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What do you feed your chickens?

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  • What do you feed your chickens?

    My chickens will be arriving in a couple of weeks.. I know the obvious: bugs/kitchen scraps. I can also get some additional chicken scraps from a grocery store, but they need more protein and more food in general, also they will need some form of calcium so their shells are tougher. I was thinking for now to just get the standard organic mix to supplement until I learned what to feed them. However, if you have experience please let me know what you feed them.
    Primal since March 2011

    Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

  • #2
    I'm looking to get some too! I love this link Hyperlipid: Fruit and vegetables (13) become eggs

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    • #3
      I don't know the answer in terms of buying feed. But I can tell you that chickens absolutely love melon rind!
      __________________________
      age 56, type 2 diabetes, swimmer
      low carb since 2006 thanks to Jenny, primal since Jan. 2012

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      • #4
        Feed them a good organically grown feed without any soya products added to it. They also need clean water (of course) and access to some good crushed shells (Oystershell in the UK) which they store as calcium in their bodies to make the shells of their eggs. Some good sharp grit (Flint or similar) is good for them too as they keep it in their Gizzard to grind up the food they eat.
        Access to grass is good as they will eat some of it and it gives the yolks a lovely dark yellow colour.

        Dave

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        • #5
          They need bugs. Grubs, grasshoppers, crickets etc. So allowing them to roam is best. If you have kids, have them collect bugs by the jar full. That's what I did for fun as a kid, collected bugs and let them go for the chickens, they went wild for them! The organic feed, will supplement when the bugs are scarce.

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          • #6
            If you get any mice in your grain bins.... you'd be shocked by what a chicken will do to it!

            Consider a black fly larva set up if they are in your area... great way to generate some bug protein.
            “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
            ~Friedrich Nietzsche
            And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

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            • #7
              I'm hoping they are going to eat all our misquitoes and ticks!!
              Primal since March 2011

              Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

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              • #8
                Originally posted by activia View Post
                I'm hoping they are going to eat all our misquitoes and ticks!!
                No luck on that at our house with the mosquitos, athough I'm sure they eat a few.

                My chickens love everything! I use the 3-day rule on leftovers - so after that the chickens score! And of course any other scraps from the kitchen.

                I found a local farm where I can buy grain for them, and they free range all day in the back yard.

                Love my chickens!

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                • #9
                  Had a farmer tell me once that if you feed them marigolds, it will make the yolks brighter yellow. Don't know if it's true though. Might be worth a try.

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                  • #10
                    Until they are well grown, make sure they have free choice access to proper chicken food. You can still feed them scraps, let them forage, catch bugs etc. but it's not worth leaving things to chance. They are not like us, or cattle, they can handle grains and seeds just fine. Just ask for medication and drug free feed. They will need chick starter crumbs for the first few weeks, as they get bigger they can be changed to grower, either crumb or pellets.

                    I always fed a mixed scratch grain as well, once a day as a treat, and any kitchen scraps. Pretty much anything you put in a composer is really good for them. They had a big outdoor pen, the run of the yard in the evening, and we're locked in the henhouse at night. For layers, make sure they have free access to oyster shell once they start laying.

                    Backyard Chickens is a great forum for help and info.
                    Fighting fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain since 2002.

                    Big Fat Fiasco

                    Our bodies crave real food. We remain hungry as long as we refuse to eat real food, no matter how much junk we stuff into our stomachs. ~J. Stanton

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                    • #11
                      ^^^THIS^^^

                      The one thing I try to explain to people who are unfamiliar with chickens is usually that in reality, if they were big enough... they WOULD try to eat you (and they'd probably succeed!) Feathery little velociraptors they are. LOL
                      “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
                      ~Friedrich Nietzsche
                      And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cori93437 View Post
                        ^^^THIS^^^

                        The one thing I try to explain to people who are unfamiliar with chickens is usually that in reality, if they were big enough... they WOULD try to eat you (and they'd probably succeed!) Feathery little velociraptors they are. LOL
                        Absolutely, if they were the size of sheep we'd be fucked.

                        I give mine a high quality organic feed with some shell for the added calcium. They have 24/7 access to this, but most of their time is spent out in the various fields and grassy areas of my farm where they eat almost anything. Seriously, they'll eat anything they can catch, kill, scratch up, dig at, peck at, or find laying about. The other day one of them had managed to catch and kill a grass snake, which she then had to defend from the others who wanted to steal it.
                        Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own experience.

                        In the mind of the beginner, there are many possibilities; in the mind of the expert, there are few.


                        I've shaken hands with a raccoon and lived to tell the tale

                        SW: 220- 225 pounds at the beginning of January
                        CW: 180 pounds

                        Goals for 2012: Lose a bit more fat and start a serious muscle and strength routine

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                        • #13
                          Ahh well I have a fenced in yard .5 acre with 7.5ft fence, good amount lawn but some woods as well. I plan to fence them into a smaller section (mostly woods) of it tho to save the grass. They will free roam on the weekends when we are home throughout the entire yard. The only predators I'm concerned about are the hawks.. I'm not sure if there are any, but the might be. They will be locked in the coop at night to protect from the rest, and the fence should take care of most the other predators. I'm hoping the trees/bushes will be enough to protect them from the hawks.

                          3 Americana's and 3 RIRs

                          It looks that this is the best food that is available at my local grain store: http://www.organicfeeds.com/download...s-brochure.pdf
                          Primal since March 2011

                          Female/29 years old/5' 1"/130ish lbs

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dbalch View Post
                            Had a farmer tell me once that if you feed them marigolds, it will make the yolks brighter yellow. Don't know if it's true though. Might be worth a try.
                            FWIW: I was told the same at one of the farms where I buy eggs.
                            The Champagne of Beards

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                              FWIW: I was told the same at one of the farms where I buy eggs.
                              The guy was actually being dismissve when I told him how bright the egg yolks are that I buy from a local farmer. He wasn't selling eggs himself, he was a goat cheese guy at a farmer's market. But he implied that my egg seller was tricking up his eggs with the marigold. Not true, my farmer is a Joel Salatin acolyte, actually spent a few weekson Salatin's farm. He takes really great care the soil in his pastures, that's why the eggs are so good. He also sells fryers and raises about 6 batches of them a season. I pick up about 5 each batch and freeze them.

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