out there

IMG_1643 - Version 2 - 2005-04-18 at 19-47-02 vabf_2010-001_0 Broiler Chicks Compost Inspection Happy Herd Down the Hill to the Pigerator

thought for the day:

organic = sustainable

what customers are saying:

I left Countryside for cheaper, "All-Natural" feed. When my customers started COMPLAINING about the taste of my eggs I came back to Countryside!

— Better Feed Makes Better Eggs, Better Eggs Make Happier Customers

Getting Started with Chickens

Layers – How Much Feed Do I Need?

Layers – per bird

    1st Month – Approximately 4 lbs. Starter Feed
    2-4 Months – Approximately 1/4 lb. per day Grower Feed
    4 Months and on – Approximately 1/4 lb. per day Layer Feed

12 Layers will require:

    (1) 50 lb. Bag Soy-Free Poultry Starter Feed
    (5) 50 lb. Bags Soy-Free Poultry Broiler/Grower Feed
    (2) 50 lb. Bags per month Soy-Free Layer Feed (after 4 months)


Broilers – How Much Feed Do I Need?

Broilers – per bird

    1st Three Weeks – Approximately 3 lbs. Starter Feed
    Weeks 4-10 – Approximately 12 lbs. Broiler/Grower Feed
    A finished broiler will consume approximately 15 lbs. of feed total.

30 Broilers will require:

    (2) 50 lb. Bags Soy-Free Poultry Starter Feed
    (7) 50 lb. Bags Soy-Free Poultry Broiler/Grower Feed


What Do I Need to Know About Grit?

Why Should I Use Grit?
Birds rush feed through their digestive tracts, keeping it only from 1/2 to 12 minutes in the gizzard. The proper sizes of GRAN-I-GRIT in the gizzard grinds feed particles so small that the bird’s digestive juices can quickly act on every bit of the valuable proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins locked within the feed particles, converting them into a form for absorption into the blood stream where they aid growth and egg production.

Continous feeding of Gran-I-Grit also hslps prevent digestive disturbances, diarrhea, cannibalism, crop bound conditions, and certain forms of paralysis. After passing through the digestive tract, Gran-I-Grit exercises and strengthens the organs, removing mucus and lessening the chance of disease germs being established.

Baby chicks and poults can mistake grit for feed with damaging results. Help them establish correct feeding habits by sprinkling grit over their mash or grain for the first two days. Then feed Gran-I-Grit in separate hoppers.


Small Flock Startup

Whether a micro-flock or a larger endeavor, starting chickens is easy. You need heat, shelter with clean bedding, water, food, and, of course, chicks.

Heat. 90-95º F to start. No drafts. Use a heat lamp for a heat source and elevate it above the floor or ground of your shelter. For day-old chicks start at 90-95º F and reduce the heat approximately 1 degree per day for 30 days. Use a thermometer to be certain the area under the heat lamp (far enough away from the birds to be safe) is the appropriate temperature.

Shelter. A stall in a barn, a portion of an enclosed porch, a corner of a garage, part of a shed, a large box, all of these would work fine for your chicks. It is important that the chicks are contained and safe from predators and in close proximity to their food and water. Bedding of shavings or sawdust or shredded newspaper that can be swept or replaced.

Water. Clean water in a gravity feeder all the time. When your chicks arrive take the chick gently in your hand and dip its beak into the water a couple times until it takes a drink. S/he will be thirsty. Make sure s/he knows where the waterer is. Then feed her the same way, by dipping her beak into the feed.

Food: Countryside Organics Starter for one month. Grower/Broiler until 4 months for layers and till finish for broilers. Layer Feed from 4 months on. Mix some pulverized, hard boiled organic eggs into the starter feed for the first couple of days (it’s what they have been dining on so far!). Add small-sized starter grit, free choice, after 1o days or so. Be sure to not add grit too early as the young chicks may mistake it for feed.

Chicks. Order your chicks mail-order from McMurray Hatchery. You can order a mix and it is fun to go in on an order with friends. Order well in advance of your start date to be guaranteed the type of bird(s) you desire. McMurray will give you a day that you should expect your chickens. Be sure to be available to pick them up from the Post Office.

More info? See this page for more information on raising small flocks of chickens by Harvey Ussery. Harvey also has a great new book on chickens called The Small-Scale Poultry Flock, available on our webstore. For more information on micro-flocks, urban and backyard chickens be sure to see Patricia Forman’s book, City Chicks, also available on our website. See our own FAQ about how much feed for chickens here.

Have fun and as Patricia Foreman says, “May the flock be with you!”