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Corn and poultry

 
Guy De Pompignac
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Hi,

i'm designing my poultry feed system, and i want to include corn as a storable carb for winter

Is someone here growing corn for his poultry ? If so, is there a good cultivar for this purpose, and how one manages the problem of cross pollination with commercial/GM corn grown nearby ?

Does someone have some number of corn consumed by poultry by day/month in a system feed in which corn is served alone free choice (for energy), with some commercial feed served also alone free choice (for protein) ?

I'm trying to find some energy requierment for winter maintenance and number about metabolized energy for corn, but it is maybe simpler to ask for some real experience
 
kent smith
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I do not have any information to add, but I have some similar thoughts and concerns. I buy most of animal feed from the local farmers exchange which is the local farmers co-op. Last month every time I went to the exchange for feed there was a line of farmers with full gravity feed wagons of corn. I have wondered if I could make a deal to buy direct from some of the neighbors to buy corn direct. I have a neighbor who is trying to do the Joel Salatin pastured animals and is succeeding. He buys bulk ground corn from the exchange and hand mixes it with roasted soy bean meal. I am thinking that I could build a hammer mill and mixer in my machine shop and that we could cut down on our feed costs. I really hate to spend money in equipment especially to use GMO corn. I want to plant a large plot of fodder beets or mangles to use as winter feed. Also I want to plant sun flowers around any place extra for the broilers and turkeys. We planted turnips this year and had amazing results, have to wonder if beets will do the same. I think that this would be easier and more productive than corn. I wonder if I could keep them in the ground until I need to feed them out. I really think that improving the small pasture we have and expanding it into areas that have been over grown on it’s edges would do more for us than anything else. We raised turkeys for the first time this year and dang they are great grazers. If I moved them several times a day rather than just in the morning I think that I could cut their feed in half. Each morning when I move them they gorge themselves on fresh grass. I also want to raise more squash and pumkins with the idea of using them for feed for poultry and hogs. I want to learn more ways to raise our food and to keep it without being dependent of the grid, and commodity crops.
kent
 
Joe Skeletor
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I grew a little patch of mangels at the farm I work at just as a test. I barely took care of them, weeded around them once or twice, and got huge mangels! A few of them were almost 15 pounds (with the greens on, mind you, but chickens/pigs love the greens too) and most of them were at least 10 pounds. The only thing is that you need something to grind the root up, otherwise the animals don't really have a good way of eating it. I just used a machete to rough chop them up, but some sort of grinding machine would be better. In fact, I recall reading a book about old farm inventions made specifically for this purpose - grinding large storage crops like mangels, turnips, ect.

 
Joe Skeletor
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kent smith wrote:We planted turnips this year and had amazing results, have to wonder if beets will do the same. I think that this would be easier and more productive than corn.


Keep in mind that beets and turnips do not have the same nutritional density as corn. I think you're on the right track however, especially if you were able to grow a large variety of crops for feed. Squash (especially the seeds), corn, beets, turnips, sunchokes, ect.
 
Cj Sloane
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Joe Skeletor wrote:I think you're on the right track however, especially if you were able to grow a large variety of crops for feed. Squash (especially the seeds), corn, beets, turnips, sunchokes, ect.


Look towards permanent agriculture i.e. trees/shrubs. Oaks, chestnuts, other nuts (you can store them and let the chickens forage their own). Fruit trees. Berry bushes. Honey locust. I think the goal should be as few annuals as possible.
 
Cj Sloane
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permaguy Hatfield wrote:...i want to include corn as a storable carb for winter...


A better way to look at it is:
I want a storable carb for winter. What are my options?
Or maybe just:
I want winter storage food for my chickens produced on my land. What are my options?
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Yeah, so, what are my options ? ...
 
Cj Sloane
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CJin VT wrote:Look towards permanent agriculture i.e. trees/shrubs. Oaks, chestnuts, other nuts (you can store them and let the chickens forage their own). Fruit trees. Berry bushes. Honey locust. I think the goal should be as few annuals as possible.


