Poultry Mineral Deficency???

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by clydescomm, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. clydescomm

    clydescomm Member

    I'm new to Prepared Society but I thought I would ask the group about a solution for what we think is a mineral deficiency. As you all know to be prepared you have to have food, water and shelter. Animal husbandry is not something you pick up over night. We are raising chickens, guineas and turkeys amongst other livestock (beef, goats, horses, etc.). We lived in KS until a year ago. The layers are for egg production. The fryers and turkeys are for cooking. The guineas supplement the guard dogs and clean up the ticks, chigger, flies when left to free range. The beef put meat in the freezer. We buy a hog annually from the neighbor. The goats forage the broadleaf weeds including poison ivy and oak. The horse provide a means of transportation if things get really bad. We tried raising poultry on non medicated starter feed in KS and the losses were significant. Once we switched to medicated starter feed our survival rate increased dramatically. We stopped feeding scratch grain because the poultry would eat the corn but leave the milo. Cracked corn is cheaper and that is what we use to feed out the steers during their last 90 days. Now in NC, we are starting over and the poultry eats everything we put in front of them. Chickens include fryers and layers. At about 4 months old the layers are doing well but many of the fryers have not gained weight like they should and are now having troubles being gimpy all the time. The turkeys are fine but we are losing the guineas at a fairly consistent rate (at least 1 per week). One day they are fine and the next they can not stand up then perish before sunset. We do have them in a chicken tractor that we try to move every couple weeks. The average daily temperature has been over 100 degrees with high humidity for weeks now. We have a fan running 7x24 in the coop. Free choice scratch grain and water supplemented by grass and weeds pulled from the garden every other day when we collect our vegetables. They attacked a watermelon the other day like they hadn't eaten in weeks. I know that vinegar will help stop cannibalization if an over crowding situation exists. That hasn't been our problem and we haven't tried vinegar as of yet. Anyone have any suggestions?
  2. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    It is really hard to say, it might not be a food related problem, it might me one of the odd chicken/poultry diseases. Like Meraks or cocsiddosis. (sheesh try spelling that) or it could be the heat.
    I do want to say that I read an article about feeding whole corn to chickens and poultry as they can readily digest the whole grain* and whole grain does not go stale or develop mold like the cracked corn can and mold poisoning can kill off many chickens and I am assuming other poultry as well. Check all your feed to make sure that moisture combined with the hot weather has not caused any mold to form on the feed. Now I am highly allergic to molds and can tell almost instantly when the feed has gotten moldy. But look for a "powder that sticks" to the corn and is not just the normal dust you get with grains.
    If you are feeding dry mash (or crumbles as they are called now) see if they are sticking together in clumps- might be mold. Usually if it is free flowing it is dry and ok.
    *I have been feeding my chickens mixed in with the expensive scratch grains some whole corn and have not found any whole corn in the poo and the chickens are now laying much better even in the heat. They love the whole corn and will pick it out first and then eat the rest of the oats, wheat, and toasted soybeans... Now if I buy cheap scratch (like from TSC ) it has much millet and milo and the chickens just turn up their noses but the little sparrows flock to the pen. I wish I could free range but we have too many loose dogs and coyotes.:(

    ETA: I forgot do you organic garden or use pesticides/fungicides? any chemicals put in the garden will go right to the chickens on the pulled weeds and extra produce. Just a thought.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010

  3. clydescomm

    clydescomm Member

    Thanks for the feedback Emerald. So far the (Nutrena) scratch we have fed has not been moldy. The humidity combined with the heat here has been ridiculous. We have a fan running in our chicken tractor 7x24.

    No weed killers but we did till in about 2 pickup truck loads of horse manure (included a small portion of sawdust, hay, alphalfa scraps from the stalls). The garden has been doing great! A neighbor used a by product from the cotton ginning process and he hasn't even gotten a tomato yet. He told us he was going to try to replant.
  4. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    First the heat and high humidity are hard on any critter this time of year ... you can only do so much. The fans work as well as ice bottles ... but other than that it is juct a part of our season. (good or bad as it is:))

    Second ... know your weeds. (leason learned on my part:eek:) and remember in high humidity and heat it does not take long for grass and weeds to sour. My rule of thumb is feed only what they will clean up in 15 minutes.

    If you think they have a mineral deficiency try a layer pellet for a week or so and see...

    July and August are monster months ... (so to speak) you just need to know how to work within them.
  5. clydescomm

    clydescomm Member

    Switched feed

    We switched to a Dumor grower\finisher feed from Tractor Supply and everyone appears to be doing better. Thanks to all who responded.