,790
    LOL! Sprouts yes....maggots no way.Will keep doing hot oatmeal in morning as well. Had to break ice out of water container for them this morning...O yeah for me,will have to soon get out the heater base for the bucket.
    Deemy

  12. #52

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    355
    My chickens help me to feed them. I currently have 38 laying pullets/hens and 18 six week old babies. I get way more eggs than we use (and I also give away a few dozen a week to co workers). I cook up at least 8-10 dozen eggs a week and feed them back to the chickens. I let the egg shells dry out and then I grind them up and add it to their oyster shell. They prefer the eggshells over the crushed oyster shell too.

  14. #54
    All about: Backyard chooks




    Pekin bantams (like Crushie here) are friendly birds and are great for families with kids

    In the November issue of Real Living we have a fun feature on backyard chooks. Read on for some useful resources and fun chooky facts.

    There are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird and there are more chickens on earth than there are people - over three billion chooks in China alone!

    Domestic chickens are not capable of long distance flight, although lighter birds are generally capable of flying for short distances such as over fences or into trees (where they would naturally roost). Chickens may occasionally fly briefly to explore their surroundings, but generally do so only to flee perceived danger.

    Hens can be extremely stubborn about always laying in the same location. It is not unknown for two (or more) hens to try to share the same nest at the same time. If the nest is small, or one of the hens is particularly determined, this may result in chickens trying to lay on top of each other!

    A rooster crowing (a loud and sometimes shrill call) is a territorial signal to other roosters. However, crowing may also result from sudden disturbances within their surroundings. Hens cluck loudly after laying an egg, and also to call their chicks. Chickens also give a low warning call when they think they see a predator approaching.

    Chicken language has real meanings. The birds give different alarm calls depending on which type of predator is threatening them.

    If you have a fear of chickens you may be Alektorophobic.

    Chickens enjoy dust bathing and become frustrated if they are prevented from doing so, such as in the close confinement of factory-farmed battery hens.

    Some breeds of chickens can lay coloured eggs: Ameraucana and Araucana chooks can lay wonderful green or blue eggs, depending on the breed.

    It takes a hen 24 to 26 hours to lay an egg.

    A mother hen turns her egg approximately 50 times in a day. This is so the yolk doesnt stick to the shell.

    A chicken loses its feathers when she becomes stressed.

    Chickens experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. So they dream as well!

    A chicken's heart beats 300 times a minute (about 4 to 5 times more than a humans heart).

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Gone ...
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    20,279
    We used to feed our laying hens crushed oyster shell... it worked as 'grit' for grinding their food, and gave them calcium at the same time. Got an oyster bar close by?
    ====================================

    http://www.allnaturalpetcare.com/Nat..._pH_Snail.html

    Oyster shell is primarily calcium carbonate. It is often crushed for use in bird food & chicken feed as a calcium rich bird grit component to aid in digestion, and contribute to egg health through natural calcium supplementation. Crushed oyster shell is also used in aquariums to stabilize and increase pH. This natural solution puts good use to what would otherwise be a waste product from the food industry that harvests oysters for human consumption.

    Crushed oyster shell from All Natural Pet Care is 'feed grade', which has a much higher & regulated standard for purity than pet grade or unrated oyster shell products. Any item that will be fed to animals intended for human consumption (or if they produce food for human consumption, as with eggs) is more strictly regulated. We encourage you to ask manufacturers if their oyster shell product is feed grade before purchasing.

    Oyster Shell for Birds & Chickens: Grit is important to birds & chickens as it is used for efficient digestion. It may serve the purpose of helping to grind the food but there is some misunderstanding there. When science tells us a bird uses grit to aid in digestion, they aren't only talking about the mechanics of digestion. To truly digest food the animal must absorb the nutrients, and that is considered to be part of the digestion process. The process doesn't end at the gizzard/stomach, it continues through the lower digestive system where the uptake of minerals from the digested grit can occur. Grit also slows down the process, allowing food to stay in the digestive system long enough to allow for nutrient uptake, yet serves a purpose similar to fiber in moving everything through. Sometimes our captive birds do not seem to require grit, living many years without it. A possible explanation is that captive diets are often more easily digested or soft.

