Author Topic: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens  (Read 10644 times)

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Offline Wolf

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Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« on: May 26, 2012, 06:38:25 am »
My 2 Aunts and my Uncle all have gotten their own chickens they raise for eggs, and the other day I just got some eggs from some of them.  I had stopped eating eggs because they were not tasting good and making me gag and giving me a very slight stomach ache, but these eggs I got from my family have really rich, deep yellow yolks and don't taste bad or make me gag or give me a stomach ache so far.  I only ate one yesterday morning so far, but I'm going to eat one egg a day and see if I have any improvements or anything bad.  If it's all good, I'm thinking of trying to convince my Dad to let me and my Mom raise our own chickens in the backyard.

The only thing I'm worried about is feeding them a proper diet.  I think my aunts and uncle feed their chickens some sort of grain, maybe corn, (though only on the side, otherwise they mostly feed their chickens bugs) but with the way corn is nowadays, I don't really want to feed my chickens any corn or bad grain.

So if any of you have any good ideas of what I could feed my chickens that would make them the healthiest chickens and the healthiest eggs I could get, then please share.  I don't have any grass in the backyard, so they're going to be on dirt, but I will make sure to feed them as many bugs as possible.  My mom was saying something about feeding them on lay-mesh or something like that for the first six months, or some special feed for the first six months, because there's something specific they need, but I don't want to get any sort of store-bought chicken feed.  I want to make it myself so I can make -sure- there is nothing bad in their feed, no soy no pesticides or chemicals or whatever else might get into commercially processed chicken feed even if it's organic.  (such as chemicals used to clean the processing equipment)

So what exactly is the ideal diet for an egg-laying chicken raised from a hatchling?
Hi, I'm 32, around 5'4" and ~124lb, no real significant health problems other than hyperventilating when running/exercising (that my doc said was because of the smog/asthma), fatigue, and really bad acne.
I'd preferably be a carnivore/very low carb, but I have had a very hard time finding grass-fed or even organic fats, organs, and marrow. I consume raw dairy, but I do not eat much vegetables.. however, I do love fruit.
I live with my dad, so I also have to sneak any raw meat eating.

Offline Alive

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 06:59:12 am »
Chicken starter food contains a chemical anticoccidial to prevent coccidiosis, which is a common parasitic disease of broiler chickens. This chemical is highly toxic to mammals - we had some baby guinea fowl inside our house and one of my wife's llama's stuck its head in the door and ate some starter crumble and almost died - it smelled like death for months - so make sure only the chickens can get at this stuff.

As well as bugs they will love eating greens & grass clippings and your kitchen scraps. We also give ours a daily feed of low cost seeds and pellets - wheat, layers pellets, lentils, corn etc. Even though they are just old battery hens that arrived no feathers they lay a lot of eggs.
 

Offline jessica

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 07:09:03 am »
one of the easiest things to do is to get the scraps from an organic grocery stores produce section and throw that at the chickens, you can also buy organic non soy non gmo scratch, its pricey but it works, feed the back their egg shells ground up and all of your food scraps (sans citrus and avocado peels and tropical fruits), if you have space you can grow buckwheat and oats and feed that to the when it is still in its milky seed stage

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 07:50:47 am »
Oh Dear - did you really just ask that question?

I've spent the last five years figuring this out. You are in for a mouthful. But not right now........ it's dinner time and I must think about feeding us here first.

Just gotta say that there truly is nothing more wonderful than backyard chickens!

You will get my essay later.  ;)

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 09:02:43 am »
Dinner done - but where to start!

I'm just going to ramble away and hope it comes out making sense.

First - no need to buy any chicken food. Makes no sense. It's a few kinds of ground up seeds and seeds degrade quickly when ground up, soy or maybe fish if you buy the good stuff but the fish is ultra heated and processed and the protein amount is never enough and it's a good brand some alfalfa and chemical vitamins. Why bother?

Are you getting chicks, pullets or chickens? How you feed each is going to be a bit different. You can't give your chicks and pullets too much calcium but the hens that are laying all the time need lots. The way to get around this is to put a dish of oyster shells in a dish for the chickens to eat when they feel they need it. Also take the eggshells, wash them, let them sit on the counter to dry and then break them up into tiny pieces to put out if they want to eat them. They won't recognize them as the same thing as their eggs.