See above.
It will also depend on your location and land... Many more possibilities.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Oaks : no more than 30% replacmeent of corn, need griding
Hony Locust : 10 years to produce, need griding, maybe legume inhibitors
Chestnust : require acid soils, need drying and griding
Berry : mess to harvest and need drying to store

I'm no aware of any nuts that chicken self-harvest,

so i guess corn is my storable winter carbs
 
Cj Sloane
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Siberian pea shrub, hawthorn, oak. All will take a few years at least. Plan ahead.

Find out what peasants in france grew before corn was introduced...
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Pea shrub is great for self harvesting because it drops when matures,

i think it is a mess to harvest it for storage, and there is still the potential problem of nutrient inhibitors of legumes


Before corn and potato, pheasants in Europe grew hungry stomachs


i've already think about the problem, my best guess is corn, when persimmons are no more available. Sometime, annuals are just better for the need.
 
Cj Sloane
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permaguy Hatfield wrote: Oaks...need griding
Hony Locust :...need griding...
Chestnust :...need drying and griding
Berry :...need drying to store

I'm no aware of any nuts that chicken self-harvest,

so i guess corn is my storable winter carbs



Um, doesn't corn need drying and grinding for chickens? Why eliminate those other fodders when the requirements are the same?
 
Guy De Pompignac
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CJin VT wrote:
permaguy Hatfield wrote: Oaks...need griding
Hony Locust :...need griding...
Chestnust :...need drying and griding
Berry :...need drying to store

I'm no aware of any nuts that chicken self-harvest,

so i guess corn is my storable winter carbs



Um, doesn't corn need drying and grinding for chickens? Why eliminate those other fodders when the requirements are the same?


Notice that for every choice you proposed, the drying/grididing pb was not the only one. Acorn are a good choice but cannot replace corn. Chestnuts have to be dried by smoke. Berries have a lot more water than corn, and must be spread horizontally so it takes a lot of space

You don't need to grid corn to feed poultry
 
Cj Sloane
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permaguy Hatfield wrote:Chestnuts have to be dried by smoke.

I have never heard that. Do you have a link?

Also, you've written that you want to grow corn to supplement commercial feed but commercial feed is mostly corn with some minerals & vitamins thrown in.

Do you plan on giving them whole ears of corn? If not that's another step your omitting and it takes much more space to store.
 
Betty Montgomery
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Why corn? Most commercial chicken feed I've seen has cracked corn in it but also those little round things. Millet I believe it is called. I've had millet come up from the left over feed the chickens didn't get the time I had to let my few remaining hens go. (Bad possum / feral cat / feral dog / who knows what problem) It may have less nutrition than corn. I don't know about that, but it grows easy where I live. Perhaps it would work for you. Just a thought.
Then there are oats, and the summer and winter types of wheat which would also give you straw to put in the chicken yard or the laying boxes. Hey! I just gave myself an idea!
With those other grains I'm not talking dedicating whole acres to them, just bits and pieces here and there, maybe. Would that work? I'm new at the PC thing so let me know if I'm off the beam here.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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CJin VT wrote:
permaguy Hatfield wrote:Chestnuts have to be dried by smoke.

I have never heard that. Do you have a link?


No link, but landscape here is dotted with secadou (now unused) to dry chestnuts.


Also, you've written that you want to grow corn to supplement commercial feed but commercial feed is mostly corn with some minerals & vitamins thrown in.


Note only, it is also protein (usually soybeans) up to 20%. But i plan to produce my own proteins.


Do you plan on giving them whole ears of corn? If not that's another step your omitting and it takes much more space to store.


I hope to feed whole ears yes
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Betty Montgomery wrote:Why corn? Most commercial chicken feed I've seen has cracked corn in it but also those little round things. Millet I believe it is called. I've had millet come up from the left over feed the chickens didn't get the time I had to let my few remaining hens go. (Bad possum / feral cat / feral dog / who knows what problem) It may have less nutrition than corn. I don't know about that, but it grows easy where I live. Perhaps it would work for you. Just a thought.
Then there are oats, and the summer and winter types of wheat which would also give you straw to put in the chicken yard or the laying boxes. Hey! I just gave myself an idea!
With those other grains I'm not talking dedicating whole acres to them, just bits and pieces here and there, maybe. Would that work? I'm new at the PC thing so let me know if I'm off the beam here.