    Louis B. Best of Iowa State University studied grit preference for 22 bird species (including Doves). The study concluded that birds can be quite selective in what they desire in grit, inadvertently indicating that grit does indeed serve a necessary purpose and it is intentionally ingested. Definite preferences were found in regards to preferred size, shape, surface texture, ingredients and even colour. White, green and yellow grit (all shades found in oyster shell) was consumed most, with black and blue being the least favorite. A strong preference for silica was demonstrated, while gypsum and corncob grit received two wings down. Providing a range for your birds to select from will eventually reveal their preferences to you.

    Oyster shell should be viewed as a calcium supplement for a grit mix, as opposed to grit itself. It is sometimes used in combination with other grit sources, or mixed with food. Laying hens utilize the calcium in oyster shell to produce healthy, strong egg shells.

    Free range chickens should pick up enough grit through feeding outside on the ground for digestive purposes, while penned or indoor birds should have a grit supplement. In either scenario, laying birds will greatly benefit from a diet that includes oyster shell and other natural sources of minerals. Adding oyster shell to an adult bird's diet is as simple as that - add it. It can be fed separately, sprinkled on the ground, mixed with grit or silica (clay sources of silica are packed with other benefits), or mixed with food. Immunition adult bird & chicken mix (coming soon!) includes oyster shell for you. While chicken egg shells are also a wonderful dietary supplement, they have to be thoroughly cleaned to prevent bacteria accumulation which could cause illness.

    Healthy, adult birds naturally eat the amount of grit they need as a rule, averaging up to 5 ounces/month for Chickens and up to 10 ounces/month for Turkeys. The smaller the bird, the smaller the grit size range. Some birds have a wide range of grit sizes in their gizzard (common in birds preferring larger grit), while others consistently pick up similar sizes. Birds that prefer smaller grit have had more grit in the gizzard in studies. Youngsters sometimes lack good judgment and should have their grit intake controlled. A light sprinkle on their food should suffice. Occasionally, health issues will cause a bird to take too much grit, so you may prefer to control the amount for adults as well.

    Oyster Shell for Aquarium Use: Aquatic creatures that require a higher pH and/or love alkaline water, will noticeably respond to the addition of oyster shell. It is perfect for healthy, smooth shell development in snails. Cichlids, Livebearers or other fish with requirements for a higher pH & alkalinity will thrive beautifully with this addition to their environment. Not only will it contribute to an optimum environment, but it also adds stability to that environment by increasing KH (buffering) levels. This helps to prevent deadly pH fluctuations and system crashes.

    Oyster Shell is considered to be superior for buffering due to it's particle size & shape, which allows for aeration and graduated dissolution. Another great thing about oyster shell is it dissolves noticeably as it depletes. Unlike coral, you don't have to guess when it's time to add more. Pour some into a media bag (or nylon stocking) and add it to your filter or other source of water movement. Add more when you notice that it's low - that's all there is to it!

    Like anything that impacts pH, oyster shell should be added in small increments until the desired parameters are reached. Using too much too quickly will cause a dramatic change in pH, which can harm your aquatic livestock, plants and beneficial bacteria. It is recommended that you add a small amount every few days to a week and test the water parameters until you reach the desired levels. Please familiarize yourself with aquarium chemistry before using any pH adjuster. Note: Oyster shell or any buffering media should be cleaned periodically to ensure top efficiency levels.
    "All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arises not from deficits in the Constitution or Confederation , nor from want of honor and virtue, so much as downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit, and circulation." -- John Adams
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  16. #56
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Northern Idaho
    Posts
    2,357
    Quote Originally Posted by Deemy View Post
    What seeds is good for sprouting for chikens? This is something I haven't tried.
    I have used wheat and barley $12 to $13 /80 lb sack.
    Barley takes 4 days and wheat takes 5 days.
    One day of soaking and other days for watering and sprouting.
    5 buckets. 1 to hold water and seeds. others have holes drilled in bottom. Set one with holes in bottom into undrilled bucket to soak.
    Rotate buckets. It is now too cold for me to sprout. I will soak some to increase volume for feed. I ration that with commercial feed and scratch.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    Thank you Bullwinkle
    Deemy

  18. #58
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    Sep 2002
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    Too Close to Yellowstone
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    I would feed cooked sparrows to them!

