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Chicken fodder/forage success stories?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 204
Location: Virginia
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We have experimented with raising chickens both by them being used to handling and letting them remain flighty.

It is way easier to be able to catch the gentled birds, but we found that they ended up with a higher mortality rate.  Seems like their lack of fear with us made them less fearful in general which got some picked off.  They also tend to run under my feet when carrying food into the pen since they are anxious to get first dibs. One of these days, I am afraid I'm going to squish one.

Since I dont have to catch them often, I've ruled in favor of letting them stay a bit nervous.  Those have had longer lives and have been better foragers. The tame ones want to hang out near the house and workshop where we are instead of finding food. Also they have gotten in the way more than once while my husband was moving motors.  So chasing them it is.

Although it is fun having the social birds, I want them to live long and be able to take care of themselves.
 
Posts: 55
Location: Western Oregon
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Thanks for all the helpful replies, everyone.  I had some great success, and some fails with growing my own chicken feed this year.  When I have a chance, I will put some notes and photos together for a pretty comprehensive report.  
 
Posts: 6
Location: Maine, USA (coastal, Zone 5-6)
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In coastal Maine many people give lobster carcasses/carapaces (leftover shells) to their chickens to pick at.  Gives the yolks an almost red color...  Could probably work with crayfish/shrimp/crabs in other areas.
 
Posts: 113
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Rob Stenger wrote:In coastal Maine many people give lobster carcasses/carapaces (leftover shells) to their chickens to pick at.  Gives the yolks an almost red color...  Could probably work with crayfish/shrimp/crabs in other areas.



I'm not sure it will change the color of the yolks but I give them the shells of their own eggs and any shrimp shells from the shrimp we eat. I have not really noticed much difference, but if I believe Garden Betty:"The carotenoids that cause deeper yolk coloring are xanthophylls, which are more readily absorbed in the yolks. (Lutein is one such xanthophyll, and a lot of lutein means a lot more orange.) Xanthophylls are found in dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collards, as well as in zucchini, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.
https://www.gardenbetty.com/how-to-get-those-delightful-dark-orange-yolks-from-your-backyard-chickens/
 
Posts: 362
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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Sorry about the delay in reply. My compost pile was about 6 yards in size, flipped daily. I don't know how it handles over winter as I had to move last month and the new pile isn't hot. sucks buying feed.
 
Posts: 62
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
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Shawn Harper wrote:Sorry about the delay in reply. My compost pile was about 6 yards in size, flipped daily. I don't know how it handles over winter as I had to move last month and the new pile isn't hot. sucks buying feed.



Would that be 6 yards long?  How wide?  How deep?   I'm guessing it's not 6 yards square.  
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
Posts: 113
Location: Wisconsin Rapids, WI
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Tina Hillel wrote:.

It is way easier to be able to catch the gentled birds, but we found that they ended up with a higher mortality rate.  
Although it is fun having the social birds, I want them to live long and be able to take care of themselves.




These are excellent arguments to keep them "on the wild side". One of my posts on this thread was on the *advantages* of having gentler birds and it needed a balancing counter. This is it. I did notice that my girls tend to stay very close as soon as I'm entering their yard to feed them, and they have risked life and limb to be the first at pecking goodies. When you mention higher mortality rate, I'm wondering what is causing that? Do you feel that they are too friendly and thus get into accidents or do they succumb to *diseases* that perhaps we are bringing them by handling them too often. Loose chickens, friendly or not can easily be run over by cars too: They are not really swift or astute.
You seem to be leaning toward accidents as the main source, feeling that to be closer, they put themselves at risk. Yet my husband, who thinks that these birds are a pooping nuisance until he can get at their eggs is not regarded by them as a friend. They flutter and keep their distance [but it is true that he has never given them food]. Visitors are treated with a fair skepticism as to their friendliness as well. In other words, do you feel that the friendliness to *you* transfers over to cats, dogs ...foxes?
I have heard of poultry diseases transferring to humans and I'm aware that handling of young chicks may be nefarious *to the chicks*, so I'm the only one touching them here. I'm normally happy go lucky about germs but there is something between chickens and humans and we can get sick from them and vice versa.
I have 25 girls and a rooster, so it is hard to establish statistics on such a small number. I had 2 roosters and I lost one this year: The poor thing must have swallowed something that was very picky or sharp and died withing an hour of ingestion. [That is something I was worried about allowing them to run unfettered. Well, it turns out that even in a big yard, they can still find something deadly.]
So what did yours die of?
 
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