Home Page
   Articles
       links
About Us    
Traders        
Recipes            
Latest Articles
Chicken feed
Page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> Grow Your Own
Author 
 Message
tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 10:54 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

What kind of weight are they at 20 weeks?

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
What kind of weight are they at 20 weeks?


It really depends on the breed, but they will be pretty well as big as they are going to get by that time.
The ones I had towards the end of last summer were exchequer leghorns. They were so pretty to look at that they probably lasted to 25 weeks, but even then they were not more than a couple of pounds dressed weight. At that size, I just skin and take the joints off - not really worth plucking.
Heavier breeds like light sussex or maran will give a reasonable roasting bird - say 3 - 4 lb.

Compare that to the Ross/Cobb birds that we have just put in the freezer - at 12 weeks they gave at least an 8 lb carcass!!

If I had to buy the cockerels, it really wouldn't be worthwhile - apart from the fact that they are nice to look at. If you can get them for nothing, the sums just about work out.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judith wrote:
Compare that to the Ross/Cobb birds that we have just put in the freezer - at 12 weeks they gave at least an 8 lb carcass!!


That's amazing

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It is. This was the first time we have had them. The rate of growth has to be seen to be believed - and we were not feeding ad lib after the first couple of weeks, as we wanted to slow them down a bit.

Bugs



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 10744

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judith, sorry, I have three questions in one go!

Since you're freezing them I guess they're all for your consumption - do you manage to be self-sufficient in chicken then?

(I've a feelig you've said this before, but I can't find it, so sorry if I make you repeat yourself ).

Quote:
"If I had to buy the cockerels"


So, where do you get them from?

And finally...apart from the weight, do you have any preferences out of all the birds you've raised, or do you find that they're interchangeable because you feed them all on your patent mix?

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 05 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Bugs,

Yes we are self-sufficient in chicken - I haven't bought one for a couple of years now. Occasionally we have famines if I haven't got the timings right, but there are only two of us and I can stretch one small chook quite a long way!

Some of the cockerels came from a local breeder - actually I paid 1 a head for 8 week old birds, which is tantamount to being free! The others came from a neighbour whose broody hens worked overtime last year. She sells eggs, so wants lots of layers, but is not willing to eat the cockerels herself.
I have just started down the broody hen route myself - we keep light sussex, RIR and a white orpington - so we will see how that goes.

As far as flavour is concerned, the best so far has got to be maran. I wasn't very keen on the bird himself - far too flighty and excitable - but he roasted up beautifully. Any chicken you raise yourself tastes pretty good, though.

Joey



Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Posts: 191

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Judith wrote:
tahir wrote:
What's in layers pellets?


The Allen&Page organic pellets contain: wheat, soya, calcium carbonate, alfalfa, peas, wheat feed(whatever that is), linseed, natural vitamins, something I can't read, calcium phosphate, sea salt and marigold leaves.


wheatfeed is the byproduct of milling white flour.

alfalfa and the marigold leaves are there simply to colour the yolks

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Joey wrote:
wheatfeed is the byproduct of milling white flour.

alfalfa and the marigold leaves are there simply to colour the yolks


Thanks Joey.
So wheat feed is mostly wheat bran, then?

I knew that the marigolds were to colour the eggs, but doesn't the alfalfa have food value too?

Joey



Joined: 03 Nov 2004
Posts: 191

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Wheatbran and wheatgerm but there is still 20-30% starch still there.
Alfalfa would have a bit of useful protein but the energy level is low so if it wasn't there to colour the yolk it would not be a cost effective ingredient.

Farmers who mill and mix their own layers feed use homegrown
cereals but they will be buying in imported protein ie soya meal.
rape in any form is not used in layers feeds. Sunflower meal (oil been cushed out) is used but in modest levels as it can result in dirty eggs
Isuppose if you were not too concerned about production levels
whole sunflower would supply protein and plently of oil then wheat
alongside. Limestone grit would along be required. Unless you were keeping hens very extensively you can't really garantee a sufficient level of nutrition from insects and worms, or even green stuff the whole year around. There is a big difference between making a living keeping hens and just having some for your own
table.

judith



Joined: 16 Dec 2004
Posts: 22789
Location: Montgomeryshire
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I totally agree with you - I have no pretensions whatsoever of being a farmer. One small paddock is never going to yield enough for me to give up the day job, unless we strike oil!

What we produce is for our own use. If we make a few quid from selling surplus, then it all helps, but that isn't what I'm doing it for. My aim is just to produce the sort of food that I want to eat for less than it will cost me to buy it. And since I can factor in my time for free, then I can just about do it.

The downside of very small-scale production, though, is that you don't get the economies of scale that you have with a larger operation. Buying feed by the bag is an expensive way to do it, so it is always worth looking at the alternatives. At my sort of scale, it might be worth my while to accept a drop in production if it produces a meaningful saving in costs.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Been a very useful discussion so far.

Jonnyboy



Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 23924
Location: under some rain.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What feed would you use to prevent soft shells?

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44142
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think that's what you need the limestone for

alison
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 29 Oct 2004
Posts: 12908
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 05 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Jonnyboy wrote:
What feed would you use to prevent soft shells?


Commercially you would use Oyster shell, crushed. We have it mixed with bagged grit, which is fed free choice. Alternatively, the small home producer would crush their egg shells, bake them in the oven and mix them with their feed.

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Downsizer Forum Index -> Grow Your Own All times are GMT
Page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2
View Latest Posts View Latest Posts

 

Archive
Powered by php-BB © 2001, 2005 php-BB Group
Style by marsjupiter.com, released under GNU (GNU/GPL) license.
Copyright 2004 marsjupiter.com