What to feed chickens

organickathy7May 10, 2010

Shouldn't we all use what chickens really eat so that we have good eggs? You feed them processed junk food that isn't natural to them (including grains-not good for people either), then you get back what you put in. Very poor quality eggs and chicken.

I'm no expert at all, but I do know that nature was and is perfect. But, we messed her up. I believe that we should do right by the animals and earth, and they will give us their best. Yes?

From what I've read they eat bugs, grasses, mice, and whatever crosses their path by nature. Lots of water is good, too.

If you don't have poisoned lawns, they should have fun running around clearing your area of those pesky critters and clean up while eating a good diet that will provide us with clean, healthy proteins. They really should be happy before we take their offspring, or their lives.

Anyway, I just think that if you feed them all that processed food that even we should avoid, then their eggs and bodies will end up toxic to us. After all, as the old saying goes..."You are what you eat."

Thanks for letting me vent.

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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Animal feed tends not to have to much processing done, and no one wants to add anything toxic to feed, that would hurt production. Wild red jungle fowl may have less grain in their diet than chickens, but you need to remember two things, one is that chickens have been raised on high grain scratch for a thousand years, and the other is that galiformes in general eat a lot of grain. It's no accident that chickens have such a superb gizzard, it ain't for grinding grasshoppers either. I don't think that you will get any arguments here about the value of free ranging but supplemental feed is important too, especially in cold climates.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 9:58AM
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We raised free-range chickens so most of their nourishment in spring/summer/fall was what they found while they grazed. During the winter though, we had to buy feed which became very expensive. There simply was no way we could sell eggs at a break-even price.

We also had meat chickens for a very short while for the same reason --- couldn't sell them for enough to break-even. Frankly, we never cared about a profit, but they were all becoming very expensive pets that aren't really my idea of 'pets'.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 10:01AM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Grain is part of the natural diet of chickens. While they are out scratching in the yard, they are eating all sorts of grass seeds (that's what grain is) and other plant seeds.

My chickens were never turned loose to feed the coyotes, but they had a nice big yard to exercise in. In my opinion, the exercise has as big an effect on the quality of the eggs as the diet does.

My chickens ate commercial mash, scratch, dry COB, an assortment of fresh veggies, and alfalfa, plus grit and oyster shell. If they could catch any bugs, they would eat them, but I would never consider adding meat to their diets.

Home raised eggs are a completely different item from store bought. There is no comparison, but they do cost about 4 times as much as store bought.

The breed of chickens makes a huge difference, too. Even home raised, commercial leghorns aren't that wonderful, and their hysteria is hard to deal with. I like Rhode Island Reds as a farm chicken. The eggs are wonderful and the chickens themselves have nice personalities.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 4:45PM
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My chickens are not pets, and they have a large enclosed yard where they can eat the naturally occurning seeds and bugs. They also eat the small snakes and mice the come into their yard through the fence. But I provide them with supplemental feed so they can get what they need to be healthy. Young ones get medicated feed because they are hatched with certain pathogens in their systems already and need looking after from day one. I also add a few drops of clorox to their water to keep the waterer sanitary for the health of the chickens who use it. When they get older I also use a wormer twice a year to keep them from a miserable death. Maybe it isn't "natural" to give them all these things, but it's healthier for them and also for us.

You could use the analogy that humans are naturally supposed to be vegetarieans and to live naturally we shouldn't put chemicals in our bodies. That would include the innoculations against dreaded diseases that wiped out thousands of people in past history. I like it better this way. My three children grew up healthy and my 84 year old mother has had regular health care all her life and she's doing fine. Health care isn't "natural" but it's better than the alternative, both for humans and for our animals. Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 4:45AM
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