Friday, February 14, 2014

Black Magic
(or the feeding and care of Bearfoot Hollow)

First of all I want you to know that this is what works for US, and our set up.  Yours might be very different and you have to take that into consideration when coming up with a care plan for your own feathers.  That being said, I have had a LOT of requests for what I call 'Black Magic' ..  so called because it's just a little of this and a little of that all mixed together in a bucket/cauldron ;)   I am not a nutrition expert, I do not know the nutrient ratios although I should research it, so please do not approach this recipe as a be all end all.    What I can say is that I have noticed molts go easier,  undernourished animals bounce back quickly, we don't have fertility issues and feather quality is always beautiful.

I am also going to add that we feed Purina Flock Raiser to ALL of our birds -yes, it may be more expensive but it is totally worth it.  If you do nothing at all with the information I give here except understand that feeding the highest quality feed alone with none of the other voodoo ingredients will give you healthy happy animals ~ you will be very happy with the results.  I can not stress enough the importance of a balanced high quality diet for your birds or any of your animals in your care.    I also try to make sure that any bird in a pen without access to pasture gets some sort of greens as often as I think of it.  That can be the sorta wilty lettuce/salad mix in your fridge or picked dandelion leaves or whatever.  Sometimes, somehow sod comes up in the flower beds (imagine!) and I will dig that up and toss it in the pens-dirt and all-and the chickens go crazy for it.  Sometimes, joy of joys, there will be the occasional earthworm for them ;)  

We are also very lucky in that we have an area that allows our birds to free range as much as possible.  All of our ducks, in the off season, are in the front pasture. We are blessed with a year round creek and a seasonal pond.  A muddy duck is a happy duck ;)

Late Fall on the Pond

Winter time Creek

So, now on to the good stuff 

~ The Recipe ~

Start with crumble (like I said we use Flock Raiser) I think it just mixes better than pellets.. but certainly feel free to try pellet! :)  I tried to be good and actually measure this time around ~ there are 6 of those scoops in the cauldron.  

Then add the other stuff:
a scoop of Black Oil Sunflower Seed(a good source of vitamins and minerals)
a small cup of lentils  (we get this from a lady in Toledo) friends will use the lentil mix from the store.. so, do what you have access to.  It's not an essential ingredient I don't think anyway.
1/2 scoop of soaked COB (Corn Oats Barley) and because we had it, a small scoop of the 'sweet COB' (it has Molasses)  Molasses is good because it has minerals in it, and from an old timer helps prevent botulism.  I don't know if that is true or not but I know the birdies like it anyway.  I will sometimes add Molasses to dry COB.  I figure that real unsulfured molasses is probably better besides.  

1/4 cup each of:

2 tsp each of:
red pepper flakes (because of the antioxidents/dewormer qualities)

1 tsp of:

I also will toss in chick grit and some oyster shells. 

Top it all off with enough Wheat Germ Oil to moisten the whole mess.  
Then Mix and Mix and Mix!
**I only mix up small batches, enough that it will be used up within a few days.**

 **Eye of newt, tail of Salamander**

...this, that n the other...

I always have the best intentions 
to order Pure Wheat Germ Oil..
but end up running out and just 
buying at the local feed store ;)
                                    A lil drizzle will do!

and voila! it is Feeenish!

~~~so what is for desert around here you ask?~~~

Scratch, BOSS and mealworms of course!

I also like to give everyone plain yogurt, canned kitten food, and melons on the half shell when the season is in.   Another thing that I like to use is Apple Cider Vinegar in their drinking water.  A couple mL's/gallon.

I hope this all helps and or gives you an idea of how to be creative in making sure your poultry get good nutrition!