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Incubator review and Home made chicken feed

 
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First part with limited knowledge: I have chickens hatching this week. I used the EZ Egg Incubator ... I don’t recommend it ... the temperature is not consistent throughout the whole container.
I’ve also found that they seem to struggle outside of the incubator,  if left in the incubator after 6 hours. They do need to be babied if taken too soon after 4 hours.
Research wry neck before egg hatching. It’ll freak you out if you aren’t prepared and have never seen it.
Second part: Can anyone recommend a balanced homemade chicken feed for adult egg layers?
Have a great day guys!
 
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I do a mix that has 1 lb whole flax seed, 4 lb roasted whole soybeans, 5 lb corn, 5 lb oats, 5 lb barley and a bit of nutrient mix from the feed store.  I adapted it from the Garden Betty Feed Calculator and my feed store's recipe.
 
Megan Abdsllah
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Hi Mike, I have one more question.
I see that oyster shells are necessary to provide the chickens more calcium as adults. Would eggshells provide the same as oyster shells? Is there another option than purchasing oyster shells or other supplements?
 
Mike Haasl
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Oh, sorry, I forgot about that stuff since I don't consider it "feed".  I have a free feeding bin for oyster shell and grit so the ladies can use as much or as little of that as they want.  They also get egg shells which they clearly prefer to almost anything else.
 
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1 part millet
2 part buckwheat
3/4 part amaranth
1/2 part flax
1 1/2 part wheat
1 1/2 part oats
1 1/2 part barley
2 parta field peas (black eyed is what I have access to, and I grind these roughly)
4 parts black oil sunflower seeds.

A ground kelp product for those minerals, occasionally DE but I'm not consistently committed to that.

The ratios are somewhat flexible. I do add water, probably a little more than 1 to 1, I don't measure. And I do ferment that mix.

Occasionally I offee some alfalfa. Of course I offer food scraps. On very cold mornings I warm the "mash" with some milk like hot cereal, and occasionally add butter.

I do attempt to do some composting with them, but I'm very much on the learning curve there.

I found this link useful https://afs.ca.uky.edu/poultry/nutrition

 
Megan Abdsllah
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Wow!
Thank you for all the information:-)
I appreciate in everyone’s help to feed the chickens well.
I’m very new at this!
 
Megan Abdsllah
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I’ve read feeding them compost is tricky due to the do’s and don’ts of feeding. I’ve read avacado’s, garlic (I assume nightshades are in the group), unripened potatoes, etc.
I’m thinking about hanging planters with malabar around the coup. They can have the lower and I can have the upper
 
Mike Haasl
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Every food scrap I have goes to the chickens (except for left over chicken).  If they don't eat it, it becomes compost.  I used to worry about what to keep out of the compost for them but after 4 years I've given up worrying and let them do the sorting.
 
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I would recommend black walnut as chicken feed. Here in missouri the black walnut trees are very common and the price is low.
My one tree produced 1200 black walnuts last season, if I sell them to the shelling station, that will only bring me no more than $10. No wonder many people here don't bother to deal with their nuts.
I collected more from a friend's yard as well as some in park and cracked 12-20 per day to feed my chickens since last oct. They absolutely love it. All 3 of my hens started laying in Dec at 6 months old and I believe the black walnuts gave them lots of nutrients. 20 nuts are about 1 cup, or 80 grams, have 523 calories high in fat and protein.
I am going to gather more this year and buy a nut crackers for faster processing.
 
Mike Haasl
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I wish I had walnuts here...  May, you can just drive on the nuts to crack them if the chickens are ok with picking the shell bits out of the meat bits.
 
Megan Abdsllah
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Fantastic May! We have black walnuts on our property.
 
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Megan Abdsllah wrote:First part with limited knowledge: I have chickens hatching this week. I used the EZ Egg Incubator ... I don’t recommend it ... the temperature is not consistent throughout the whole container.
I’ve also found that they seem to struggle outside of the incubator,  if left in the incubator after 6 hours. They do need to be babied if taken too soon after 4 hours.
Research wry neck before egg hatching. It’ll freak you out if you aren’t prepared and have never seen it.
Second part: Can anyone recommend a balanced homemade chicken feed for adult egg layers?
Have a great day guys!



As far as anything I've read (and done once), chicks are supposed to stay in the incubator for 36 hours or so.  They definitely shouldn't come out while they are wet.
 
Megan Abdsllah
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Yes, I’ve read that. Did you have good luck with your chicks leaving them in for 36 hours? What brand of incubator did you use?
We read if chicks are left in for too long (8hours or more) they might develop lung problems straight away or later in life.
We had awesome success with our first two chicks in which we took out at around 8 hours.
All of our chicks were fluffy and not wet. The ones that had troubles have a different mother from their strikingly diff. markings.
 
Trace Oswald
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Megan Abdsllah wrote:Yes, I’ve read that. Did you have good luck with your chicks leaving them in for 36 hours? What brand of incubator did you use?
We read if chicks are left in for too long (8hours or more) they might develop lung problems straight away or later in life.
We had awesome success with our first two chicks in which we took out at around 8 hours.
All of our chicks were fluffy and not wet. The ones that had troubles have a different mother from their strikingly diff. markings.



I didn't have any problems with the chicks.  I can't remember what brand my incubator is, I haven't used it for 4 or 5 years.  I can check when I get home.
 
May Lotito
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Megan Abdsllah wrote:Fantastic May! We have black walnuts on our property.


That's great!  I tried different ways of hulling and found out it was much easier when the hulls turned black and started falling off. Driving over, hammering, or just stomping would work. Some many be wormy, just extra protein for the chooks. I then washed them in a bucket and got rid of any one floating, about 5%. I stored them dried and only cracked as I needed daily with a hammer. Chicken don't mind if the nuts are smashed or mixed with shell bits. Nut.com has a special black walnut cracker, if it can get the pieces out in whole quickly then it's worth the $$. I like some nuts for myself too so this year I am going to get a lot more.
 
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I buy a 20% chick mash from the local feed millby the ton. Last pickup was 2020lbs for $444.41. I dont have a hopper or feed buggy at home so I have to scoop it from the 1 ton bulk sack into 55g blue plastic barrels with the clamp ring. I feed it to all ages of bird, after fermenting and free choice feed grit with oyster shell. Every morning i pour the ferment liquid onto the next bucket of fresh dry feed and top off with rain water. They get scraps mixed in the ferment slop and then I pour into 3 bowls located around their paddock. I normally rotate every week, but during the rainy season they stay in one place much longer until everywhere else is seeded with forage and cover crops. Usually the weeds from the seed bank get established first and chickens eat those as they come up in their current pen, but will somewhat protect the non-native custom seed mix as it comes up. It has brassicas, cow peas, various clover, radishes, parsnips, beets, and a drylands pasture mix. Chickens go for the short grasses first and work their way up.
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