I apologize if this has been covered already. We raise about 40 meat chickens per year and have always fed organic fryer rations ($28.00/50#), this worked fine with the Cornish X's because we butcher at 7 weeks. This year we are getting either the Freedom Rangers or the Red Rangers and because of their slower growth rate we cannot afford to feed them the organic feed. We raise our pigs on fermented grains and am curious if anyone has raised chickens on this. We do not have a large pasture for much free ranging, they do have a large area but it is mostly just dirt. Thank you so much for any info.
We do fermented grains for all the grain eaters as long as weather allows (i.e. not frozen). Chickens do AWESOME on fermented grains. They nit-pick their food less, waste less, and you don't lose any grain weight in 'powder' that would otherwise not get eaten.
I'd personally strongly recommend feeding whole milled grains vs. a pelleted feed. They eat less, poop less, and stink less on un-cooked/unprocessed grains. I avoid wheat in this case, since they love picking the wheat berries out and ruining their protein intake. Oats, peas, corn, barley, and milo make great grain mixes and the corn is usually easy to find non-GMO. I recommend the oats because they have a diverse amino acid content. I try to add as many grains/seeds in as I can to diversify their nutrition, with peas being central to protein intake.
Depending on where you're at in Oregon, there should be feed mills that sell bulk grains. Especially towards the Washington/Idaho border AG area. They usually run $5-$12/50lb bag, depending on the seed you're getting and who's selling it.
I'd never be able to afford poultry if I fed pelleted or pre-mixed feeds. Most pre-mixed feeds can be replicated for 1/3 the price. The main difference is they have added minerals. I buy loose minerals for my goats and throw that in with the fermenting pig/chicken/rabbit/etc feed. The chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and pigeons have always done very well on it. Been feeding this way for about 4 years I try to shoot for 18%-20% protein, and the chickens can avoid excess peas if they don't want the extra protein.
Granted I've always had some level of free-range forage available to all the animals. That makes a big difference when animals are able to self-supplement!
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