Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: chicken feed

Observations on types of chicken feed and egg production

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Over the past couple of months my chickens were fed different types of feed along with their laying mash.  During this observation the hens were between 7  – 8 months old.

Chickens eating table scrapsBreeds include Barred rock, Rhode island red, Jersey giant, Silver laced wyandotte, Australorp and Speckled sussex.

Time of year during this observation was August – early October.  Daytime temps ranged between the mid 80s – mid to upper 90s.

Oats, hen scratch and laying crumbles

For close to a month the chickens were given a 4 – 5 ounce scoop of feed oats, 4 – 5 ounces of hen scratch, a 3 – 4 ounce scoop of crushed oyster shell for calcium. Free access to Arrow Feeds poultry laying crumbles was provided at all times.

The Hens were let out of the coop early in the morning right around sunrise. The mixture of feed oats, hen scratch and ground oyster shell were spread over the ground for the chickens to pick up.

Egg production slowly dropped until the hens were laying around 5 – 6 eggs a day.

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Uses for a simple bucket

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Have you given thought to how important a simple bucket can be?  This is not the 5 gallon buckets, but something like a 1 gallon bucket.  Small buckets are easy for young children to handle, so this enables them to help with basic chores, such as feeding the chickens and picking peas.

Chicken Feed

What kind of bucket do I use to bring feed to the chickens?  Its a plastic pop-corn bucket my wife and I bought from the local movie theater.

What do I use to fill the bucket?  A large plastic cup my wife and I got from a casino.

For stuff like hen scratch I use a plastic tub that was filled with peppermints.

Most of the popcorn buckets have some kind of image on it, the image is usually from a movie.  The children see the image, see the handle, so its just natural for them to take the bucket and help with feeding the chicken.

Picking Peas and Beans

A 1 gallon bucket is going to fill up pretty fast with beans and peas.  To address this issue, we set a 5 gallon bucket at the end of each row and the adults carry a 5 gallon bucket.

The children go through the rows picking peas, when their little bucket is full its dumped into one of the 5 gallon buckets.

Berries

Here in southeast Texas, when the first part of May arrives, the dew berries are ready to be picked.

Through the entire month of May either Dew Berries or Black Berries are maturing in southeast Texas.  these 1/2 and 1 gallon buckets are just the right size for picking berries.

When the people on the SurvivalistBoards facebook page were asked how they would use a 1- 2 gallon bucket, here are some of the replies:

Carrying water
Washing clothes
Personal hygiene
Cleaning out the chicken coop
Collecting eggs
Table scraps

Do you save buckets or other small containers? If so, what do you do with them?

Feeding Poultry

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Experiments have demonstrated that what may be called the gastric juice in fowls has not sufficient power to dissolve their food, without the aid of the grinding action of the gizzard. Before the food is prepared for digestion, therefore, the grains must be subjected to a triturating process; and such as are not sufficiently bruised in this manner, before passing into the gizzard, are there reduced to the proper state, by its natural action.

Chickens eating table scrapsThe action of the gizzard is, in this respect, mechanical; this organ serving as a mill to grind the food to pieces, and then, by means of its powerful muscles, pressing it gradually into the intestines, in the form of pulp. The power of this organ is said to be sufficient to pulverize hollow globules of glass in a very short time, and solid masses of the same substance in a few weeks.

The rapidity of this process seems to be proportionate, generally, to the size of the bird. A chicken, for example, breaks up such substances as are received into its stomach less readily than the capon; while a goose performs the same operation sooner than either. Needles, and even lancets, given to turkeys, have been broken in pieces and voided, without any apparent injury to the stomach. The reason, undoubtedly, is, that the larger species of birds have thicker and more powerful organs of digestion.

It has long been the general opinion that, from some deficiency in the digestive apparatus, fowls are obliged to resort to the use of stones and gravel, in order to enable them to dispose of the food which they consume. Some have supposed that the use of these stones is to sheath the gizzard, in order to fit it to break into smaller fragments the hard, angular substances which might be swallowed; they have also been considered to have a medicinal effect; others have imagined that they acted as absorbents for undue quantities of acids in the stomach, or as stimulants to digestion; while it has even been gravely asserted that they contribute directly to nutrition.

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