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Only through knowledge can we learn how to produce vibrant food.The organic and natural foods movement is nothing if not about knowledge. In the past, this knowledge was passed down from generation to generation, by living the farming life. Today, most of the population is becoming urban, and the ability to learn about living things dwindles, unless we make a deliberate effort to keep it alive.
This is the motivation behind this website. And to this end, everyone is invited to freely copy the whole ChickenFeed website, or any part of it. I would be greatly overjoyed if someone copies the entire site, either to own for your own pleasure, or to fly on your server. Please link it to this website somewhere on the main page, if you do put it up on your server. And please, do not attach any copyrights to it!!!
Years ago, the great National Health Federation used to hold conventions, lasting three days, and presenting hundreds of expert speakers and showing thousands of health food products, presented in person by the developers of those products, complete with the research and health information they themselves had collected. Adelle Davis and J.I. Rodale were alive and writing and practicing their professions (nutritionist/writer/researcher, and writer/organic farmer, respectively). The NHF was committed to one thing:
freedom of choice in nutrition.
Those days have passed. But the will to have and produce healthy food has not. Unfortunately, without great nutritionist writers and without the NHF conventions to show the innovative health food products to the world and make the information on them available to all, the health food movement has become plagued by round-robin rumors that don't seem to have any source or substance.
To offer information that is valuable, its source must be included with the information. If you copy from this site, please always include the source of the information along with the text copied. It is hoped that information will be sent here to the site, and/or to the ChickenFeed discussion group at Onelist.com, that will accumulate here for the benefit of all. Whether you choose one kind of feed or another, want to blend your own feeds, buy organic, natural, or any other designation, it is your choice in the matter that is the most valuable freedom. Second only to this, is freedom of information.
Types of Feed
Mash: a blend of several feed ingredients, ground to a small size but not to a powder
Pellets: small kernels of compressed mash, causing birds to eat the whole blend, not pick and choose
Crumbles: pellets broken up into smaller pieces
Starter: a blend of feed for chicks and growing birds, usually in the form of mash; approximately the same as "Grower"; can be replaced with "adult" food as soon as chicks go for it, somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks of age
Grower: approximately the same as "Starter"
Layer: feed blend for chickens that are laying eggs, having extra calcium and protein added
Broiler: feed blend for chickens that are growing as fast as possible, in order to be harvested for meat as early as possible
Scratch: whole grains fed separately to chickens, usually scattered on the ground or litter of the coop; usually a mixture of grains, such as wheat, rye, oats, etc. (corn/maize must be cracked before using as scratch grain)
Feed Ingredients Concentrate: a blend of protein-rich foods, plus any other nutrients desired; usually fed together with a grain ration
Grit: angular, hard crushed rock, preferably from granite, used by the chickens in place of "teeth" --- seashells and bone CANNOT substitute for grit; for confinded birds, grit should be offered several times a month at least; it should be of the right size for the age of the bird (see Baby Chicks page); birds allowed to free range don't need to be offered grit -- they find their own ideal sizes and types to suit themselves
Corn: American term meaning maize corn, or "corn on the cob" (in England "corn" means what grain means in the US, that is, all food grains)
Grain: American term meaning any small, hard seeds, especially grass-family seeds (called corn in England); provides energy, B vitamins, phosphorus, and the whole grains are a fair source of protein, too
Bran: the outer coating of a kernel of grain; extremely high in silicon, which slows down its decomposing in the soil; cheap by-product of milling, often given away free by large mills
Germ: the embryo plant inside a kernel of grain; very nutritious and high in protein; wheat and rice germ (also called "rice polish") are a saleable by-product of milling
Middlings: an old milling term for the parts of the kernel that are milled off with the germ, and probably contain both the starch and bran (please email me if you have more specific information :-)
Calcium: provided by sea shells, crushed bone, and fresh or dried greens --- amounts need to be measured closely, if not free range; must be provided in higher quantities as soon as chickens begin to lay eggs
Protein: any food high in amino acids, used to build tissues; protein quality is determined by the "completeness" of the amino acid varieties in the food source; all meats, eggs of all kinds, milk, cheese, nuts, seed germs, and soy beans are high protein sources
Amino acid: a molecule that is one building block of protein; there are many different amino acids, most of which can be manufactured in the body; the few that cannot must be supplied by foods, and are called "Essential Amino Acids"; a food that supplies all 8 essential amino acids is called "complete"
Vitamins: an old, general term meaning "life-giving"; a chemical found in nature or made by man to imitate natural ones; new vitamins, and new uses for known vitamins, are always being discovered
Minerals: non-life-created chemicals found in nature; these and vitamins can be added to dietary regimens to improve health; sea water contains all the minerals of the earth, in their natural forms and safe amounts; "trace minerals" are those needed in relatively very tiny amounts, and can be highly toxic if these amounts are exceeded; "macro-minerals" are those needed in large amounts, such as calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium
Kelp: sea-weed, plants that grow in the sea; contains all the minerals of the earth; all kelp is edible, and can easily be dried and fed to chickens by clipping a sheaf of it to something in their area (also, this replaces any need to add salt to their rations)
Methods of Raising Poultry
Free range: ideally, not controlled by fences, able to get to fresh greens and insects; as commercially used, this term allows fences, with minimum amount of space per bird set by government agency definition
Pastured poultry: hens kept in movable, usually wheeled, pens, moved daily over fresh pasture, creating delicious meat and the very most nutritious eggs (and very fertile pastureland, too)
Organic: inspected by government agencies, organic food sources must not contain traces of harmful chemicals; the term as currently used does not insure that poultry has been raised in the best possible way, only that it has near zero harmful ingredients
Types of Chickens
Pullets: female chickens in their first year of lay, or prior to their first moult; female baby chicks
Hens: female chickens in their second year of lay, or after their first moult
Straight Run: a random mixture of male and female baby chicks, usually less expensive than only pullets
Cockerels: male baby chicks; male young domestic fowl
Rooster: adult male chicken, or adult male of other domestic or non-domestic fowl
Broilers: chickens raised to be eaten
Meat birds: old term for broilers
Layers: chickens raised to be egg-layers
Layer-Broiler: chickens raised to be both egg-layer and to be eaten
Bantam: a miniaturized chicken of any breed; most breeds have a regular-size and a bantam variety
Banty: same as Bantam
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