    If theres a compost pile, move it every so often, you would not believe what might be at the bottom of it. I found grubs the size of QUARTERS under mine, the chickens went insane! I almost got knocked over from the mad rush when they saw what I had.

    A mealworm farm can be a wonderful supplemental feed for chickens. I started mine with 2000 mealies this past January. I now have an estimated 6000 and thats with feeding my chickies around 200 a month. Mealies have a high fat content but the protien is up there too.
    I followed the most often mentioned way of raising the mealies which was a wallys plastic 3 drawer bin. these are the ones that are pretty wide ranging from 20$-30$. A 50 lb sack of wheat bran for them was very cheap. I did NOT like the advice of having the beetle drawer having the bottom cut out and gluing screen over it. Not only did the wheat bran and eggs fall all over thru the screen when you opened the drawer to maintain the beetles, but the drawers do not fit tightly to the frame and I was having escapees-the beetles do fly sometimes. I now have 3 regular under the bed type bins for beetles-tops have 2 biggish holes carved in them and then hot glued screen over the holes for air. I have two of the 3 drawer sets and only now using 4 drawers which is soon to change since one beetle bin is about beetled out and then I will transfer the contents to a drawer to have yet another generation of eggs hatch out and grow mealies for me.

    I spend 2 hours on them every 3 days, they need humidity, warmth and food. I use sponges for humidity, carrots, dry bread and the substrate of wheat bran for food. Some people keep their bins on top of things like their TV or stereo to use the warmth.
    The "frass" (mealworm/beetle poop) is the most wonderful addition to plants for fertilizer, it could be sold as that or used yourself. you would not believe my roses....

    I plan on growing several things for supplementing my chickens food, mulberries, comfrey, grapevines and many other things can be planted next to their pen so they can feed on the leaves/fruit without scratching your plants right out of the ground. I also plan on a grass bin that is a frame of wood planted with grass seed and have a hardware cloth cover so they can feed on the grass without tearing it up.

    I have read that they can eat duckweed and it can be dried for them for winter-I made grass hay from the excess my neighbor would bring me for them. Grow purslane! the chickies go crazy over it. I tried to dry it for winter, but its too succulant to dry well so that failed, but its a great free food for them. I infected my property with it last summer and this year every time I picked them some I shook it allover so more will grow all over the place for me.

    Huge thread on mealworm farming:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/49...alworm-farming

    www.backyardchickens.com is an exhaustive source on all that is chicken, duck, turkey and the like.
    Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; thus unlamented let me die; steal from the world, and not a stone tell where I lie.

    The best place to be in the event of a nuclear explosion is anywhere you can say: "what the hell was that!?!"
    ><>
    Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.

    Men are NOT interested in what God has to say - but what they would rather believe themselves (shamelessly stolen from INVAR).
    <><
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    Oh, no. You have to fall."



  19. #59
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Too Close to Yellowstone
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    10,449
    deleted due to double post
    Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; thus unlamented let me die; steal from the world, and not a stone tell where I lie.

    The best place to be in the event of a nuclear explosion is anywhere you can say: "what the hell was that!?!"
    ><>
    Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.

    Men are NOT interested in what God has to say - but what they would rather believe themselves (shamelessly stolen from INVAR).
    <><
    "...no one can jump into the arms of God.
    Oh, no. You have to fall."



  20. #60
    Look with the sprouting I managed a chicken farm for a while. Anyway I would soak the grain, corn etc until the seed etc had swelled up then I would drain rinse and usually by the second day feed. Sometimes I would go to a third day with some stuff.. I only waited for seed etc to show signs of sprouting. I wasn't waiting to get green sprouts. Anyway health went up along with egg numbers etc.

