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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chicken diet, the batz way!

Before I go any farther, this is NOT about people eating the chickens....just so we are clear on that matter. Most chicken people I have talked to feed their their animals a mixture of chick feed, cracked corn & veg/fruit scraps. Do I do that? Oh like you have to ask that question if you have read the other articles by me. I am in a wonderful Co-Op where I can get bulk grains ect for a great price for my family. After much reading & research i decided to suppliment my chickens normal feed with various items which could benefit them, plus make them oh so happy. It started with store bought rolled oats that I heated up & added either milk or yogurt to, can you see where this is leading? Well they loved that so much, I started making the yogurt for them with raw milk I got from a dairy, then thought why not put some kefir in there. Well I can tell you they loved the new morning breakfast on the bitter cold days. They would run & meet me when I came in to get their pans & wait there til I returned with the warm feed for them. I loved the fact they all look up at me with a chicken look of "What ya got?' While baking I came across some wheat germ I had & thought that would make an excellent bonus in their morning feed so I mixed some of that in one morning. They liked it! My neighbor who introduced me to the Co-Op would buy 50lb bags of stone cut oats & I thought that was a great idea not for me but the chickens. Well by the time I put the order in,I had 50 lbs of stone rolled oats, 40 lbs of rolled oats, 25 lbs of wheat germ & 40 lbs of crushed 7 grain mix all for the chickens. Ok, I went overboard just a tad but hey, they really enjoy it & they seem so much happier now & not so many fights. I have also noticed the ones who are laying have eggs with beautiful sunflower yellow yolks that taste wonderful. It has also seemed Cashmire, my protector rooster has mellowed just a bit. Not for long but once he has eaten he seems to be quieter, maybe because he ate so much he needs a nap! I also went to the store & bought liquid baby vits to add to this feed, for 6-8 cups of cooked grains I add about 2 syring full of the vits & mix it in well. I have found they don't like the taste or smell of it, so if its mixed in really good they never notice. Though if they don't like it, my cat Frankie will chow down on it. So at least it does not go to waste. Because i deal with a few crippled or sick chickens I keep a supply of baby food meat & vegetables on hand that I can syring into any that are having a hard time eating. Most of you will never go to this extreme for your chickens & that is alright, as long as they get a good chicken feed they will be fine. I on the other hand, have a tendency to spoil all my animals, just not my husband, he knows where the frig is. The chickens also get cracked corn now that it is cold when I remember to give it to them, but I try to feed them at least a warm morning meal during the cold months, once it gets warmer I will use the wheat germ & rolled oats in with their normal feed & throw out the other stuff as a scratch into their run. Because I only have 12 chickens the extra items I buy last a long time so its not like I am raising a huge food bill for them. Plus when they are happy, I am happy which makes for a nice calm household. I also like to give them canned Veg-all when I have it, the reason for this is I have no vegetable food scraps since I don't peel my vegs before I eat them, its the same with the fruits I eat. So I do buy extra apples that I can share with them. My Chatty loves apples & expects some if I am eating one, he also fights me over cheese. Its like a tug of war to get him away from the cheese if its anywhere near him. Buff Orpingtons have a tendency to gain too much weight which can break their legs so I try to watch what I feed him as a precaution of this. Plus now he has to share with Scarlette, who rips items right out of his mouth, so he has to work hard to get any food around her. Man, those hens can be monsters when it comes to food time. No wonder the roosters are so bossy & angry all the time. Now, like I said before I did research all that I was doing for my chickens & know that the extra foods I give them should not be more than a certain amount per day, I also have the baby vits & regular chicken vits that I use on a regular bases to insure they are getting the proper minerals & so on. They are definitely eating healthier than my husband who thinks chips & salsa are grains & vegetables & should count as his daily health food. Just so you know, I have been known to make homemade soup just for my dog in the colder months & feed the cats salmon. Its not like we are rich or have alot of money, but I am very good at saving, shopping smart & doing without things i really don't need. I prefer to use the money on the animals who bring me joy & with the chickens great tasting eggs. Now if you do decide to feed your chickens anything besides chick feed & cracked corn, please do your research so you are not harming them. There is a percentage of what is healthy for them daily of these items. They really need the chick feed because it carries all the ingredients they require to stay healthy. I am not talking about food scraps but items like what I feed mine. Also beware certain foods like raw potato peels can actually kill your chickens, once cooked they are safe for them. Something to do with the potatoes belonging to the bellidonna family, same goes with the stocks of tomato plants, never feed them or let a chicken eat those, they are pure poison to them & any other animal. Well I hope you enjoyed this as much as I have writing about it. Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!

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