I thought about millet/sorgho, i think i would give it a try, but if i can grow millet, why not corn ? It is easier to grow i think, best yield if the fertility follow (with poultry manure for example).

Oa is not very suitable, too many fibers, but it is sometime included in poultry ration (maybe up to 10%)

For straw, i plan to use perennial species like miscanthus, i don't want to grow/handle wheat, too much work i think !
 
Cj Sloane
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Betty Montgomery wrote:Hey! I just gave myself an idea!
With those other grains I'm not talking dedicating whole acres to them, just bits and pieces here and there, maybe. Would that work? I'm new at the PC thing so let me know if I'm off the beam here.


Yes, that is really more of a permaculture approach.

It does occur to me that there are still so many things we don't know about permaguy's situation. How many chickens? How long is the winter? Are they layers? And here is another interesting question: what has permaguy grown successfully in the past?
 
Guy De Pompignac
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The problem is that i'm not asking to design my poultry feed system, i've already done that, and i'm asking technical questions.

Would be happy to discuss about poultry fodder system, i'm deeply interested, but i'm not posting here to defend my approach and my degree of permacultureness
 
Cj Sloane
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permaguy Hatfield wrote:... i'm asking technical questions.


I would say that knowing how many chickens are being fed, and for how long are required to answer the technical question.
Also, finding out your level of farming experience is also required.

As for permaculture, I would say it's a design approach more than anything. If you don't want help with design, and don't want help raising corn in a permaculture approach, then why would you post a question on how to raise corn using traditional agricultural methods on a permaculture forum?

It's not meant to be a hostile question but do a search on the forum. It has come up numerous times and each time the basic premise has been questioned.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Thanks Paul,

i'd be glad to be part of the 2nd scale, i would find more docs for my permaculture poultry fodder forest

 
tel jetson
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chestnuts:
smoking them is not necessary. it does make them extremely delicious, and dries them for preservation and so that they can be ground into flour. if they only need to be stored through the winter, removing the prickly husks and storing them in layers alternating with dry sand will do the trick. I've found that they also keep just fine for months in the refrigerator, though they do lose moisture and volume over time. chickens love them, and so do I.


corn:
nothing wrong with growing annuals, folks. perennials and tree crops are super rad, and should get a lot more use than they typically do, but there are plenty of ways to grow annuals that aren't destructive of dirt and body like the more typical methods are.

I don't have a variety to recommend, but you'll likely be looking for a dent corn so that you can use it, too. many of the old varieties are becoming more easily available again, which is great. if you've got the space, I would recommend trialing a few different varieties that fit your climate and growing season so you can find out which works best for your particular conditions. dent corn can typically be harvested at the 'milky' stage for good sweet or roasting corn. won't taste like modern hybrid sweet corn, but it will be quite toothsome. for drying, though, stalks can be bent over after the corn is mature so that rain will run off the plant instead of into the ear ruining it before it's dry. then harvest when they're good and dry. I like to sprout corn that I feed to chickens. I haven't tried doing that while it's still on the cob, but it might work.

avoiding pollen contamination:
not easy. I was under the impression that Europe does not allow GM crops, though, but I could certainly be mistaken about that. if there are only a couple big farms that you're worried about, you might be able to pay attention to when they plant and when their corn will be flowering and time your planting and varieties to avoid flowering at the same time. planting solid barrier/windbreak hedges can help you out, too, though it certainly won't completely exclude outside pollen.

I like placing a winter chicken run where annual crops (and perennials and trees) will be planted the following season. add plenty of woody material over the winter as the birds tear things up so that nutrients aren't leached and don't run off. crawly critters will thrive in the mulch and provide some live food for the birds. keeping ahead of the mess by frequently adding more woody stuff will keep the birds happier and healthy, too. come spring, there should be some great compost in place for nutrient-greedy crops, such as maize and squash and plenty of others. no need to turn the dirt, even. I've found that the chicken run ends up being quite fluffy come Spring, and very easy to plant into.
 
Alison Thomas
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My chickens did really well last winter on spare squashes. I know it's not an answer to the corn question but it's another option.
 