  21. #61
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walrus Whisperer View Post
    I would feed cooked sparrows to them!

    If theres a compost pile, move it every so often, you would not believe what might be at the bottom of it. I found grubs the size of QUARTERS under mine, the chickens went insane! I almost got knocked over from the mad rush when they saw what I had.

    A mealworm farm can be a wonderful supplemental feed for chickens. I started mine with 2000 mealies this past January. I now have an estimated 6000 and thats with feeding my chickies around 200 a month. Mealies have a high fat content but the protien is up there too.
    I followed the most often mentioned way of raising the mealies which was a wallys plastic 3 drawer bin. these are the ones that are pretty wide ranging from 20$-30$. A 50 lb sack of wheat bran for them was very cheap. I did NOT like the advice of having the beetle drawer having the bottom cut out and gluing screen over it. Not only did the wheat bran and eggs fall all over thru the screen when you opened the drawer to maintain the beetles, but the drawers do not fit tightly to the frame and I was having escapees-the beetles do fly sometimes. I now have 3 regular under the bed type bins for beetles-tops have 2 biggish holes carved in them and then hot glued screen over the holes for air. I have two of the 3 drawer sets and only now using 4 drawers which is soon to change since one beetle bin is about beetled out and then I will transfer the contents to a drawer to have yet another generation of eggs hatch out and grow mealies for me.

    I spend 2 hours on them every 3 days, they need humidity, warmth and food. I use sponges for humidity, carrots, dry bread and the substrate of wheat bran for food. Some people keep their bins on top of things like their TV or stereo to use the warmth.
    The "frass" (mealworm/beetle poop) is the most wonderful addition to plants for fertilizer, it could be sold as that or used yourself. you would not believe my roses....

    I plan on growing several things for supplementing my chickens food, mulberries, comfrey, grapevines and many other things can be planted next to their pen so they can feed on the leaves/fruit without scratching your plants right out of the ground. I also plan on a grass bin that is a frame of wood planted with grass seed and have a hardware cloth cover so they can feed on the grass without tearing it up.

    I have read that they can eat duckweed and it can be dried for them for winter-I made grass hay from the excess my neighbor would bring me for them. Grow purslane! the chickies go crazy over it. I tried to dry it for winter, but its too succulant to dry well so that failed, but its a great free food for them. I infected my property with it last summer and this year every time I picked them some I shook it allover so more will grow all over the place for me.

    Huge thread on mealworm farming:
    http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/49...alworm-farming

    www.backyardchickens.com is an exhaustive source on all that is chicken, duck, turkey and the like.
    This is something Im going to do

  22. #62
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Too Close to Yellowstone
    Posts
    10,449
    My neighbor brought me a HUGE trout last night. I have read that one can throw the leftovers to the chickens (Even the bones being eaten), I plan on doing that. That fish was so big I had to cut it into 4 portions-and I dont think I could actually EAT all of one of them at a meal. So the cat and the chickens will benefit.

    I just planted a mulberry tree that I set into a box with packaged soil because it was so hot here all summer. I kept it by the back door where it got partial shade and it doubled in size. It is at the SW corner of the future chicken run, fruit and shade, I like it! I hope I can get comfrey starts in spring, I've never grown it but I hear its a good herb to have. I also hope to have LOTS of medicinal type plants growing around and all over the property. Lots of things can help reduce mite/lice/worm loads in the chickens when dried AND feed them too while green.
    I plan on starting to see if they will eat BOSS (black oil sunflower seed) Its pretty cheap and I could plant a 10$ bag in my rear part of the lot and have enough for that whole next winter. I read that the BOSS is more nutricious for them than any other sunflower seed. Same thing with Flax. A 5 lb bag of flax seed is 5$ at the feed store. Try planting some.....
    Each flock is gonna be differant in what they will eat. Mine do NOT like cantelope, but will eat the seeds, they LOVE watermelon and the seeds. They will NOT eat any summer squash or the seeds (even cooked) or cucumber either. Its seems they dont like the sliminess (I'm with them on the cukes, cant stand the smell of it). The BYC forum has a LARGE thread on fermenting feed and the use of apple cider vinegar (the real stuff with mother in it), Gonna try that too and will be sprouting wheat this winter for me and them. Mine also love every bug I have brought them, even stink bugs.... I await seeing if they will eat pumpkin, I have 3 enormous ones I grew in the garden and when I cook and cut them up to make a few pies, they will get the leftovers and the seeds. I am thinking of trying buying one and see if they will eat it ahead of time-I could collect and dry a LOT of pumpkins from people tired of the frozen ones on their porches....
    Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; thus unlamented let me die; steal from the world, and not a stone tell where I lie.

