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Microstead

Chicken food and free ranging dilemas

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I was given a bag of growers mash when I collet my girls but it's only going to last another week. I've looked at buying some more growers mash but they only seem to available in 20kg sacks. Given that my cooks are now 11 and 15 weeks old, would it be alright to keep feeding them the growers mash until it's all used up, or do I need to also have some layers mash too. I was thinking about getting the Garvock 715 young has mash. 

Also I was told by one breeder to keep the chooks in the run for two weeks before letting them out, but the breeder whom I purchased them from said to only keep them in the run for a week. They are much younger than I expected them to be and am inclined to keep them in the run for longer than two weeks even. What do you all think?

 

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They won’t start laying for quite some weeks don’t expect any eggs before 22 weeks, so that’s at least another 7 weeks to go. 
Have a look at grower pellets. They are a lot less wasteful than mash. Just googled and petsathome have grower pellets in 5 kg bags.

There is no harm in keeping them in longer. Young bantams are small enough to become prey to all sorts. And they are very quick and flighty if you need to catch them again.

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22 minutes ago, Cat tails said:

They won’t start laying for quite some weeks don’t expect any eggs before 22 weeks, so that’s at least another 7 weeks to go. 
Have a look at grower pellets. They are a lot less wasteful than mash. Just googled and petsathome have grower pellets in 5 kg bags.

There is no harm in keeping them in longer. Young bantams are small enough to become prey to all sorts. And they are very quick and flighty if you need to catch them again.

Thanks CT. I will keep them in the run longer. I don't want the crows, magpies or next doors cat to get them. When they are older they will be less vulnerable. 

I can get everything but growers mash in smaller bags for some reason. Given that bantams eat so little and that they are hybrid bantams, I want to give them the best food I can get, which I understood to be garvo stuff. I'd happily move them on to Garvock alfa mix as layers, but will it matter if they have Garvo growers mash after they start laying? Apparently bantams eat about 1lb (0.5kilo )a month per bird... that 4lb or 2 kilo a month....20kg of Garvo 715 will last approximately 10 months, they should be laying eggs by then. So will it harm,them to,eat the growers mix whilst laying until the growers mash runs out? Really wish I could get 4kg of garvos growers mash.

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Posted (edited)

I've just found out that Garvo do an alfamix for chicks so I've ordered 4kg of that and a bigger bag of the alfamix for when they are older. As I only have 4 bantams I can afford to feed them this.

Edited by Microstead
Blooming autospell

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Alfamix is a mixed feed right? It does mean your chickens can fish out whatever they like best and leave the rest. 

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12 minutes ago, Cat tails said:

Alfamix is a mixed feed right? It does mean your chickens can fish out whatever they like best and leave the rest. 

Yeah it's a mixed feed. Hopefully they will like all of it. Lots of people feed their chooks with it so I presume they generally like to eat most of it. I guess I will find out. I'd like to try and give them some variety and I imagine they will eat what there bodies are telling them they need (as well as as much corn and mealworm and other treats as they can get their beaks on!). 

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Well not to get you down from your pink cloud, but chickens are like toddlers. Given the chance they will pig out on sweets and snacks and leave their dinner. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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Oh I'm sure they are, but I've rad lots of reviews and everyone said the chickens gobbled it all up and had smaller poops as a result. If they get too picky I can always look at getting mash or pellets in future. 

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I have fed Garvo in the past and found (as Cat Tails says) that they pick out the bits they like the best and leave the rest. You'd be better off (financially too) giving them a good quality pellet such as Smallholder.

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I will bear smallholders in mind if they don't get on with the alfa mix. We'recommend talking about the difference between an annual food bill of £20/25 including grit and £40 for the Garvoluntary.  I could make a pun about the difference being chicken feed here, but I won't. 

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If you end up with the hens chucking half of it on the ground, you might find it more expensive than that. But definitely go with your own decision.

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THE Food I purchase for my dog for 6 weeks cost less than a year's worth of food for my bantams. I'm willing to give it ago as it's clearly liked by many I really don't understand the negativity. I've listened to what you and DM have said but the fact is, as I've stated, I've already ordered it and trying it won't hurt.

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Posted (edited)

I've read a few posts on here now about alfamix and some said their chickens were picking bits out and leaving the pellets. Howver there are lots of very positive views on it elsewhere. As a prevoisly poster stated, I will make the leftover pellets, if there are any, into porridge for them the next day. The amount they will be fed each day will mean the food is quite low down in the grub which should minimize spillage too.

 

Edited by Microstead

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Posted (edited)

Try the Gablestock co*rse layers mash - almost identical to Garvo and less than half the price.