Ding Fod
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from the permaculture angle your best bet may be mulberries and persimmons. For storage you may want to look at spring buckwheat rotated in the fall to hard red winter wheat. The two seem to work well together, grow well in diverse climates, need little attention or water, and two crops a year. You may want to look into amaranth and sorgum as well. If you are stuck on corn, try the Painted Mountain corn out of Bozeman. Short season dent style corn is differant enough and may pollinate too early to be an issue with Monsanto's softkill death crops.

Oats and Wheat has proven a balanced enough diet for our birds. They are fed about 8mos a year and then free range for 4mos. Suprise! they even lay w/o soy! Who would have thought that possible?
 
Alison Thomas
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Ding Fod wrote:Suprise! they even lay w/o soy! Who would have thought that possible?
Ha ha that made me laugh. Ours have never even seen soy/soya and between the 8 of them produce, even in the depths of winter, a minimum of 5 eggs a day. They get about 200g of whaet grains twice a day between the 8 of them, the rest is free-range. I remember stressing out BIG time at the beginning in case I wasn't giving them all the 'right' stuff.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Thanks for all the good advice :

about chestnut and smoke : maybe smoke is not necessary for poultry, but it must have been for human because it so much work i can't understand why old peasants did it.

For corn, i've found in Carole Deppe's books that with a white cultivar, you can see cross pollination with yellow cultuvars (grains are yellow). I've bought truckers favorite white dent.


I think i'll grow amaranth (very good amino profile, in particular met and lys), maybe with corn (to balance thiamin and add energy) and dried black soldier fly larvae (protein++ for eggs)

Well, i'll have to do my maths to design a good layer ration for winter, both for laying hen (my hens are still laying one egg/day) or for maintenance.

Corn and amaranth are annuals but seems easy to grow or to process (amaranth need to be cooked bacause it contains anti nutrients)

Perennials can sustain poultry in summer and fall (mulberries, caragana, persimmon).

My best bet for winter perennials are persimmons (energy, ~3% protein) and sea buckthorn (full of proteins + vit).
 
Alison Thomas
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permaguy, did you get your truckers favourite white dent corn here in France. If so, any chance of a link? I'm having to import seeds all the time and that seems mad.
 
David Bates
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Howdy!

I've enjoyed reading this exchange as I plan to get a few handfuls of Chickens this Spring and would like to feed them without wandering far off my land. Pumpkins, dent corn, other squash, oats, other grains and I am thinking *bugs*.

I'm moving to a boggy place that is thick with blackflies, mosquitoes and deer flies. By thick I mean that you have to wear a bug jacket or you get eaten (it's true there was a guy drained into just skin once). So how about harvesting and setting aside insects for my Chickens? Obviously they will have an excellent time feasting on the blood sucking parasites during bug season but what if I come up with a way to catch and store a few tonnes of them? Any thoughts?
 
Cj Sloane
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David Bates wrote:So how about harvesting and setting aside insects for my Chickens? Obviously they will have an excellent time feasting on the blood sucking parasites during bug season but what if I come up with a way to catch and store a few tonnes of them? Any thoughts?


Read this thread: Free Fish Feed for Cooler Climates
Not for the squimish.
 
David Bates
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CJin VT wrote:
David Bates wrote:So how about harvesting and setting aside insects for my Chickens? Obviously they will have an excellent time feasting on the blood sucking parasites during bug season but what if I come up with a way to catch and store a few tonnes of them? Any thoughts?


Read this thread: Free Fish Feed for Cooler Climates
Not for the squimish.


Thanks for that. I'm thinking more along the lines of drying bugs I can catch than growing bugs. At some times of year the air is full of them. One thing I've noticed is that the black flies and the deer flies can't seem to see very well when they are out of ultra violet light. If they end up inside they fly like mad up against windows the sun shows through, avoiding other places. Maybe a big cone? With a black bucket underneath to dry their tired out corpses? Probably not as productive an idea as putting some dent corn in with beans and pumpkins growing around it but still... I'd like a bit of revenge
 
Lolly Knowles
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David, your plight made me think of a video that showed an inexpensive method of removing mosquitoes from an area. http://www.youtube.com/user/GREENPOWERSCIENCE?feature=g-all-u#p/u/53/pU2kbghz85I I don't know that the solution will address your problem, but it might encourage some out of the box thinking.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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Alison Freeth-Thomas wrote:permaguy, did you get your truckers favourite white dent corn here in France. If so, any chance of a link? I'm having to import seeds all the time and that seems mad.


