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Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › My favorite chicken died this morning.

My favorite chicken died this morning. I'm devastated and also need to know what happened.

Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 155
I have a hard time sprouting the BOSS, they get eaten by wild birds or critters. I usually can sprout them in compost, if they are buried. They don't like them as much as barley, oat or wheat sprouts, either. I may try though.

Susan, sorry to hear about TicTic. It's nice that you tried so hard to help, sometimes there isn't anything to do, I guess. We get them for a limited time, sadly.

Cynthia, I'm thinking I may only use boss as treats (bribery) for getting then to return to the coop, etc. I do need to find out what safe amounts are. I'd like to find out about mealworms also. There's a lady on the Calif. poultry people Facebook page that swears the hens can only handle 5 sunflower seeds a day. My feed had more than that, for sure, even the commercially mixed stuff has more than that. She also advocates more protein, less carbs/grains. I actually agree with her on that, since chickens, like cows, have been switched from grass/ foraging to grain based diets for commercial production. I wanted to avoid that, so I began the process of mixing my food. It was a little too late, I guess.

Ann, you are right. She taught me a lot. Maybe she started a really hard dialogue also. I'm hoping people look inward and reflect that maybe they are doing something without knowing it. The thing that's crazy about the Boss thing is that, I was trying to give their treats in metered amounts with their food, rather than randomly throughout the day. My son loves to feed them mealworms , I need to check on those also.

About UC Davis- no, they haven't said it was BOSS specifically, yet. Not sure they can. But I'm in a position of knowing EXACTLY what is in their food and the content of protein, etc. I made most of the food and simply blended some pellets in. They were getting almost no commercially produced feeds, just the small amount that was fermented in with the whole grains. The ONLY other thing besides the BOSS they could have gotten was limited table scraps and some extra eggs around Easter. I gave them 2 dozen head boiled eggs over the course of about 10 days, so maybe half an egg per chicken, unless Claire was hogging most of them.

My new plan-
I'm going to give one scoop of fermented feed per bird in separate areas so they eat their own food.
Mix my own food fully with a higher protein content, with more varied grains and do more research on the topic. For those who are interested, I'll post the results.
No more BOSS, except in tiny quantities.
Drastically limit meal worms until I can find out if these are an issue and how many are safe to give.
No table scraps, only fresh food and maybe an occasional meat treat.
Food once a day, no free feeding.
Grow even more sprouts. Free weeds, forever.

Lastly, to try to help others avoid Claire's fate.
Amanda G
user 12128708
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 150
Brandi I sprout Mung beans & Lentils and the girls LOVE them! They have more protein then the standard grains etc etc. Roberta didn't you say at the fermenting meetup that mung beans have the same amount of protein as steak?? Was that it???

I wouldn't think that mealworms would be a problem unless you are giving them a ton! Are they fresh or dried?? My theory is that the dried ones are like eating protein rice cakes ... not much substance almost like eating air :) I have meal worm bins going and they are FINALLY giving me some worms! My girls will stand and gobble as fast as I can drop them... same with the BSFL .... I think bugs are the best food for the hens .... Are your BSFL back???

I'll be curious to see what you find out .... I am hoping the sunflower seeds are less fatty sprouted I am going to reduce the amount I put in my homemade scratch .... some days when they are noisy in the morning they get A LOT to try and quiet them down!! I think they are noisy on purpose because they know the treats will come out! See chickens aren't so stoopid afterall :)
Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 156

I feed fresh meal worms. I'm going to try to find out fat content. Protein doesn't appear to be the issue. It's the fats. I don't feed that many worms but I should "grow" them. I use rolled organic oats for mine, but I didn't get very many. How long did it take to get up and running? My BSF are around but I leave them alone for the most part, I'll start harvesting soon.

