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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:28 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Location: Guyra, NSW
New feathers - thanks, I'll try the warm. Hot would obviously denature some of it and not sprout. Also my corn is nearly dry by next day (so dry here, and been very windy and low humidity). I am piling the trays on top of each other and pouring the water through all trays when fill the next one and putting an empty tray over, might also put a wet bag over that to maintain humidity. :thanks:

I've nearly got my system sorted now - "time and motion studied" ha ha :addicted: . Mix lamb milk, half fill bucket with warm water, milk, bucket and scraps down to the yard, let dogs into their yard, let out free rangers, pour out yesterdays corn into tray, add new corn to warm bucket, feed lambs, cut green feed/veges for penned chooks and feed them and the ducks and the sheep, collect any eggs, and bottles into bucket and return to house! (then over to other shed to check brooder and chicks!) Then to the real work. Thank goodness my stud lambing has just finished!

cheeps


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 10:37 pm 
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Flock Master
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shew i am going to bed now i am exhausted just reading that!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:51 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Well I changed my mind on temperature of sprouting water - tried the warm, but as soon as cold corn added it got cool real quick and sprouting non-existent still. (it is cool down here)
So took the plunge and used hot water a few days later - half bucket hot water (about 4 litres) with an icecream container of corn (2 litres) and it cools fast to warm with the cold grain.
Didn't denature the corn and is sprouting well (well means by 5 days I have about a 12 mm sprout) I'll bet its bigger in same time as our weather gets warmer.

Alas chooks and ducks turning beaks up - they obviously don't know what's good for them

Previously it took about 2 weeks to get some of the wretched things to even eat corn (they'd been fed scraps and porridge and mash and not whole hard grain at previous home) so will just persevere.

cheeps


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:29 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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I'm finding weather is influencing the sprouting of my grains, using my new system (hessian sacks, influenced by the pillow-case suggestion a few pages back).

I put the sack inside a bucket, fill with grains, fill with water (enhanced with molasses and/or kelp stuff), and leave for a day. Then I take it out of the water and hang it from an outdoor star picket to drain. Each day, I bash the sacks on the ground to ensure all the grains get some air, and dunk them in water.

I have a simple numbering system so I know which one to use next - each sack has its own number and the next number in line to the one soaking is the one to use. So if I'm soaking #4, then it's time to use #1, then hang #4, and re-fill #1. The next day, I use and re-fill #2, and hang #1. And so on. I think the system's solid :)

The first week, when we got a couple of sunny warm days, I had a lovely tangle of grains-with-tails (I'm not sprouting to green) to feed to the chooks on day 4, and they had quite a lot of inherent warmth and moisture. I'm now on the second round, after the recent cold and cloudy snap, and the sprouts are barely started, quite dry, and not very warm.

I'm still feeding them to the chooks, mind you, and they're still perfectly chook-palatable. But just not sprouted.

It's getting warm again so I have hopes of the hanging sacks.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:10 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Location: Guyra, NSW
Infoaddict - I went with the seedling tray option someone mentioned - they nicely handle a 2 litre container of dry corn each day (mine only about double in size with the soak). 2 buckets and 6 black trays with flat base with holes - a bit like a plastic mesh. (I also have a pile of the blue trays that actually have divider to hold 8 punnets. The black ones same size but no dividers.)
In my steady state system all trays stacked on top of each other - one at top is the "lid tray" and has no corn, but has loose sheet of plastic in it. This top lid tray protects next tray (from birds and rats) and keeps moisture in.

All other trays have corn at progressive stages. Bottom one oldest.

I take a bucket of hot water down to shed each morning, remove bottom - oldest - tray and feed that out. Then the "lid tray" is moved aside and the empty put on top. Yesterdays wet grain is poured in tray so liquid goes through all trays. Lid tray back on top. Put 2 litres of fresh corn into the half bucket hot water and take my empty bucket back to house for next morning.

