Increase egg production, canning lid liners : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Letters to Mother Earth News, Jun/Jul 1993

This morning my wife excitedly collected 40 eggs from our 50 hens. It all started a month ago, while out buying whole corn and Eggette mash for my chickens. I got into a conversation with a farmer who told me that he used to raise fighting cocks. He said that a chicken farmer from down South gave him this method of increasing his egg suppply: each day feed them a little dog food--approximately 25%. When I told the clerk what I wanted, she pointed out a 25-lb bag of dog food and said it was what other farmers fed their chickens. The first time I gave my chickens a small bucket of the food (about a gallon or so), the egg production jumped from 24 to 40. From this time on the count has stayed in the mid-30s. Yesterday I gave them another half bucket--and today 40.

Here's a tip for recycling styrofoam containers from take-out foods. Use them as jar liners.

I hold on to empty jars (pickles, mayonnaise, etc.) for later use but the cardboard liners in the lids are flimsy and tend to mildew when damp. So I take the liners out, press the lids down firmly onto some styrofoam and then twist in order to make a good impression. Then I cut out the circles with a utility knife. (Cut it on the outside of the line so it's slightly bigger than the lid; you can always trim it if it's too large.) Place it into the lid--and voila! The new gasket is waterproof, non-deteriorating, and seals the jar better than a paper product.

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-- Old Git (, April 25, 1999


Old Git,

Thanks for this post. Very interesting tips. My wife wants us to look into some chicken raising and we have the land to do it. I never would have thought about dog food as a supplement. And the lid gasket tip is also good. Never thought about that idea either.

-- Gordon (, April 25, 1999.

Old Git,

Got puppies on the way and have been doing some research on dog food. It might be that you want to be careful about what dog food you give to your chickens. Some dog foods use animals that have been put to sleep (in addition to nutrition-less scraps) and therefore contain those same fatal chemicals in very small amounts. Overtime, however, there may be health concerns for all involved: you and the chickens.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, April 25, 1999.

Stan, I've heard this before and it worries me. Would you please point me to a site where I can get some information? Thanks.

-- Old Git (, April 25, 1999.

Mad cow disease was brought about because the "protein" in the cattle food was actually ground up cow. This is nothing new actually. The dead, diseased, dying and plain old road kill is used by the rendering industry to create protein "crumbles" that is sold to feed mfg companies. They put it into dog food, cat food, chicken feed, pig feed, etc. There is supposedly a ban on using it in ruminant animal feed. There is a TSE advisory committee of the FDA, in the Center for Biologies Evaluation and Research. (TSE - transmissible spongiform encepha....spelling is wrong) BSE is the mad cow type: bovine spongiform encephalies The disease causes "holes" in the brain. They used to claim that there was a species barrier - I don't believe it. The research center in Montana has within the past year, blown holes in that theory I believe. For my baby chicks this year, I finally found a crumble type feed that only uses plant protein....but the company has discontinued the formula I heard. I just add mashed up boiled egg as sprinkles on top of the feed to add a little more protein.

-- jeanne (, April 25, 1999.

Thanks, Jeanne, I'm a bit familiar with BSE--it's one of my Dad's favorite soapboxes. But what I want to find is a site that can tell me which animal food companies are putting diseased carcases and euthanized cats and dogs from shelters into their food. My first serach was unsuccessful; I'll have to try again. I always avoid bags and cans bearing labels referring to mystery "meat" or "meat by-products," but if the "chicken" or "lamb" in the food refers to diseased stock, I'd like to know.

-- Old Git (, April 26, 1999.

One reason for the increased production is the milk by-products used in dog food. Chickens need calcium to make the shells. I have achieved the same results by feeding plenty of grit with oyster shell and/or feeding back the mashed up egg shells to the chickens. Since grit with oyster shell has to be purchased the second method is cheaper.

-- beckie (, April 26, 1999.

Euthanized animals are euthanized with a direct injection of Mag Sulfate. The concentrations available in any processed meat from a euthanized animal would be below the amount that the animal eating the food would normally intake in other routes. Primarily because this does not pass through the vessel bariers after death, and is destroyed in any commercial processing of the heart.

Now, BSE and TSE are VERY VALID concerns.


-- chuck, a Night Driver (, April 26, 1999.

feeding back the mashed up egg shells to the chickens.

Careful doing this. Make sure the shell is pulverized well and mixed in with other feed. If you don't, it promotes cannibalism on the eggs.

-- karen (karen@karen.karen), April 26, 1999.

Check out Earth Island Journal for an in depth article on what is put in ped food. I quit eating meat years ago after finding out how horiible it is not only for the animals, but for people too. I will see if I can find a link for EIJ. Diana Squire put it up for me once, but that was a long time ago.

-- gilda (, April 26, 1999.

I'm going to look through my old magz for seventies info on chicken food recipes, but that will have to wait, busy day today. The Hungarian and I are going to try to rescue some old plants from a 50-year old house due for demolition.

Regarding the stuff put in pet food, Chuck it's not the drugs used in euhanasia that bother me; actually, shelters usually use some kind of pressure chamber, can't remember the details and don't want to. But there are lots of other unexpected ingredients to worry about. What bothers me most is using the bodies of dogs and cats to put into dog and cat food (or any other animal food, for that matter). I'm sure animals in the wild eat all sorts of crap but I'm talking about MY animals! Leaving aside any ethics in the matter, there's the high number of diseased animals in shelters to consider. Then there are diseased cattle and other animals making up the "meat and meat by-products" listed on pet food labels.