No way to find this in France, i had to import it from US. But if i'm lucky its the last time i'll have to do this
 
Guy De Pompignac
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BSFL seem the best because it self clean before moving out of trash and have no mouth, so it is not a vector disease. House fly maybe more "dangerouse" (but have 60+% CP, damn).

I was thinking, what about installing bee hives, and harvest dead bees (not dead by disease but when the colony shrink for winter period) ?
 
Cj Sloane
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Bees are great but I doubt that you would get a meaningful amount of dead bees to feed chickens. Even if you did, I'm not sure the chickens would go for it. I have two bee hives and there's always several hundred dead bees in front. The chickens have never shown any interest.
 
Guy De Pompignac
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CJin VT wrote:Bees are great but I doubt that you would get a meaningful amount of dead bees to feed chickens. Even if you did, I'm not sure the chickens would go for it. I have two bee hives and there's always several hundred dead bees in front. The chickens have never shown any interest.


Damn chickens free will
 
Anisah David
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permaguy Hatfield wrote:Hi,

i'm designing my poultry feed system, and i want to include corn as a storable carb for winter

Is someone here growing corn for his poultry ? If so, is there a good cultivar for this purpose, and how one manages the problem of cross pollination with commercial/GM corn grown nearby ?

Does someone have some number of corn consumed by poultry by day/month in a system feed in which corn is served alone free choice (for energy), with some commercial feed served also alone free choice (for protein) ?

I'm trying to find some energy requirement for winter maintenance and number about metabolized energy for corn, but it is maybe simpler to ask for some real experience


The only problem I see with feeding corn is if you try buying it in "bulk" from a farmer. His/her corn is likely whole and its almost impossible for most animals (including humans) to digest the whole kernel corn. I live in South Dakota and corn is all around me, and I've stepped in a few cow-pies to know that it runs thru cows too with little change! So if you are going to use corn, I'd recommend getting it cracked at least. I'd recommend other grain instead, such as wheat and other small grains. I've also read that its good to rake up and bag your leaves or ask your neighbors for their bagged up leaves in the fall, then use them as bedding for the birds. Well there is a side benefit to doing this! I discovered my chickens head for any raked piles and feed on the hiding bugs who are trying to find shelter. Additionally they consume some of the leaves in the process. Since winter snow is the big problem for me, my birds have to be indoors most of the winter, so spreading leaves is done in their shed. But I also spread out my excess red worms that have over-populated themselves in my worm-casting tub. So that also adds to the chicken food supply. I also feed them scraps from the kitchen, just like my grandmother did when I was a little girl.

I haven't tried growing my own meal worms for my poultry but some say that is plausible. I rather try to use the shot gun approach for feed. Giving them a variety of grains to choose from. The one grain I find in many bird seed bags and one I find few wildlife seem to want to eat is millet. Don't know if chickens are just as picky as wild birds and wild rabbits, but its also something to consider if its available.





 
Guy De Pompignac
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My chickens and duck eat whole grain corn, have you some link about digestibility of whole/cracked corn by poultry, since it seems well accepted that you can feed whole corn to chicken ?

 
Anisah David
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Guy De Pompignac wrote:My chickens and duck eat whole grain corn, have you some link about digestibility of whole/cracked corn by poultry, since it seems well accepted that you can feed whole corn to chicken ?



I can off hand recommend this article Poultry science, Volumes 1-2 By Poultry Science Association, American Association of Instructors and Investigators in Poultry Husbandry

But just to clarify, I'm not saying you can't feed it. I'm saying its hard for them to digest unless fully. That is true of many animals fed whole kernel corn. The amount of energy spent trying to digest the kernels has to also be considered, in my opinion.
 
tim huntington
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Perhaps a sudo grain. Like teff, amaranth, millet, buckwheat along with maize?
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