I have to say I thought it all sounded a bit hard when reading this thread, but it doesn't take long at all (say, 2 minutes) with a system like this or I'm sure with your progressive bag system.

My 4 or 5 day old sprouts barely have a sprout - maybe longest are 10 mm. Too cold here! They didn't do anything with cold or warm water.

Those blue trays - I am using them as feed trays in my breeder pens. Today it rained and the rain was able to go through tray but the corn or pellets remained. I also planted out 32 silverbeet seedlings and 8 spinach this morning because I've stripped vege garden bare now that I have breeders in pens. Next I'm going to start on breeding mealie worms after reading about them last night to 2 in the morning! I also got some bandsaw dust from butcher this week - only enough for one day this time, but they loved it. They are still not convinced about the sprouts after about a week of them.

cheeps


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
They take time to get used to the sprouts. I mix them in with standard pellets in increasing ratios; it makes a really nice mash, actually, esp. if you put some Livamol through, and use the leftover soaking water to make the day's mash with :)

It seems to take a minimum of two weeks of over 50% (grain to pellet ratio) before the chooks really take to the grains, and about three before results are seen in your chooks and the eggs.

I had a break of about three weeks from the grains for various reasons, and the second time around, the chooks are eating the grains much more readily. This may also be because I'm soaking in water that's enhanced with molasses and/or a kelp mix thing I bought at Murrumbateman, which might improve the flavour.

I've only got a small amount of corn in my primarily wheat/lupin mix (I've got oats in this mix as well but they don't seem to be sprouting at all), and it definitely does take longer to sprout than the wheat. In most cases, when I feed out at day 4, the corn has barely just pushed out a sprout, even when the lupins and wheat have really long (5cm) tails.

I also have cracked lupins mixed with the whole; the soaking doesn't harm the cracked ones, and they're a little more palatable initially than the whole ones, which chooks often don't like.

I'm also tossing in a small scoop of ordinary scratch mix, just to get sprouts of whatever's in there. The sunflower seeds are, of course, always fought for ... which is why I've planted a LOT of sunflowers this year :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:24 pm 
I'm doing it all in two parts, the grain, and the supplements.
The grains (corn and wheat with a few mung beans) are soaked. Then they're hung in a bag and I take the daily amount out of the bag and leave the rest to sprout further. I do only enough for 4 days then start again (so only soak grain once in four days).
Meanwhile with every feed I mix a small batch of molasses, lucerne, cracked lupins, livamol, dolomite, soya meal (not in that order of quantity!) -- this is the heavy duty protein/mineral stuff -- and mix it with the grains just before serving it up.
It smells nice, looks nice, and they really hoe in. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:14 am 
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Discerning Duck
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Some 20 or so pages back i wrote on the use of pellets NOT being as good for a breeder flock as soaked grains and other goodies, also NOT being anywhere near as cost effective. I wrote these are formulated for egg production not breeder life or management. I found an extract from a breeder management book . . . As follows

Quote:
A hens diet affects the number and vitality of her chicks and the quality of carry over nutrients the chicks continue to absorb for several weeks after they hatch. Nutritional deficiencies that may not produce symptoms in a hen can still be passed on to her chicks where they will manifest. Feeding the breeder hen therefore includes feeding her not yet hatched chicks.

THE SAME RATION THAT PROMOTES GOOD EGG PRODUCTION WONT PROVIDE EMBRYO'S AND NEWLY HATCHED CHICKS WITH ALL THE ELEMENTS THEY NEED TO THRIVE. Lay ration contains little animal protein and too little vitamins and minerals for proper egg hatching composition and high hatch-ability. Feeding lay ration to a breeder hen may result in a poor hatch or nutritional deficiencies in her offspring. The older the hen, the worse the problem becomes.


I found that interesting as i did state that lay ration would not provide optimal nutrients for chick production . . . only egg production, there were a few knockers of that statement, hope that clears it up.

What the layer rations appear to lack, this is my opinion only, which effects egg hatchability are the following.

