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Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Talkin' Chicken Feed

What do YOU use for chicken feed? We started investigating thing a little more thoroughly, we were concerned about the GMO corn everywhere and not sure about soy and decided to do some homework on the nutritional needs of our birds. We intend to increase our flock, brood and rotate our laying hens as meat birds, keeping fresh birds on the table and maximum egg production going, at a minimal cost for renewing the flock. We eat organically as a family and use natural means for our health care. We intend to farm and raise our animals in this same way, as our budding farm growns. Chickens are our only farms stock so far...so we figured we ought to start with them! We have kept chickens for a couple years at now including our previous residence, which was only one acre. We have never had to treat our chickens for any thing. We hope to keep it that way! Back to the topic of feed.....
I found this great site which gave me exactly what I was looking for. The nutritional needs of my chickens and the nutritional value of things to feed it. (YES!) While I would love to give my chicken organic feed like my family (and they have actually gotten some form my own pantry from time to time!) it is not reasonable for our tight budget to do this. So...it is our ultimate goal to grow our own for them. I am not sure if that will be realistic this year but if we can we will. If not - we hope to make a priority for next year. In the mean time we seem to have found a wonderful corn free/soy free inexpensive solution. Millet based wild bird seed! A friend referred us to the local feed store where we can get it for 11.50 for a 50# bag! (We thought we were doing prety good at 20 for a 40# bag...so imagine our delight to find that we could do it for half that!!)In addition to this, we feed them organic scraps from our kitchen; they free range, getting lots of good scratching; They have oyster shells nip at and when Spring, Summer and Fall come into their own, round we will throw them our garden scraps and maybe some grass clippings (They LOVE grass clippings!).
In addition to increasing our flock of Road Island Reds to account for meat birds and have enough eggs for sale, we plan to add Guinea and Turkeys to our list of fowls (hopefully this year).
So the last piece to our bird feed puzzle is worms! We had a year experience in worm farming (on a HUGE scale) and that's something we know how to do. They are an amazing creature that is so beneficial to the farm eco system, that we decided our farm can not be without them. (That is another post) They too, will be part of our bird feed in the future.
I would love to hear how others feed their birds!
This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursdays

7 comments:

Diana Bauman said...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! I'm going to check out the Millet Bird Seed. Is there a particular brand that you buy? Thanks for sharing this on Simple Lives Thursday!

Mexico in my kitchen said...

My Grandma has a farm where the chickens were only fed corn grow in her farm. At the end of the day, the left over corn tortillas where soak for a while in water and then was given to the chickens and pork. Chickens were always free to roam in the farm. I had never taste a chicken like those now in my grown up life. Not even organic chicken taste like that.

Nice blog!

Andi said...

Pamela,
We too are planning to make our chicken food - have you checked greener pastures...
ummm this one...
http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickStarterRecipe.html

They have great ideas...and I hope to post on that very subject on Monday! Yah Willing.

Michelle said...

Millet based wild bird seed... wonderful idea. I'm going to look for that at our feed store. We pay a little over $20 for 50# organic layer feed and supplement with $12/50# wheat berries. I was talking with Luke last night about the oyster shell - I never wanted to use it because it is unclean... (yk, "you are what your food eats") but then he brought up the point that we eat fish and fish eat bugs and worms, and other unclean things (duh oy). Do you use it for grit or for shell strength? I've never used grit cuz our birds have access to dirt... and when I'm not being lazy or completely overwhelmed with life I give them crushed egg shell...

How young/old are your birds for slaughter? We were thinking a year and a half... that would mean new chicks in the Spring, then slaughter last years in the fall when the new ones start laying?

Danielle said...

Thanks for the post and the link! We are adopting some chickens this month, and I've been trying to decide what to feed them.

Ben said...

Diana,
We have experimented with differnt brands in the community. I have not seen a big difference accept in price and qty. So I am shopping price. The one we get cheaply from our feed store so I would recommend pricing your local farm co-op or feed store. It is in a simple white bag with black lettering - real plain. The brans is called "Pride and Pleasure" it is put out by Faithway Feed Co., in Guntersville AL - my kiddos just ran and got me the empty bag they just dumped intot he feed can. ;-) (I am noticing it has a toll free number on the bag so hear it is - 800-858-3195.) We dump it into our feed can so the field mice don't think it is for them! :-) Thanks for visiting! Hope to see you again!

Hi Chelle,

Yah, that is the ime frame we hope to shoot for too to rotate our layers for meat birds. Not sure if we will be able to get it going this year, but hope too!

I know what you mean about the oyster shells. (I went through that too.) We do it for the calcium. It lasts a really long time. I think it might not be necessary. When this supply runs out I am going to try a season without it and see if it makes any noticable differnce. I went through the same thing with the eggs shells too actually...It seems to "canabalistic too me", but then thught about how many animal eat their afterbirth and things like that...and realized it wasn't that big of a deal. It is thrifty and gives them calcium. I just hope it doesn't give thme a tasty for their eggs and make them peck at the eggs. I have heard of some hens doing that - but I don't know the cause. We can't have that. And also like - you...I find it a hassle to wash them and let them dry and crush them (because I am hoping to "hide them" in the food)...It takes a little more time effort and ocunter space than I care to devote to it..so I don't stick tothat eaither...but it would be a thrifty option! I am TRYING to train myself in frugality. :-)

Michelle said...

"I am TRYING to train myself in frugality." That's a very good way to put it. So true!

Well, we've gone a season w/o the oyster shell, so we will see if it makes a difference with. I picked some up today. I found a 50# bag of wild bird seed for $15. I ordered some organic cracked corn for $14/50# and some wheat and milo a little cheeper - maybe the combination of grains/seeds will be enough and we can wean them off the organic layer pellets.

Sometime, I'd love to hear more about your large scale worm farming experience. We started with 1,000 red worms last fall.