Getting old school

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by djuhnke, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. IndyDave

    IndyDave Well-Known Member

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    I would also guess that you are sophisticated enough to do more with your soil than dump NPK fertilizer and call it good which would easily improve the quality of your GMO corn over the general average.
     
  2. BlueRidgeFarms

    BlueRidgeFarms Well-Known Member

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    Those fields certainly had a fairly comprehensive fertility program, but how much difference that made in the nutrition I really can't say. Sulfur is important in good protein development and that didn't used to be in many commercial fertilizer programs. Before the implementation of the Clean Air Act most farmland got quite a bit of free sulfur fertilizer, but that pretty much dried up a couple decades ago. As a result, many areas have developed some degree of chronic sulfur deficiency and it's only in the last decade that many commercial fertilizer programs have begun to respond.
    It's likely that an intensively cropped field with adequate NPK nutrition but a severe sulfur deficiency would produce lower protein grain than one that did have adequate sulfur and micronutrients available.

    This was only one data point, after all.
     

  3. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    Something to consider, when comparing the way chickens might have been raised on a homestead a century ago, and the feed available, is that they largely did not have modern broilers. Most of the more modern commercial birds grow and develop extremely fast. For that, you need a very high protein feed. A slower growing bird, with a less efficient gut can eat more of less. This bird would kill you in a broiler operation. But raised on less powerful feeds, and able to supplement with bugs and forage, they can get there, eventually.

    Grandpa kept chickens out back and just threw them some scratch grains to keep them around. This can still be done, but remember, Grandpa killed a lot of predators, and some of them weren't protected back then. If you had handed grandpa a bunch of commercial broilers back then, they probably wouldn't have lasted a week. You can still do it, but it won't be anything like the chicken you get from the store, and couldn't be marketed to people that were used to that in a chicken. Grandpa's corn was probably a flint corn, and probably shelled and cracked fresh. This can make a tremendous difference, oxidation is a thing and it effects nutrients.

    When you have good foraging chickens, and they hen raise, the nutritional requirements at any one time are not as great as when you do a flock of a hundred broilers and look at the nutritional requirements just prior to slaughter. You simply can't have enough bugs per acre. Grandpa didn't have a freezer. He killed chickens a few at a time, maybe just one or two. He didn't need to put them all in a freezer at the same time, because he had hens raising a few here and there throughout the warmer parts of the year. He didn't need chicken meat in the winter and spring because he had hogs for then. As far as eggs, it is surprising how many you can get from hens that only lay 75 a year, when those hens reproduce like rats and are all on different schedules, because they are all products of different individual clutches. Especially considering that grandpa had a small army of kids to go find eggs for him.
     
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  4. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

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    I need 35 lbs of S per acre annually for sweet corn. Granted it isn't the same as field corn but it gives you an idea of what the grain requires. I use sulpomag and potassium sulfate. Not cheap but also not acidic as ammonium sulfate which can mean more lime.
     
  5. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

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    Plant cheap birdseed.
    Try to avoid mixes with lots of cracked corn or rice.
     
  6. stachoviak@msn.

    stachoviak@msn. Well-Known Member

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    I think some of us missed the original point.
    they just want to LEARN how to do it.
    the olden way was a lot of hands on manual labor.
    if the world would go to pot, there wouldn't be gas to
    run your machinery,.
    corn is probably one of the best things to plant.
    but don't overlook oats.
    corn will give you about 250 to 1 in seed .
    oats will be less than half that, but,,,you can plant a lot of oat seeds on the same space that 2 stalks of corn can grow.
    you can harvest corn by hand quite easily.
    with a good sythe you can cut oats by hand.
    in the olden days, they didn't winter over great numbers of chickens. in the spring they hatched as many chicks as they could.
    as an experiment, I raised 200 meat chickens from chick to butchering. started them off on 50/50 finely ground oats and corn. that's all they got to eat except for what they picked up free ranging.
    None of them got bow legged or died from heart attacks. they were CornishXRocks.
    I wouldn't recommend those for breeding , though.
    ....
     
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  7. BlueRidgeFarms

    BlueRidgeFarms Well-Known Member

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    I think you and barnbilder came pretty close to covering it. I kinda tried to hint at it by saying it was a much lower input/output system but you guys gave the details.
    Another advantage of oats is that it could be put up in shocks and then used as feed/bedding during the winter. Chickens will eat the oat grain just fine out of that without the trouble of threshing and grinding it first. (of course, you need plenty of cats around to deal with the mice.) I know my grandma would soak small grains for the chickens. I don't think she left them long enough to truly sprout, but maybe soaked them for a day and half and then fed them.