Vitamin A. Which is essential for good hatchibility and chick vitality. It comes from green feeds, yellow corn and oils ( Cod Liver ).

Vitamin D. Which is related to the assimilation of calcium and phosphorus needed for egg production. Deficiency causes thin shelled eggs and since developing chicks draw calcium from the shell, thin shelled eggs will produce stunted chicks. Two signs of Vitamin D deficiency are a peak in mortality during the 19th day of incubation and chicks with rickets. Other than sunlight cod liver oil is the best for Vitamin D.

Vitamin E. Which effects both fertility and hatchability. This comes from whole grains and some fresh greens. ( Again we see the benefit of whole grains to the breeder flock ! )

Riboflavin ( Vitamin B ). The most common deficient in lay ration, results in embryo death early to mid incubation. Deficient chicks that do hatch often have curled toes ( this is often blamed on incubation temp ) and may grow slowly. Leafy greens, milk products ( my personal favorite ), liver or meats and yeast will provide an ample supply.

There is no perfect formula for feeding your breeder flock but i hope this highlights the difference between feeding a couple of layers and feeding breeders which is what most of us on here keep ! Pellets produce the egg, we feed the breeders !

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:26 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
candler wrote:
I'm doing it all in two parts, the grain, and the supplements.
The grains (corn and wheat with a few mung beans) are soaked. Then they're hung in a bag and I take the daily amount out of the bag and leave the rest to sprout further. I do only enough for 4 days then start again (so only soak grain once in four days).
Meanwhile with every feed I mix a small batch of molasses, lucerne, cracked lupins, livamol, dolomite, soya meal (not in that order of quantity!) -- this is the heavy duty protein/mineral stuff -- and mix it with the grains just before serving it up.
It smells nice, looks nice, and they really hoe in. :D


I read this quickly and thought "wow, you're good", and then realised I actually do much the same, except for having a daily grain soaking-and-supply regime. My steps now run:

1. Gather whatever kitchen scraps into a bucket and pour a little hot water over them. Head to the garage.
2. Add pellets, Livamol/meatmeal (if going in; this doesn't go in daily), lucerne chaff, molasses, and whatever other additives are going in. (I must get some dolomite for chook feed, rather than garden purposes). These sog into a mash.
3. Take out the currently soaking sack and hang it. Unhook the oldest sack and take to feed.
4. Place more pellets and additives into the remnants of the soaking water for a second mash.
5. Tip grains into three buckets - two with mash, one without.
6. Take hot mash+grains bucket and a scoop of scratch mix and supply to house flocks 1 (11 hens + rooster) and 2 (breeding flock of 5).
7. Collect eggs from house flocks and go back to garage.
8. Add pellets, scratch, and supplements to the two remaining buckets.
9. Take buckets and supply to "commercial" flock (30+).
10. Collect eggs and go back to garage.
11. Place now-empty sack into a bucket and fill with grains (currently oat, wheat, and lupins, as above).
12. Add a dollop of kelp stuff and molasses if it's there.
13. Add water and twist top closed.
14. Dunk two still-hanging sacks into water to moisturise the grains.
Done!

The whole thing takes about 15mins all up, but that does include watching the chooks to make sure they're all there and eating, collecting eggs, straightening nesting boxes, filling water containers, dodging the dogs who want to play, and a certain amount of "smelling the roses".

I continue to supply pellets in a mash to ensure nutrients are there, and because it's the best way for me to deliver worming liquid, vitamins, and other necessary supplements.

As my flocks expand, I will need to work out ways to make the process as quick as possible. More effective use of water, in particular, is needed. I may well need to move into a tray system where water drips from top to bottom but I can't do that in the garage, so will have to move the whole thing out to the greenhouse/potting shed, which leads to questions on where the feed is stored, etc. Time-and-motion thoughts are required :)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:09 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Hey Micki,

I just bought som Codliver Oil was wondering how much do you add to feed? would you add it daily or say weekly?

Thanks

Christian

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:08 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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In the absence of Mick, I'd say a small regular weekly dose, if your chooks are otherwise healthy, would be all that's necessary. Could be entirely wrong though ...


