cheap chicken food?

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by electrifier, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. electrifier

    electrifier Junior Member

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    hey just wondering does anyone know what is the fastest, easiest growing forage for chickens. in wellington new zealand so need something cool climate. and can you use sand from the beach for grit?
     
  2. helenlee

    helenlee Junior Member

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  3. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    coarse grit from the beach would serve as "grit" but for the calcium side, you could look for things like cuttlefish bones, oyster shells.. thought I think you'd need to grind them up, eg with a hammer on a concrete slab or something. etc.
    I'm not sure what grows best in NZ, our kiwi friends?
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Weeds. (no I'm not taking the p!ss I'm serious!) They grow fast and plentifully and you don't need effort to get the there.
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    But are weeds enough?
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Chooks love weeds like puha. But if you want to feed the chooks completely yourself you need a pretty well planned set up. How much space/land do you have?

    Maggots would be one of my choices. https://forums.permaculture.org.au/showthread.php?7069-Maggots-and-Chooks There are other threads on the forum about this too.

    This is a great article on a rotation system for chooks that allows fodder plants to regenerate: https://forums.permaculture.org.au/...ncerns-about-the-way-most-people-raise-chicke

    Here's another useful thread on systems: https://forums.permaculture.org.au/showthread.php?5887-Chicken-living-plant-feeder
     
  7. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    magots are great and silverbeet will work well too. Swiss Chard in some places. And definatly the weeds - huge variety in those. Amaranth for oil seed.
     
  8. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    I get guppies for free every morning when I bucket out of the dam for the chooks water.I dump the water into their tub to clear it and then refill it.The smarter chooks grab the fish.
     
  9. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    ok well not everv morning.
    How come I cant edit this?
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Because the guppy goddess is out to get you. :)
     
    Jody Wall likes this.
  11. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I'm in Welllington too. No chooks up here, but grown food for them before. I presume by 'forage' you mean something for extra health and interest, not to provide for all their dietary needs.
    As mentioned, I vote for silverbeet. You can really squish it in, it grows in semi-shade, poor soil, year-round. You eat a few good leaves, chuck the rest to the chooks. And they REALLY love it when silverbeet flowers/seeds
     
  12. Terra

    Terra Moderator

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    Sprouted grain is an easilly managed supplement , set up some trays feed one and start one every day .
     
  13. digging

    digging Junior Member

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    Well I've been working on which foods would work as replacements for grains. |So far I've had the idea of using dried root crops like beets and any other cull roots. I realized that the grains we feed are dried and are far more concentrated in food value. Dry corn is much higher in cals than fresh corn. So if we dried say our cabbage leaves etc and some roots like mangels, turnips and grated up the roots on a cheeze grator and dried them they would have higher cals for the volume the chicken can eat. Because thats what stops them from getting enough food value from root crops the water volume. I'm working on this and I feel this could work as a way to produce 100% our own feed.

    Digging
     
  14. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Hello digging
    I wonder if there is any advantage in the dehydration thing. Surely the calorie thing is per kilo and without water the energy would be concentrated but dehydration should not (imo) increase the calorie count. The effort and energy needed to dry out the turnips would surely preclude the process. An advantage would be in grating the roots as chooks rarely eat the thing when given whole and access to the food would be improved.
    I think it is great that you are trying things and look forward to hearing how things go.
    regards
     
  15. digging

    digging Junior Member

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    It's not that the food has raised calories, it that the chicken can eat MORE calories, often they can not eat the volume of food needed to get thier calorie needs met when eating watery root crops or leaves. As for the energy for drying a person would just use the sun or in winter over the wood stove. I would think the energy would be the lowest if you can grow it yourselve compaired to driving somewhere and earning money to buy feed?

    digging
     
  16. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Digging i feel you are missing an important point. Its not just about calories. Its also about protein. Grains have more proteins than most vegetables. You should look at growing more leguminous crops that chickens like if you want to grow their food. Consider finding out what teh ratios of carbohydrates and proteins and fats shoudl be for chickens and fact that into your recipes. But do be careful. The idea that your chickens could become malnourished makes me feel ill.

    I don't know why you think a bird could eat more food because its dried than wet. That doesn't make much sense to me. Some animals that eat dried food need to drink more water.
     
  17. digging

    digging Junior Member

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    No I have not missed that point either, I was just first introducting the whole concept if homemade dehydrated foods. You asked me why I think a bird can eat more food dry than wet, remember that feed grains dehydrated. In fact all animal pellets are some type of deyhdrated food stuff. Have you ever eaten dried fruit or meat? You CAN eat more because the food is concentrated. If we are buying dehydrated animals feeds why don't we just make our own?

    Yes we would have to feed them a mix of root crops and leaves to get the full mineral,protein, etc.

    Digging
     
  18. adrians

    adrians Junior Member

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    ok, I don't want to argue about whether they can eat more or not.
    I think it is important though.. about protein. Chooks present us with nice little parcels of protein most days, that protein has to come from somewhere.
     
  19. digging

    digging Junior Member

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    I agree very much about the protein. Here I'll give some amounts to get started. Let's take corn fresh on the cob the way we eat it and then dry like popcorn the way we feed it to animals.

    Wet Corn per lb 8.7 grams protein and 400cals
    Dried Corn per lb 36 to 40 grams protein and 1600 cals

    Let's compair that to kale leaves fresh per lb 14.1 g protein and 227 cals, beets 5.1g and 195 cals. So if we dried the kale and beets down 85% to 6oz they would have 19.2g protein and 422 cals. Parsnips would give 6.6g and 340 cals per fresh lb, mixed with Kale that would be20.7 g and 567 cals for 6 oz.
    It seems to me the goal is to find food that have 300 to 400 cals per lb fresh because then the dehydrated amount would be rich enough in cals. I'm trying Jerusalem artichokes because they come back they have 7g protein and 345 cals/lb.
    Heres something else to consider how many food calories can you get from 100sq ft growing wheat? Well if you were really good at it you might get 25lbs of wheat from 100 sq ft. At 1500 cals per lb = 37,500 cals and 1440g protein per 100 sq ft.
    What could we get from parsnips at 100 sq ft? The highest might be 450lbs at 340 cals per lb =153,000 cals and 2970g protein per 100 sq ft.

    So on the same piece of ground we can produce 4 times more food value and double the protein not using grain. Perhaps thats why the old timers use to winter over their animals on root crops?

    Digging

    It seems to me one of the greatest challenges with raising chickens is producing the present types of grain diet. If you don't have machines to grow your grain you will not be feeding it to animals you'll be keeping it for your human use.
     
  20. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    It could be an important discussion dear digging.
    Can you tell me the source of your analysis? Just out of curiosity.
    Is this something you have been working on for some time? I am curious to see things that could replace grain as a base food for chickens.
     

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