Here's what chickens need and like. First - they are real carnivores. Unbelievably so. If you don't feed them enough bugs and meat including organs they will stop laying at a year or two. You can do this of course, it's what most everyone does - they just kill the bird when it can't possibly pop out the perfect protein any more because of malnutrition - but that's not the kind of eggs I want to eat or chickens I want to have. I got serious egg laying breeds that I am going to keep until they die and they have more than enough ovum in there to pop out an egg every day for at least 20 years - so if I feed them right they just keep on laying at the same rate they did when they were a year old. A chicken in the wild would need an acre per chicken to get enough little animals and bugs to survive. In the wild a chicken that isn't even designed to pop out eggs all the time would eat at least 80% bugs and little animals.

Here's what I do, first I let the chickens out to forage in the morning without feeding to get what they can find. If you do not have grass you are going to have to plant some greens for them or supply it in their diet. They must have greenery. Then I give them the sprouts I make for them (sprouts are high in protein and minerals and organic seeds from the store I buy my food from is what I get my chickens - not old nasty ground up shit sitting on the shelf in the heat who knows how long and then I sprout it for them). Then I give them slankers pet food or our leftover meats and I raise them bugs and plan to also raise them fish. They love the meat first (they go nuts), then the bugs, then sprouts and only then will settle for seeds and fruits and veggies they don't go near unless they run out of water or are starving. I give the adult hens a mixture of my homemade whey will all sorts of dehydrated greens and fruits and veggies that they won't eat otherwise just not to waste the stuff and I think it's good for them. Their yolks are more firm when they get that and the old hens need this to keep on laying into real old age it seems - or at least it sure helps a bunch.

Raising bugs for the chickens is actually kind of fun and they sure do love it. The slankers is expensive but they get the leftovers from the dogs - but other well-raised animals and organ meats will do. If you can raise enough bugs and feed them well that's really all you need - I just can't keep up the need. There's also nothing quite like the absolute mania that happens when feeding chickens meat. Old farmers would put a whole animal out for the chickens to eat and let them peck the spines off the animals clean and eat the maggots.

I still don't have my black soldier fly composter going yet - that's the best - feeding the chickens maggots. They just love those I hear and they are free.

Chickens are said to eat anything - but that's if they are way too hungry. My chickens are really picky and have told me which things they like, what they need and what they don't like. For instance - they really don't like flax seeds. Go figure!

I don't feed them any corn - why? They get about a dozen other grains though - all sprouted. But what they really want all the time in mass quantities are bugs and meat. I honestly can't even keep up with the demand. I'm trying real hard though. They ate about half a pound of primal blend meat tonight, a paper cup worth of mealworms, some slankers pet food and a marrow bone - demolished it. That was wild to watch. But you won't be getting 11 hens right? How many do you want?

Breed is important and picking that depends on where you live and if you want to eat the chicken itself later. Most say though if you want to eat the chicken and have eggs to raise separate birds for each purpose is better. I just want the eggs so I picked the two best layer breeds ever developed... but my last 3 leghorns I got from the wrong supplier and I'm not happy with their output. My 6 ISA Browns are not yet laying - can't wait for that.

If you want to eat really great eggs on your raw paleo diet - best to feed your hens the best raw paleo chicken diet imho.

OK - I could go on for another hour or two but I have to stop now for a bit. Was that helpful? Did I answer your basic questions?


Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 09:12:39 am »
One more thing - sprouting really saves on your food cost because you are growing them food - the same seeds are become many times their size and have many times more protein and you are then not feeding your hens enzyme inhibitors either.

I want to add that I am totally crazy about this ok? Most people just feed their chickens leftovers and what not and that's it. Like any animal they will eat what they are given even if it is vegetables and flax seeds if they don't have anything better and the eggs you will get will still be a thousand times better than anything you can buy in the store.


Offline Wolf

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2012, 11:02:10 am »
Thank you so much!  I'll probably send all of this info to my Mom too, because I know she really wants chickens too and will help me take care of them, and used to have chickens herself too, and all that stuff, and I want her to know what a perfect diet for chickens really is, because I'm sure she thinks they should be fed cornmeal and ground up grains and a bunch of other chemical filled stuff, though she does know bugs are good for them.

I have no idea how old the chickens will be when we get them, but I'll just assume that we're getting them as either eggs or hatchlings or at least very young, before they start laying at least, so it would be awesome if you could give info on raising them from the very beginning.. I know my mom kept telling me there is a special feed they have to be fed in the first six months, which I'm assuming is that deadly chemical filled stuff that miker was talking about.. which I would rather avoid having to start off my chickens on and it'd be nice to have a healthier alternative to feed them that I could give to my mom so that she doesn't make us feed them the worse stuff.. unless it's absolutely necessary.