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:48 pm 
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Discerning Duck
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Christian i think your feeding regime is pretty good mate, you add canola oil off memory so i'd back that off if you went with cod liver oil.

It's another of those "less being more" kinda feeds. Infoaddict is right you do not need much, however, i think you'd have to feed a lot to overdo the job !

No reason why you could not add a cap full a day to the ration mix. The stuff is just an enormous additive to your feed for the vitamins that are hard to source in other feeds. This quote from that extract is important

Quote:
Nutritional deficiencies that may not produce symptoms in a hen can still be passed on to her chicks where they will manifest. Feeding the breeder hen therefore includes feeding her not yet hatched chicks.


Important because your flock may show no signs of deficiency but your hatchlings are the ones that will suffer from underlying, undetectable nutritional shortages. My posted eggs, as stated previously, are testament to this with the average hatch rising by 4 eggs per dozen after my new feeding regime was in place. Still have the odd disaster . . . but hey, thats aust post for ya !

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:02 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Mick,
I have been reading this thread for quite a few weeks; using it for researching what to do prior to me collecting my girls, and continuing to stay in touch with what's being discussed since they've been living here.

Although I won't be breeding from them, I have found that they much prefer a more natural diet than pellets, and have shown very little interest in even fresh kitchen scraps. They're between about 12 & 16 weeks (I think, based on another BYP member's assessment), and are in a small coop & small run during the week; let out for a few hours from when I get home to when they choose to return to their coop to roost; let out all day on Saturday & Sunday.

They have a huge area to graze in, about half of which has been left to be fairly unkempt meadow-like grasses & weeds. There are at least three different grasses currently seeding there, and they help themselves when they're foraging to whatever they happen to feel like. I had been letting them forage through the overgrown lucerne in the vegie patch, and although they hoed into that the first few days, they've not shown any more interest in that now than they do in any other grasses. I also have a line of bricks next to the fence, which are great hiding places for earwigs & for a small shiny goldish coloured beetle; I've been picking the bricks up to let the chooks get a feed of protein that way, and they've been loving it.

Yesterday I found a butcher happy to clean their cutting machine whilst I waited, if I come in on a Friday evening on my way home from work. :D The girls appreciated it very much, but it was telling that Elwood, the head of the girls, and eater of the most insects on our bughunting expeditions, had very little before going back to grass & general scratching about. There was a direct link between the order in which they get to eat the beetles & earwigs, and the amount of bandsaw dust they wanted. Even so, even the smallest two still didn't gobble up all the meat supplied, and happily picked at grass & other things inbetween eating the meat.

Even though I have my chooks for egglaying (once they start, anyway), I intend to continue to feed them on a similar diet to the one you use, as they seem very happy & healthy on what I'm giving them, and (importantly for me) seem to enjoy what they're being fed & what they're allowed to pick at.

Thank you so much for all your posts on here (and to others, too, but Mick has a special place in my heart); I met a guy at a stock feed store today that I would have sworn was you except that he (& I) am in Melbourne. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:46 am 
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Prime Pekin
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Just a guess, but I think your girls will probably be more interested in the meat once they start laying eggs. Egg laying really does take quite a bit out of the girls, and also periods of rapid growth. If your girls are 12-16 weeks they are still growing some but not like those first 6-8 weeks where they really have a need for high protein.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:30 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Thanks for that Huney007,

I've noticed that they're more interested in it in the mornings, and this morning they were arguing about who would get the best bits & demolished all that they were given for a change. Partly, I think, because I gave it to them at about 11am, and it's been raining all night (big storm here) & they haven't been out foraging like they normally would... they've been holed up in the coop (their choice, not mine).

Also, two of them are getting quite red in the comb & wattles... both of whom were greedier than the others.

I'll make sure that I keep plenty of some sort of protein at hand for them to keep up their supply ! I guess I'd better start up the mealworms sooner rather than later !


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