    The best place to be in the event of a nuclear explosion is anywhere you can say: "what the hell was that!?!"
    ><>
    Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.

    Men are NOT interested in what God has to say - but what they would rather believe themselves (shamelessly stolen from INVAR).
    <><
    "...no one can jump into the arms of God.
    Oh, no. You have to fall."



  23. #63
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    1984
    Posts
    9,538
    You can plant comfrey right now - and get the spring harvest of leaves. (sparingly with crown or younger plants)
    http://www.horizonherbs.com/group.asp?grp=51&pgNUM=4
    (get true Symphytum officinalis for medicinal use, and Bocking 14 cultivar for feed)

    And for bocking 4 organic go to http://www.coescomfrey.com/Coes_Comf...formation.html
    If you get the older roots, you can still harvest this fall!
    I recommend a batch of 1 years, and a couple of twos for "right away" testing.

    Get all three types.
    shōu xnyngkă ma?

  24. #64
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    663
    Walrus,I grow comfrey along the chicken pen and the leaves poke thru the fence.
    If the hens get to it they dig up the whole plant and eat it all. We also have a backyard size aquaponics system and
    all fish trimmings and plant trimmings go to the hens.
    I know one guy who traps mongoose (they are a weasel type critter that kills chickens and steals eggs)
    and chops them up for chicken feed. We trap mongoose but haven't tried feeding it to the hens.
    At some point we may have to do this but not yet.
    I have fruit trees planted in the chicken yard and the hens eat all the dropping fruit.

    Thanks everyone for all the good ideas.
    Grow fish and you will have vegetables
    hawaiimicroaquaponics.blogspot.com

  25. #65
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    "Far far away in never-never land"
    Posts
    2,338
    Try growing and using the "Miracle Grains" Quinona and Amaranth. They grow in any type of soil or climate and don't have to be threshed or milled. A big pot of cooked oatmeal with left over fruit and/or vegetables will also be eaten with relish. How about raising some meal worms in some dirt and coffee grounds? How about, if it's tropical, using/planting sweet potatoes. Mush up some turnips and sweeten 'em up a bit and watch 'em go at it.
    There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."Theodore Roosevelt-1907.

  26. #66

  27. #67
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Too Close to Yellowstone
    Posts
    10,449
    Quote Originally Posted by Lei View Post
    Walrus,I grow comfrey along the chicken pen and the leaves poke thru the fence.
    If the hens get to it they dig up the whole plant and eat it all. We also have a backyard size aquaponics system and
    all fish trimmings and plant trimmings go to the hens.
    I know one guy who traps mongoose (they are a weasel type critter that kills chickens and steals eggs)
    and chops them up for chicken feed.
    We trap mongoose but haven't tried feeding it to the hens.
    At some point we may have to do this but not yet.
    I have fruit trees planted in the chicken yard and the hens eat all the dropping fruit.

    Thanks everyone for all the good ideas.
    Theres a reason they say to never fall down drunk in a chicken coop. Your carcass will be picked clean by nightfall.
    Thus let me live, unseen, unknown; thus unlamented let me die; steal from the world, and not a stone tell where I lie.

    The best place to be in the event of a nuclear explosion is anywhere you can say: "what the hell was that!?!"
    ><>
    Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions.

    Men are NOT interested in what God has to say - but what they would rather believe themselves (shamelessly stolen from INVAR).
    <><
    "...no one can jump into the arms of God.
    Oh, no. You have to fall."



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