But yeah.. I want to feed my chickens the best possible diet that I can afford, I may not be able to afford to feed them as good as you feed your chickens, especially because grass-fed meats and organs are difficult if not impossible to find and very expensive when you do find them.. though I might be able to order from slankers then if I say it's for chicken food, though it's pretty hot here and if the food ends up sitting on the front step for too long, it might not be raw anymore when someone finally gets home from work and brings it inside.
Hi, I'm 32, around 5'4" and ~124lb, no real significant health problems other than hyperventilating when running/exercising (that my doc said was because of the smog/asthma), fatigue, and really bad acne.
I'd preferably be a carnivore/very low carb, but I have had a very hard time finding grass-fed or even organic fats, organs, and marrow. I consume raw dairy, but I do not eat much vegetables.. however, I do love fruit.
I live with my dad, so I also have to sneak any raw meat eating.

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2012, 11:39:55 am »
I'll teach you how to raise bugs for them. That's what they really want! No need for slankers. I have that for the dogs really and the chickens just got lucky. If you are planning on getting chickens even in the next 2 years you should start to raise the bugs now because chickens can eat tons of bugs and it takes time to really get the numbers going. That's the only reason my chickens get any slankers.

One of my goals was to make it so that my chickens eat a fantastic diet for close to no cost. You could also start growing things in your yard now that they will like to eat when they do arrive.

I've never raised chicks. I got my youngest at 10 weeks. Babies are too easy to get too deeply attached to, they can get dead too easily (especially with our feral cats) and it's a whole other thing to learn about... but it can be amazingly rewarding and fun say my chicken meetup friends. ;)  It's not hard - just a little different.

How many chickens are you looking to get Wolf?




Offline Wolf

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2012, 03:13:30 am »
My mom and me had raised mealworms before my mom lost her house, we had them for a good many years, too, and they just thrived.  My mom also says you can lay things out on the ground that will collect bugs under them, then just lift it up and let the chickens go for it.

What kind of bugs do you raise for chickens?
Hi, I'm 32, around 5'4" and ~124lb, no real significant health problems other than hyperventilating when running/exercising (that my doc said was because of the smog/asthma), fatigue, and really bad acne.
I'd preferably be a carnivore/very low carb, but I have had a very hard time finding grass-fed or even organic fats, organs, and marrow. I consume raw dairy, but I do not eat much vegetables.. however, I do love fruit.
I live with my dad, so I also have to sneak any raw meat eating.

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2012, 10:12:46 am »
Mealworms really are the easiest - but I also raise crickets and I'm working on black soldier flies.

Collecting bugs in an area is something that I would like to explore more, but one of the things about raising bugs yourself is that you know exactly what you are feeding the bugs and that they aren't out eating on someone's poisoned lawn or something. The bsf maggots are something you can raise outside but still feed yourself - which is great.

Offline Wolf

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 02:07:32 pm »
Not sure if my dad would allow us to raise a whole bunch of bugs too though, even if we were raising them outside.. but what about the first six months or whatever?   I know my mom will want to feed them that special chemical-filled stuff at the beginning, is there any way to avoid it?
Hi, I'm 32, around 5'4" and ~124lb, no real significant health problems other than hyperventilating when running/exercising (that my doc said was because of the smog/asthma), fatigue, and really bad acne.
I'd preferably be a carnivore/very low carb, but I have had a very hard time finding grass-fed or even organic fats, organs, and marrow. I consume raw dairy, but I do not eat much vegetables.. however, I do love fruit.
I live with my dad, so I also have to sneak any raw meat eating.

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2012, 01:21:49 am »
I don't see why you couldn't feed them just small sprouted seeds and small bugs.

What's with your Dad? He won't let you keep a couple of storage containers in your room or a closet? Raising mealworms makes no sound, no mess and takes very little space and they don't escape. Will he not let you compost your leftovers in the back yard? That's how you raise black soldier flies. They eat your garbage and make you bugs for the chickens. Will he let you plant seeds in the yard so the chickens will have something to chew on?