     
  8. BlueRidgeFarms

    BlueRidgeFarms Well-Known Member

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    Another thought about the "old time" way to raise chickens. It was mentioned that the birds would have gotten "scraps" to eat as well as grains. Well, a good portion of those scraps would have been meat scraps, very high protein. Chickens can pick a rib cage very clean, especially chickens that are on a low protein diet.

    No grain-only diet is going to be enough protein for even most of the modern dual-purpose breeds, but if that grain diet is supplemented every couple weeks with meaty bone scraps it would go a long ways towards maintaining a healthy flock.

    If anyone is ever trying to keep chickens after TEOTWAWKI, it would be good to remember that chickens are not vegetarians.
     
  9. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Well-Known Member

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    Not really a "feed" thing, but along the same lines, I'm thinking about adding in some Egyptian Fayoumis. I don't know if I want to keep them in a completely separate, remote chicken area, or if I want to try to breed in some of their blood to some type of "survival mutt". Supposedly they're immune to a lot of "chicken diseases" and can live completely off forage. Granted they're scrawny and lay small eggs, but they could be a supplement to your survival plan. I've read Golden Campines are good foragers as well and could be a decent survival bird that you didn't have to feed a lot.
     
  10. Fishindude

    Fishindude Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Your smack in the middle of corn country. Most farmers would let you pick up waste ears left in the field missed by the combine, but they don't miss much these days. Another option would just be to buy a few bushels of shelled corn off one of your neighboring grain farmers when he is loading or unloading a bin. Pay him a little more than market price for his hassle, then get yourself a feed grinder and start making feed. I'm sure you could figure out what to add to the crushed corn, with a little research.

    Store the material in something mouse proof and weather tight such as steel trash cans.
     
  11. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

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    I've done a lot with integrating a self sufficient survival bird into the homestead setting. Semi feral flocks with low input, for cleaning up grain waste that might attract rodents, and spreading manure and eating the fly larva that grow there. The fayoumis and campines would get you there, but they are lacking a very important feature. They don't brood reliably, so you would need to buy fresh ones, or hatch and artificially rear them, which defeats the whole purpose of a "self sufficient" bird. A truly self sufficient bird, reproduces itself at or above stocking levels. Above is preferable, so you can harvest surplus. They aren't going to have a broiler carcass, but there are a lot of birds that are regularly eaten that don't have a broiler carcass, quail, doves, etc. My semi-feral chickens remind me of grouse or pheasant, when raised to fend for themselves, pretty good table fare, with little input.
     
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  12. aart

    aart HOW do they DO that?

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    ....layer stock(extra cockerels and old hens)
     
  13. BridgetMI

    BridgetMI Well-Known Member

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    If you want to learn how to raise animals, feed, etc the "old fashioned" way, I recommend getting to know and visit some of the Old Order Amish. They are the best resource of people who are able to raise and produce livestock, etc the old fashioned way in today's world. I don't know if you are interested in planting with animal power and harvesting by hand, but to gain a good, practical education of how it is done, the Amish have a wealth of knowledge. They also have generations of knowledge that has been passed down, which sadly, a lot is being lost with our modern technology and our internet based society.

    In my experience, they are all very friendly, very willing to discuss their processes, and very kind to those of us interested in learning from them.
     
  14. Lookin4GoodLife

    Lookin4GoodLife Well-Known Member

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    That's what I've read. I wouldn't "bet the whole farm" on them, but in my case, I think I'd like some of that blood in there.
     
  15. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    I'm no chicken expert.

    But I did help my wife's parents with their shared corn plot. Between them and a couple of my wife's uncle's, we'd plant ten acres of field corn. Used a 3000 Ford tractor to till and plant. We'd pull the ears by hand. Corn was stored in a corn crib out at the barn. We'd shuck and shell as needed. Corn was for the chickens and hogs.

    Chickens free ranged during the day and we'd pen them in the evening. Just a small flock, somewhere around a dozen hens. Would let them set every now and then...Eventually replace some of the hens, eat the old hens and the young roosters.

    Seemed to work.