I think the resistance to Garvo that you see all over the poultry community is that it's expensive for what it is, but then we've all been around a lot longer. The choice, of course, is yours; ours is merely to advise, which presumably is what you posted for

Edited by The Dogmother

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I’m interested in this as I moved my bantams from Garvo growers pellets onto alfamix..... I think for similar reasons as you. But I don’t think I will buy it again when I run out. I still like the idea, but I worry that despite my best efforts they are picking out good stuff. I try and only put a bit out (roughly what they’d eat in a day) and force them to eat the boring stuff but it’s really hard to actually do. Plus I then give them no treats as I worry and I miss feeding the mealworms! They spend afternoons and evenings out free ranging so I think they get enough “sweets” and choice that way and I will go back to pellets... I am glad I tried though, who knows I might switch back again 🤣

if anyone has any recommendations for bantam sized pellets then please let me know. 

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Think you will find they eat a lot more than 0.5Kg a month. A large fowl can eat 1Kg a week and although bantams are supposed to be a quarter of the weight ours eat half of the large ones, so that would be 0.5Kg a week each. So you could need 14Kg before they lay? My practice is to keep them on rearers pellets until the first one lays.

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My girls have normal Garvo pellets as their food but they do have the Garvo Alphamix as their treat that I throw in the run.

I only have the 2 small girls and it takes a while to get through the sacks. 

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Smallholder pellets are excellent and small in size, its what I always used to use for both my pretty small poland bantams and my very large orpington LF. 

On the OP I think the all the advice on here is well meant and is based on our long collective experiences.  Many of us do not buy our chicken food on the cost factor, we buy what we consider to be a decent food, and Garvo is one of these.  However, chicken will pick out what they like best and if not regulated, they will just eat that.  Whilst they may well survive, I doubt they will thrive as well as they would on a balanced food, whether it is in pellet or mash form, at least not if you want eggs from them.  However, its a free world, so give it a whirl and see how you get on, if it works for you and your birds, then that's a result!

I have to say, though, that this thread prompted me to have a look at the ingredients of alfamix (1055, not sure if there is a range of different blends or something), and I see dried lobster is one of them.  Although chickens are omnivores, I wouldn't really like to meet the one who has worked out how to get into a lobster in the wild!

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Thank you for all your replies. 

As a new keeper of chickens I very much appreciate the advice given and have taken on board a lot of suggestions, particularly from you DM and CT and MH and I would be lost without your advice. However the alfa mix is already on it's way (it's just arrived ) as I'd already ordered it before it became a contentious issue here. If it doesn't work and they do pick out all the good bits and won't eat the porridge I make from the pellets they leave until last then I obviously will reconsider but personally I'd prefer to feed them some sort of mash. They've been fed mash since coming off chick crumb by the breeder and the local chicken feed place to me recommended a mash feed too, though I do appreciate that they could pick only the bits they like from that. 

They also get a lot of green food which I hang in a holder in their run which they love as they've been raised in a field and are used to eating grass. When they are older they will also,have access to some of the lawn to eat and will also,get lots of green stuff. Yesterday a neighbour gave me e whole load of radish tops for them. Today I've picked a lot of lettuce leaves and found them a slug. I also,give them meal worms in the afternoon and some corn in the evening before bed. They definitely won't starve.

It will be interesting to see how much they actually eat compared to the amount the Internet says they are meant to eat

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On 6/22/2020 at 1:48 PM, Beantree said:

Think you will find they eat a lot more than 0.5Kg a month. A large fowl can eat 1Kg a week and although bantams are supposed to be a quarter of the weight ours eat half of the large ones, so that would be 0.5Kg a week each. So you could need 14Kg before they lay? My practice is to keep them on rearers pellets until the first one lays.

Wow! I read that a bantam eats about 1lb (500g) a month each of pellets and a chicken about 5oz (125g) a day. That's what I based my calculations on and will be transferring them to adult layers food when the youngest, who are now 11 weeks, are 18 weeks old ( 500g x4 chooks x 2 months), though this means the older cooks who are 15 weeks will be fed growers for a 4 longer than they should so that the youngest dont get too  much calcium. I can't really feed them separately, 

 

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You can wait until the first hen starts laying, which might not be before they are 24 weeks. 21 weeks is a bit early for most bantams to start laying.

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On 6/22/2020 at 1:22 PM, eggysoldiers said:

if anyone has any recommendations for bantam sized pellets then please let me know

Smallholder!

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1 hour ago, Cat tails said:

You can wait until the first hen starts laying, which might not be before they are 24 weeks. 21 weeks is a bit early for most bantams to start laying.

Brilliant, thank you. That's should work out nicely then given that I can put them all on layers when the youngest are 18 weeks and the oldest 22 weeks and the oldest will be getting,their calcium before the lay. 

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