I'll look into mung and lentils. I have 50 lbs of lentils and quinoa now from Azure for my feed. They are going to get sprouted, for sure, along with going into my "diet" feed. I'm going to consider raising my protein up to 20 or so. There are people who use up to 22%. I need to ask UC Davis about where they get their nutritional requirements. I'll ask about ideal protein content, carb/grain issues and try to glean what the chickens need to have, rather than allowing commercial poultry operations to dictate what feed we should be giving.

I'm pretty frustrated that this happened. I was acutely aware of the issue and was the number one reason I decided to mix feed and ferment my own. To have my hen die after gorging herself was particularly distressing and insulting, really. I feel I failed horribly because I knew it was happening, but was powerless to stop it.
Amanda G
user 12128708
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 152
It took FOREVER for my meal worms to thrive ... and I have 2 bins one is in full swing and the other is not nearly as successful! The less successful one was a much smaller bin so I just dumped all the contents into a bigger rubbermaid tub and added a ton more bran..... They are growing and multiplying but not nearly as fast as the other bin. The thriving bin has eaten all of their bran... its just dust now ... so I need to replenish it. They munch down carrots as fast as I can put them in!! It is CRAZY!!!!
Amanda G
user 12128708
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 153
Brandi I posted your question on a BYC thread today and here is some info I got!!!

Most of the current research on fatty liver disease has found that VEGETABLE OILS (PUFAs: Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) and CARBOHYDRATES (sugars) - and especially fructose which is metabolized in the LIVER combine to cause those issues. When eating fats and protein from animal sources, and in moderation coconut oil, there weren't the same issues.

Subsisting on a diet of mostly "vegetable proteins" (read: grains, legumes, seeds) seems to make the problem worse. Corn, especially, is a HUGE issue relating to fatty liver disease.

This is one of the reasons it's so important to get those kiddos out eating from the land - bugs, toads, snakes, fresh greens, etc., or to supplement with animal protein as much as you can afford.

You can see why fatty liver would be so prevalent based on the grain, legume and vegetable oil diets we feed many animals (and ourselves!). (They've done several studies on how grain based feed effects dogs and this is one of them!)

PS: What i wrote about FLD is VERY SIMPLIFIED... There is a lof of info and didn't want to dump too much!

"including egg yolks, liver, other organ meats, and spinach in the diet, as well as avoiding polyunsaturated oils and refined foods—especially sugar" is a good start!

Also seems that deficiency in choline and methionine combined with the other issues is huge. Egg yolks, liver organ meats can help this.

TABLE 1. Choline in Selected Foods
Data taken from the USDA Database for Choline Content of Common Foods.USDA Chart
Food Choline (mg/100 g) Food Choline (mg/100 g)

Egg yolk, raw 682 Pistachios 72
Beef liver, pan-fried 418 Chicken, roasted 66
Chicken liver, pan-fried 309 Salmon, dry heat 65
Whole egg, raw 251 Cashews 61
Turkey Heart, simmered 173 Pine nuts 56
Wheat germ 152 Almonds 52
Bacon, pan-fried 131 Macadamia nuts 45
Mutton, roasted 100 Brussels sprouts, boiled 41
Turkey gizzard, simmered 82 Pecans 41
Shrimp, canned 81 Broccoli, boiled 40
Hamburger, broiled 81 Cauliflower, boiled 39
Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 162

That's interesting! Mine never got sugar, nor much fruit. I usually feed veggies, grass and weeds. I did give some table scraps that were meat or eggs. I don't do any scratch. I did have some non gmo corn in the feed, but mostly grains. I'm thinking I can mix my feed with higher protein, I was planning that anyway. I'm guessing all the floor feeding in my shed gave her way more of everything. I'm trying to figure out what the hell happened. I'm kind of stumped since I gave them whole grain food. Clearly the grains were a major factor. I may need to up the protein with lentils, quinoa, etc.

I was trying to figure out what animal protein to supplement with before this anyway. I guess I can get some crazy stuff from the local butcher or even a guy I know who processes his own meats after raising them.

