Yes fodder (fod-der) that is the word. I was starting to get very much annoyed by all the ads and posts about feeding your animals fodder. in fact I had ignored them all until I did a run through of how much it costs just to feed my chickens. which was around 630 dollars and that's just for the chickens I have goats, pigs, horses, rabbits in addition to the chickens. I started looking for anything to bring down this ridiculous cost of chicken feed and fodder just kept coming up finally I did a cost analysis of feeding fodder instead of the pellets the price came down to 70 dollars for 27 chickens. that is incredible enough to warrant a post about it. **
the best thing about fodder is that anything that eats plants and or seeds can live off of it! horses, cows, goats, sheep, rabbits and chickens to name a few. just grow it and then feed it. it takes very little effort on your part to grow the fodder. now I say grow but really you are hydroponically sprouting the seeds. my system has one heavy duty plastic shelf and 4 aluminum foil pans. I grow barley for the fodder but some people also grow wheat.
it really is easy to grow pour water into the foil pans and pour the seeds in in one week they are ready to harvest! your animals will truly thank you for feeding them this they will become healthier and happier. market animals will hit weight with less trouble and production animals will have more babies per litter and healthier babies. your chickens eggs will have darker yolks and your hatch rate will improve.
**all though it is incredible and it brought down my cost drastically were I live and in the house I live in, it was just too hard to consistently feed my chickens this. if you can consistently keep the fodder above 60 degrees fahrenheit then it is just ridiculously easy to grow but my house doesn't have electric heating we have a wood stove and space heaters and because of this in the winter and in the spring when there is still snow on the ground our house is c-c-coold.
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What you need
choosing your chicks is the most important part of it all. after of course going though all the breeds that you might want to have in your yard or just choosing the cutest ones, you want to make sure you pick healthy chicks to begin with. some people like to get a sick chick and nurse it back to health but this more often than not ends in heartbreak. the worst of all is even if it does get better it will never be the best chicken it will always have its own issues and will probably not have a long life. you need to be able to tell a healthy chick from the unhealthy ones. there it a quick and easy way to tell they are healthy or not if they get up and run away from a hand or better just your for looking down at them. bright eyed and bushy bodied if another great sign but the first sign is a guarantee. if more than 50% of the chicks in the same bin as the ones you want to bring home just don't get those babies find a different seller there is something wrong with how they are feeding/caring for the chicks or there is something wrong with the chicks genetics. its better to wait then to have the heartbreak and waist of money.
SOMEWHERE TO PUT THEM
I use a plastic tote with pin savings in the bottom of is. I like it because it is easy to clean out and very cheap to make. I have one tote that I use that has a lid with rabbit wire attached to the hole in the top. I also have one that I used when my sister brought home two ducklings it is much larger and much deeper than the one I made. I used it because I knew I needed a larger place for the duckles so that they wouldn't have to bend down when they got bigger/jump out of the border if I took of the lid. the larger tote does not have a lid I lost it years ago but unless you plan on keeping them somewhere, were predators can get to them they are fine to not have the fancy lids. Mine is in our tack room which does have a cat door in it but my cat likes to snuggle with the little animals and once chased of a raccoon from the horse stall we had my pet rabbit and her babies in he saved 6 out of the 7 babies. we thought it was him when we found the baby bunny dead but we eventually realized that our cat could not and would not rip the head off of the baby but that is what raccoons do. any whoo there are other options but they are all more expensive than the tote.
there is the fancy pants heater plate that take the risk of a fire but they are expensive and I have always used a heat lamp but my lamp is over concrete so if it fell the light would probably brake but even if it didn't I don't have anything that is flammable around it. if you live somewhere that it is hot all day you can make an off grid brooder but I don't know how. I of course have some ideas but don't really no how. one heat lamp that is placed so that one part of the brooder has the heat and the other side does not is the perfect way to help them grow up and not be reliant on the heat lamp as they get older they will spend less and less time under the heat lamp.
FEEDER AND WATERER
now you can use just about anything for this some people use an old tupperware for the water and its lid for the food this works fine. some people use the ones that you buy in a store and some use their own take on the first. I am one of those how buys the ones from the feed store. I have been raising chicks since 2014 and have bought a total of 5 feeder and waterers but I still have the first ones that I bought. they are very durable the only reason I have ever bought more is because I have a bad habit of not always putting things back and then later losing it and not finding it when I need it.
as much as I don't like purina it's one of the only brands that makes a quality chick starter that I can buy in my area and its cheaper. I feed haystack feed when they grow up but that is a local feed mill. as long as it is a look at the prices of the different chick starters and then ask someone which is the best feed and as long as they didn't tell you that the most expensive one was the best you can trust their opinion. if they do look at the ingredient lists on the bags and see which one sounds best. electrolytes are something I alway keep on hand in case there is a sick bird or other animal because the chick electrolyte mix is a great thing to mix up for a sick animals in general. some people just mix it in to there water no matter if they are sick or not but they don't need the constant electrolytes.
hope this help you guys if you have any questions please leave a comment and I will answer it ASAP
There are many reasons why we choose to raise our chickens in a pasture instead of free range. Before I knew anything about chickens I would have thought free range was a good and humane way to raise chickens. I now know that that isn't necessarily true. It makes me sick when I think about what the USDA considers humane. free range just isn't what it sounds like.
First of all free range does not mean what you think it does. free range simply means they have at least 2 sq ft each they really get very limited outdoor space. cage free also doesn't mean what you think it does they only get 1 sq ft each and no outside space at all they probably don't even get fresh air. Pasture-raised now that means they have at least 35 sq ft of outside space each. when chickens are pasture raise that can mean one of two things. The first thing that is could mean is they live in a pasture that has 35 sq ft for each chicken or more. the second thing that pasture-raised chickens could mean is that they have a smaller amount of space but they move that space around. Now your "tractor" chicken coop does not count it counts as free range though. A flock that is pasture raised in a rotational way has more room then free range requires in just one of the sections that the chickens are rotated in.
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