Winter Feeding of Chooks

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14 years 1 month ago #22564 by Webby
Just wondering what people feed their chooks in winter when they aren't laying.

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14 years 1 month ago #324326 by leesha
Replied by leesha on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
Id also like to know. We have maize coming out our ears at the moment and wondered if maize alone would be ok for them over winter? I went though the 10 acres of harvested crops over the weekend and got bags and bags of cobs, the harvester missed. The question is now what do I do with it all :)

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14 years 1 month ago #324327 by Sue
Replied by Sue on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
If your chickens are on free range with access to plenty of other foods and vegetation then maize could make up a significant portion of their diet for non laying birds.
You will probably have to supplement them with protein as the natural bug population will be very low in winter due to the cold.

Maize is very low in protein, probably one of the lowest protein grains and chickens do base their daily requirements and appetite on how much protein they can eat.
It is high in k/cals-energy and low in fibre. It is extremely low in calcium and phosphorus, so you should keep up the supply of shell grit and also make sure they have plenty of hard grit (road metal) to gring up the kernels.

I would suggest that if they are on good free range and mostly maize then you would need to supplement them daily with some protein like milk, something meaty in the way of kitchen scraps or the highest protein level Layer feed you can get-eg at least 18% If you were going to make up a winter mash with scraps and cooked peelings etc, add a handful of meat meal or blood meal!

Maize can be quite high in moisture if you leave it on the cobs and don't dry the kernels properly. This is very conducive in growing moulds which in turn produce mycotoxins that can cause enteritis.

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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14 years 1 month ago #324329 by Jeffie
Replied by Jeffie on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks

Sue;310319 wrote:
If you were going to make up a winter mash with scraps and cooked peelings etc, add a handful of meat meal or blood meal!


where can I get meat meal or blood meal? I assume farmlands?

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14 years 1 month ago #324331 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
a couple of kg of feral goat simminering on the wood fire for 2 days does them well as far as protien is concerned... literally falling off the bones, and the chooks strip the bones pretty quickly.

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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14 years 1 month ago #324337 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
Eels also make good protein for chooks. You would need to cook them outside though, they don't smell very nice when cooking.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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14 years 1 month ago #324342 by Jeffie
Replied by Jeffie on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
I've always found some laying and some not over winter so I gather best is to keep feeding laying mash and pellets etc as usual, you can't really seperate the layers from non-layers. Maybe add a bit more Maize to their diet to keep warm.

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14 years 1 month ago #324344 by Jeffie
Replied by Jeffie on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
I save a bit on cost by saving and freezing all fish heads, bodies etc everytime we go fishing and cook them up to add to mash. Also, collecting hearts/kidneys etc from the local slaughter house, chop them up and put them through a fat plate at the butcher shop -end result is a mince like meat. But yeah, def have to cook outside! Nothing goes to waste around here. :D

Would you be able to skin and cook a possum I wonder? LOL

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14 years 1 month ago #324347 by reggit
Replied by reggit on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
We feed ours the same as they'd usually get over summer, as a couple keep laying and hard to tell which ones...last winter our shavers, bless them, laid right through winter.

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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14 years 1 month ago #324458 by Josie
Replied by Josie on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
I'm working my way through my freezer, cooking and mincing up and feeding the chooks and ducks the bits of offal (cow tongue... ewwwww!) and other cuts that come with the homekill that we would never think of eating. Seems a pity to waste it, and they love it! That's in addition to giving them access to their normal pellets though.

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14 years 1 month ago #324460 by SarahM
Replied by SarahM on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
That's a great idea. Next time I get homekill sheep/beef done I could ask for the edible offal and get it minced for chicken scrap feed. I presume kidneys, liver, heart, lungs??, tongue are all OK to feed? Hopefully there's no risk of passing on any diseases?

I'm guessing it has to be cooked before giving to the chooks? (I need an outdoor cooking area - I've heard kelp is good to cook up for chooks, but be blow'd if I'm gonna cook it inside! Same goes for offal.)

5 acres, husband, daughter, son, me, about 12 sheep and their lambs, currently no ram (yay!), 2 Galloways, about 35 chooks, 3 cats and 2 budgies.

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14 years 1 month ago #324462 by Simkin
Replied by Simkin on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
The better you feed them over winter the earlier they finish their moult and start to lay again.

Having said that - mine get mainly wheat, some pellets and no 'extras' like seaweed meal and dolomite.

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14 years 1 month ago #324466 by Inger
Replied by Inger on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
Isn't it easier to just carry on feeding them laying pellets? Then you know they're getting everything they need to stay healthy. Short cutting on feed for any animals doesn't lead to long term gain.

Feeding them well over Winter will give them a good start to the new season in Spring.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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14 years 1 month ago #324467 by clowder
Replied by clowder on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
I just feed the same all year...think I had just under two weeks without eggs last winter.
seems there is always point of lays that need feeding up as they lay anytime of year around here!

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14 years 1 month ago #324484 by Jeffie
Replied by Jeffie on topic Winter Feeding of Chooks
No short cuts here with feeding my chookies. They are fed their morning mash mixed with vegge, fruits, meats etc and at night they get their pellets mixed with grains and on the occasion bread All year through. I don't subsititute any extras for the base food i.e. pellets / mash / grains.

I feel it is better to keep going all year long with good tukka - what you put in you get out of your chooks.

And they are free range so bugs, grass etc is consumed as well. In saying this although they are on a good diet, they are not fat birds which I put down to the free range.

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