I'm curious what the full report will say. Maybe I'll feel less like I completely failed!!
Sunland, CA
Post #: 189
Ey ey ey, my head is swimming with all this great info! It's like being in a chemistry class all over again... wait I never took chemistry maybe that's why my head is swimming, lol
It does my heart good to know they are more than a few of us out there who care so much about giving their chic the most healthful life possible, ans the lengths we go to to recreate nature, She is a wonderous being!
I am interested in the protein issue. I had read early on that too much protein was not favorable and the research Amanda has done is contradictoryconfused
I have been mixing small amount of alfalfa pellets (organic from Azure Standard) in with my fermented feed. I know alfalfa is supposed to have a fairly substantial protein content but I haven't seen it on any of the info posted on this thread (unless I missed it).
I am going to look into the mung bean/lentil sprouting option (although my sprouting success in this hot weather has been pretty dismal, I need to find a new spot for my trays now that it's heating up), I think sprouting and fodder are the next best way to go after actual foraging ( and actually having a good amount of weeds, greens & bugs available for their "Sizzler-style" buffet, which is a change for many of us who love the look of our fairly pristine gardens). Mother nature knows the correct proportions of fats/carbs/proteins/vitamins. I think the idea of a w i d e variety of greens & sprouts is optimal as well, that way nothing potentially 'non-optimal' has a chance to build up in their systems, just like with humans.
Thanks to all who have contributed to this most valuable thread, I'm so grateful for great info, insight and caring love struck
Sunland, CA
Post #: 190
Oh! I knew there was one other thing I wanted to bring light to; spinach! Spinach takes up and STORES A LOT OF LEAD! I would not eat or give spinach to my birds unless I grew it myself in clean soil that had been tested for lead levels or knew the farmers (even the organic farms can have a great deal of lead in their soil) that grew it and they had had a soil test done to determine the amount of lead in their soil, it's no joke.
I'm a vegetarian and used to eat a lot of spinach for the iron but the more I educated myself the less likely I was to eat it.
It seems to be a particular problem in gardens that are near old houses or buildings that had lead based paint (i.e a majority of community gardens and many of our own urban gardens)
More food for thoughtbiggrin
Laura B.
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 114
If you are feeding your chickens the same food year 'round, then it is not natural. Feral chickens would eat based on what is available seasonally, so their diet would change throughout the year.

Perhaps part of the problem is their systems are being hammered with the same foods all the time instead of having a plethora of greens and young insects in spring, mature greens, mature insects, immature seeds and grains, and mature fruit throughout the summer and into fall, and then mostly mature seeds and grains, hardy greens and whatever else they can find through the winter. Just a thought.

I started eating seasonally a few years ago because I firmly believe that is how we are meant to eat. My chickens get their basic ration plus seasonal fruits and vegetables. I do not feed BOSS, but I do feed mealworms.

One last thing, don't spend so much of your life running around trying to figure out how to avoid dying that you forget to live. No one gets out of this life alive, and while Claire may have gone earlier than you would have liked her to, I bet she had a blast while she was living. She had a quality life, and there are no guarantees that if you fed her the perfectly formulated food that she would have lived any longer. The simple truth is our chickens are not selected for longevity, and I do not know of anyone who is breeding for long lives.

Ann, lead is also a problem in any soil that was near highways, freeways, auto shops, gas stations etc., before 1995 when the EPA finally banned leaded gas being sold through gas stations. Everyone in So Cal should have their soil tested for lead. I read an article some time back about how people think their home grown eggs are so much healthier, but in fact because home chickens are scratching around in soil that may contain contaminants, the battery eggs often contain far less heavy metal and other chemical contaminants.
Amanda G
user 12128708
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 155
Brandi the knowledgeable person on the other thread posted a link for you on Fatty Liver Disease! She is reamlly busy but said this is a good place to start.

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