Sunday, March 20, 2011

~ How to Make Your Own Chick Starter & Elecrolyte Water ~

This is what we are using for a chick starter this year. We left the grains whole but soaked them and the chicks are eating them fine. I think we are going to run them through the grain grinder on coarse for the next batch just to make it a little easier for the little ones to eat.

2 cups wheat
1 cup each of oats and barley
3/4 cup greenstuff
3/4 cup lentils or peas, which ever the co-op has
1/4 raw milk kefir
1 Tablespoon molasses
3 teaspoons trace mineral salt
pieces of apple core, carrot peelings, alfalfa,...

We decided to make our own electrolyte mix for their water this year as well.

1 qrt of water
1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp sea salt

We really just wanted to get away from all commercial feeds and mixes so that we can make sure that we know exactly what our birds are getting. We get organic grains and when we mix them ourselves it is also cheaper. Stay tuned for some more pictures, the boys ordered "ninja chicks" for their 4H projects and they are so cute. This post is shared at:

23 comments:

  1. I just got chicks last week - haven't even had a chance to write a post about it yet!
    pringing to use:)!!
    Blessings1
    LIB
    http://bit.ly/hz65XC

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  2. We just got chicks about a week ago and didn't know there was an alternative way to feed them--without the antibiotics. Thanks for the recipe. One question--what do you use for "green stuff"?

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  3. Hi Anon ~ for green stuff we use old lettace, carrot peels, apple core... The co-op had slightly frost bit lettace the other day for $1/head. I bought what was left and fed the outer leaves to the chicks and we ate the inner ones. You could ask at your grocery store for any of the old green leaf lettace that they are going to toss. As the chicks get bigger, around 8 weeks, you can feed them your all kitchen scraps.

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  4. i was just searching for what to feed chickens last night - this is wonderful! a couple of clarifications ... how much raw milk kefir? (1/4 cup?) and is Real Salt or Himalayan Salt ok for the mineral salt? Also - is there anything you are NOT supposed to feed a chicken? Thanks for your post!

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  5. 1/4 cup would work, I just kind of dump some in. For their water I use Celtic sea salt but for their mineral salt I use one specific for chickens. We feed our chickens all of our food scraps from the house even meat scraps. When they free range they will catch mice, toads, etc... so I figure why not throw the meat in too! As far as I know there isn't anything that is off limits.

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  6. Thank you thank you for this post! When we got our chicks last weekend, I cringed as we loaded the bags of chick starter into the pickup... I've tried to do some research, but got totally intimidated with the complicated recipes and ingredients I've found online. Bookmarking this for sure. Thanks for sharing this at the Homestead Barn Hop!

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  7. Just thought of a couple questions:
    Would you advise soaking the coarsely ground grains, or feeding them as is?
    Also, do you chop up the "greenstuff" and kitchen scraps while they are this small?

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  8. The grain grinder is still in two pieces so we have been soaking the whole grains so that it is easier on the food processor. The one advantage to soaking their food is that they get extra moisture and won't get dehydrated as easily.
    I have been chopping their green stuff too. This afternoon I grated a couple of carrots for them for a snack.

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  9. Very interesting post! It can be hard for 21st century homesteaders to break away from the 'commercial' feeds because we've done it that way so long, but you've done a nice job detailing a great alternative. Thanks for Linking up and sharing on the Barn Hop!

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  10. Oh - and do you think we could use yogurt instead of kefir? Don't have raw milk kefir around, and I've not had luck making it (it turns out chunky from the culture).

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  11. Oops! Don't think my last comment got posted! Just checking in to see if you've found this recipe to have enough protein, if you're unable to supplement with meat scraps on a daily basis. Do you have any suggestions for adding some fish to it, for omega 3s as well? We're bringing home our baby chicks tomorrow, and I don't want to have to use a commercial feed, but this is a new venture for me!

    Thanks!
    Susie

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  12. Susie - 1. you could use yogurt,(my kefir turns out chunky too, I just stir it through a plastic fine mesh strainer to break up the curds and to find my grains for the next batch. Mine has curds b/c most of the time I let it sit out too long.)
    2. We found this to have enough protein b/c the chicks are free ranged almost from the beginning. You could add some 100% beef gelatin to the mix and that would up the protein, you can add sea kelp, or you could go to a pet store that has reptiles and get wax worms. You might be able to get fish bones from your grocery store if they have fresh fish in their meat section. I hope this helps!

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  13. How many chickens are you feeding with this formula? How long does it last? I'm trying to figure out how to convert it for 50 chicks.

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    Replies
    1. this was one feeding for 60 something birds (we had geese and ducks then too)

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  14. Do you mix all the ingredients together in a blender or just mix them in a bowl? I have a vitamix, but I'm afraid if i put them all in there it will be more like a smoothie than food.

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    1. I put mine in the food processor and just pulsed the mix to break up some of the bigger things like the field peas.

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    2. If you run your vitamix at a 3 you turn it into a food processor. But you have to do small amounts at a time.

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  15. If I wanted to only feed 3-5 chicks what would the portions be and how long do they stay on this? We are getting our first chickens in a few weeks and I want them to be all organic from the start.

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    1. Hi Jaci -

      You could mix this up and just keep it in the fridge until you have fed it all out and then make a new batch. You would want to give your bits of greens fresh everyday. I think we fed this mix for at least eight weeks.

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  16. This is THE BEST recipe I have some across, and adding Milk Kefir-awesome idea :) Thank you so much, we just dont trust the commercial food, especially with the high GMO rate of fodder crops around here and the great thing is I already have all these ingredients at home. Our baby chicks will love this.
    Again, Thank you so much.

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    1. Hi K DiZzLe ~

      Thanks for stopping by and I am glad that the chick starter is working so well for you. I agree, it is hard to trust what you are really getting when it comes to commercial feed.

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  17. Hi Megan! I LOVE this recipe!! My chicks are doing so great! I was wondering what you give your ladies as a supplemental layer feed for winter? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tonya May ~

      We are very blessed to have a local organic co-operative growers association about a hour away so we are able to get organic/transitional layer mix in the winter. We have also been using alfalfa hay and this winter we are going to supplement with worms.

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