Why do we need another chicken blog or forum?

Many chicken forums are moderated to sell commercial feed, chemicals and ideology.
I prefer to find my own balance between nature, welfare and cost in raising happy chickens.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Growing birds on home diet

The above birds are 9 and 10 weeks old. All seem to be at an appropriate size and weight for age, with the exception of the leghorn x meat hybrids, which are obviously much larger. The black mottled birds are a lot calmer than purebred anconas, and I'm happy with their overall style, vigour and health. They're currently in with two commercial feed store pullets, both of which have just started to lay. Because I joined the groups only after a couple weeks' getting to know each other through an adjoining fence -- also because all birds are fairly young, and the introduced chicks are in a larger flock than the 2 individual older birds -- there have been absolutely no incidences of aggression, or even much if any pecking-order hassles. This surprised me as one of the older pullets is an ISA brown, notorious for brutality.

Diet I'm using for these birds now consists of sprouted wheat, bran, pollard, soy meal, sprouted corn, sprouted peas, lucerne (alfalfa) chaff, sunflower seeds, skim milk kefir, seaweed meal and salt. Earlier they had ground and then cracked wheat, corn and peas, but I've slowly introduced sprouted grains instead, so I'm no longer adding much in the way of bran or pollard. Whole sprouted wheat is a far better feed than any processed wheat product. However I'll be watching their weight to make sure withdrawing bran and pollard doesn't cause a setback (which it may do if the birds' gizzards are not able to handle larger seeds, even when they've been soaked or sprouted). An ongoing project...

The big fellow standing on the stump is a couple of days shy of 10 weeks, and is massive without being overly heavy for his age. He's able to get up and down via the ladder-ramp (bottom right corner), which leads up into the night shed, and has no problem alighting from the perch. Of course he may get too heavy for that, so I'll keep a close eye on his weight and decide if and when I need to find some other night shed for him.

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