Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chicken feed protein change and getting ready for winter when it's 85

I know winter is coming.  It says so on the calendar.  That and it's dark when I wake up at 4:45 each morning.  But you'd never know by the weather.  In the 80s all week is not winter is coming. 

The raspberries started dying last week.  I figured it was because it was the end of the season.  After all, it's supposed to be fall.  I am still watering a couple times per week because of the weather but something just didn't look right.  Some plants were green and others very brown.  I went out and took a look at my hose and found a section three inches long that had the entire top half chewed off!  The critters are at it again.  So I dragged 500 feet of garden hose out to the front and hand watered each plant.  It took a while to fully saturate the ground and each plant.  I bent each of the brown stems.  They were still very pliable and some had small leaves shooting out of the stalks.  They weren't dead, just very stressed.  I also noticed that on the plants that were still green they had just bloomed.  Even the plants are confused as to what season this is.  This is the second or third hose that's been eaten.  I think I'm going to have to trench the ground and put in PVC pipe and sprinklers.  I wonder if they will eat that too?  I'll have to look into it before I put out that kind of money and effort.  I just don't want to have to hand water the berries all year.  Now if I lose my job at the end of the month when they tell everyone who gets laid off, who gets transferred, and who has no changes, then I'd have lots of time and may not mind hand watering!   

I also climbed up onto the roof to sweep off leaves and dirt.  I'm amazed how much dirt ends up on the roof.  How does it get there?  I don't like being on the roof.  Well it's not really the roof but the ladder.  Most deadly or severely injurious accidents at home have something to do with ladders.  While I always use good practices while climbing up and down there is always a possibility of making a mistake.  My sister's neighbor across her street fell off a ladder while on the roof.  He died.  But all was well, the ladder didn't move, my roof is clean. 

I went to my local feed store to stock up on chicken lay pellets.  When the chickens stop laying during the winter I used to give them scratch and some greens since it was much cheaper than the lay pellets and they weren't laying anyway.  Now, the price is about the same.  I figured I'd stock up with several hundred pounds.  My local feed store only had three bags.  OK, I'll take those three.  I noticed that the bag was different and I commented on that.  The owner said it's the same company, which is local to the Great Central Valley (many different feed companies are local), just a different brand.  I looked at the bag and did see the same main company name.  When I brought it home the first thing I noticed was that the size of the pellet was halfway between the old brand's mash and pellets.  I always buy the pellets because there seems to be less waste by the chickens than using the mash.  The chickens seemed to like it.  Then I read the label.  Now I'm pissed.  This new brand by the same company has 14% protein rather than 16%.  Less protein, more filler, same price.  No thanks!  Are all feed companies going to this?  Is this the new marketing trick? A 50 pound sack is a 50 pound sack but if you change the formula you will make more money off the sack.  How many people are going to notice the change in protein?  Probably not many.  There are several feed stores around.  I'm going to be checking them out and hopefully I'll be able to find one that isn't switching the product. 


  1. How much does your feed cost? I got some Feather Fixer with 18% protein to help some of my hens going through a hard molt and the regrowth is much faster than normal. Expensive though.

    1. My last receipt - Layer Pellets $14.95 for 50 lbs. Scratch $13.95 for 50 lbs. Alfalfa is $15.95 for 110-120 lb. bale.

  2. Glad we are able to grow our own feed...My chickens don't cost a cent.

    I spent 1/2 day on a ladder changing light bulbs...scared the bee jeez out of me. I'm not good with heights.

  3. Fall cleaning in preparation for the rains makes me worry. The ladder is one part. Will it rain enough this year to make it worth cleaning up? Minor things really.

    We will be looking into the chicken feed issue. We feed much of the garden "waste" including snails and grubs. Haven't had chicken health issues yet.

  4. I think we paid $180 a ton for hay this year. I feed layer pellets @16% and I think they are right around $14-$16 a 50 lb bag. I switch over this time of year to the 18% all flock when the girls start moulting. After egg laying quits I switch to scratch.