Your living situation sounds real tough. :(

Offline Alive

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2012, 05:27:50 am »
Your chickens are very lucky Dorothy the dinosaur eater!
Do you milk your own cows?
Do you have a photo of you with your animals?
 O0

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2012, 02:04:25 am »
Your chickens are very lucky Dorothy the dinosaur eater!
Do you milk your own cows?
Do you have a photo of you with your animals?
 O0


I keep thinking that if there was a cow as small as a beagle I would have one in my little backyard and take it for walks for it to graze! ;)
Hubbie has taken pictures of the chickens (not with me in the picture) - I'll have to see if I can figure out how to post some of them here. I'm trying to see if I can make a small yard provide most of our needs with sustainability. It's a long-term hobby project. It's actually probably lucky that we've given up dairy lately. I really do love little goats and eventually I might get too tempted to keep something that needs more room too confined - like - in the house! ;)   

Offline Alive

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2012, 03:28:39 am »
One way to post photos is to download picasa, ask it to share the photos on google+, then copy & paste the image URL. 

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2012, 08:28:40 am »
One way to post photos is to download picasa, ask it to share the photos on google+, then copy & paste the image URL. 

Ha ha ha - if I understood what you just wrote I would have no problem at all! ;)

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2012, 11:29:08 am »
Ok - here's one way for me to post some pictures: wait until my husband posts some someplace else and then put the link here.

He created a watering system for our chickens and posted about it with some pictures at backyardchickens.com - which is a great forum btw Wolf to learn all about having chickens in your yard.

So here we have some of our chickens drinking and farting around next to hubbie's contraption:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/672358/my-chicken-watering-solution

Btw - his avatar is my doggie. MINE!  ;)

Offline Alive

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2012, 12:42:55 pm »
Nice dog, hens, and watering contraption - was that a level hiding in the handle?

Offline raw-al

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2012, 02:31:10 am »
Dorothy your watering picture reminds me of the setup I had. We had 2 chickens in a coop in my garage. I was a vege at the time so the chickens were pets, but the family ate the eggs. (many years ago) I had a hose attached to the garden hose outlet that I put a restrictor in the line so it gave a very slow drip to a watering line.

My daughters used to walk the chickens. That was a laugh. Imagine a little girl with a leash on the chicken walking down the road. LOL

A friend of mine has about ten in a large metropolitan area in his garage and back yard. Nice neighbourhood.

Here is Joe Salatin Polyface farms with his setup.
Moving a pastured poultry broiler pen

He subdivided his property then he runs his cows through one section one day then moves them to another section another day and so forth then a certain amount of days later he runs the chickens through when the bugs have descended upon the cow manure. The chickens eat the bugs and deposit their own manure.

Michael Pollin describes it in one of his books http://michaelpollan.com/books/in-defense-of-food/ not sure which one. Amazing farmer.

I realize this is not the scale you are operating on. :)
Cheers
Al

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2012, 06:17:10 am »
Nice dog, hens, and watering contraption - was that a level hiding in the handle?

Thanks! Yeah - I asked Brian to take a close-up of the level he made to post. He was so proud of it. He took my everclear that I use for essential oils and put some food coloring in it and had so much fun making a handle with a level in it. I hinted that it wasn't really a necessary factor - but shhhh - don't tell him - cuz he had so much fun making that part. It thinks it's what made it into "art". ;)

Offline Dorothy

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2012, 06:25:40 am »
Al - Every single day I tell my chickens how lucky they are - but do they listen? They get to run free all day with their feet on ground covered in large variety of plants to nibble on and open to the sky with raw meat, bugs I grow and sprouts I make for them. They get to run, run, run! But do they appreciate me? Naaah - they think I'm their slave.... well... ok ... so I am? So what?

Brian took some pictures of them dive-bombing Slankers. I'm going to ask him to post it here. There is nothing like seeing a group of really free chickens flying/running at you at full speed across a distance.

As wonderful as the chickens in that video have it compared to most chickens I couldn't help being sad for them. So little room, so little freedom.

Your daughter's chickens on a leash probably had it real good, getting pets and loving and out walking distances. Those poor chickens in the video can barely get away from other chickens they don't like. And where is their roost off the ground where they can feel safe at night?

I'm such a doting mother chicken hen aren't I?

Offline Wolf

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Re: Raising your own Egg-laying Chickens
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2023, 05:43:25 am »
I can't believe it, I FINALLY got my chickens and decided to come here to look for advice on what to feed them and ended up on my OWN POST that I completely and utterly forgot about!  Even reading it I don't remember any of this!
Hi, I'm 32, around 5'4" and ~124lb, no real significant health problems other than hyperventilating when running/exercising (that my doc said was because of the smog/asthma), fatigue, and really bad acne.
I'd preferably be a carnivore/very low carb, but I have had a very hard time finding grass-fed or even organic fats, organs, and marrow. I consume raw dairy, but I do not eat much vegetables.. however, I do love fruit.
I live with my dad, so I also have to sneak any raw meat eating.

 

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