I read many tainted-pet-food articles on the Web last night. Apparently, the San Francisco Chronicle did an expose on animal food in their February 19, 1990 issue. I intend to e-mail them for a copy.

What REALLY bothers me is that one opinion I read said that the additives in pet food are causing a spate of kidney cancers (among other diseases) in pets--and some of you know we've just lost a beloved 12-year old cat to kidney cancer.

I'd like to keep my animals as healthy as possible during Y2K because of the lack of veterinary care and meds that might arise. I'm a full-time and Sweetie's a part-time vegetarian, which is fine for omnivores but carnivores can't live on such a diet. I'm just about at the poibnt now of getting that pressure canner I keep thinking about, buying only certified additive-free meat from the health food megalomarket here, and canning my own pet food along with low-acid veggies for us.

If anyone is interested in the pet food recipes I dig up, please let me know. I'll be looking for properly balanced recipes and also adding pet vitamins (after the canned food is opened for use).

-- Old Git (, April 26, 1999.

I am really interested in any pet food recipes you find. Please post them!!!!!

-- jeanne (, April 26, 1999.

my essay at the bottom of the thread addresses, a teeny bit, the potential y2k problems of BSE, dead animals, and defacatory products in animal feed.

-- Mitchell Barnes (, April 26, 1999.

Old Git & others:

I highly recommend the book "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide To Natural Health For Dogs & Cats" as a source for recipes & other good info. I've fed my dogs on home cookin' based upon Dr. Pitcairn's recipes for the last five years & they are thriving!

Neither dog has EVER had their teeth cleaned! After the last check-up this past March the Vet dental hygienist told me the dogs have the teeth of six-month old pups, very clean.

Now if only my cat would eat brown rice...

-- Bingo1 (, April 26, 1999.

Ask any vet ... What do most cats and dogs die from? The answer will be CANCER ! Check the labels on cat and dog food that contain meat, AND fat, as in dry food. You will find BHA (Butilated Hydroxy Anisole) and/or BHT (Butilated Hydroxy Toluene ) added "To preserve freshness". Both were outlawed in England in 1960s , after 10,000 turkeys died mysteriously, and it was discovered that the only change their food/water/enviornment was found to be the feed containing the above mentioned "additives". After hearing this info, I was reading the label on the box of Wheat Chex (1970) and discovered the same chemicals in cereal, "to preserve fressness". Wrote to the FDA to determine what tests had been done to determine that they were safe for human consumption, Back came the answer - ONE ! By whom ??? Not the FDA, but the chemical manufacture himself !!! Also ran an experiment for my science classes. Put different cereals and products on Petri Dishes on back shelf for two weeks that were treated with BHA/BHT .... OPEN to air so any mold spores, etc. could fall on same.Then put covers on same. After TWO YEARS with NO REACTION (spoilage) I disposed of them. NOTHING CAN LIVE ON FOOD EXPOSED TO THESE CHEMICALS !! That's why your cearels and dog foods DON'T SPOIL ( and the food companies NEVER HAVE TO TAKE IT BACK !!!) As a child growing up during the depression, I remember one rule in our house VERY WELL ! Only ONE box of dry cereal at a time; that way we ate it before it molded . Pleasent dreams. Eagle

-- Hal Walker (, April 26, 1999.

If you search on "Pet AND food," you'll come up with tons of sites explaining about the nasty stuff and also offering recipes. This could turn into a very long thread--not a good idea--so perhaps we'd better just look up recipes privately. In the meantime, here are a very good site and some recipes from Dr. Pitcairn's book mentioned above to get you going.

Home Cooked Recipes for Dogs and Cats

(Just Like Mom Used to Hunt! From Dr. Pitcairn's Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Reprinted with permission from Rodale Press.)

Dog Loaf

This recipe uses egg as a binder, so that you can either serve it raw or bake it with bread crumbs or other grains like a meatloaf. It ranges between 24-30% protein, depending on which meat and grain you use. The egg provides adequate vitamin A, along with that in the vegetables.

1/4 pound (1 cup) fairly lean beef heart 6 slices whole wheat bread, crumbled (about 3 cups) 1 cup whole milk 2 large eggs 1/4 cup corn or other vegetables (OK to omit occasionally) 1 tablespoon Healthy Powder* [recipe below] 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 1/2 teaspoons bone meal (or 1000 milligrams calcium or 1/2+ teaspoon eggshell powder) 100 i.u. vitamin E (optional) 1/4 teaspoon of soy sauce or dash of iodized salt (optional) 1 small clove garlic, crushed or minced

Combine all ingredients, adding more water if needed to make a nice texture. Serve raw. Or else press into a casserole dish so it's a 1-2" thick and bake at 350 degrees until set and light browned (20-30 minutes). If you're using a moist grain and not baking it, you may wish to serve the milk separately rather than combine it in the mix. Alternatively, just mix 1/4 cup powdered milk into the recipe.

Yield: 1104 kilo calories, about a day's worth or a 40 pound dog and about three day's worth or a 10 pounder.

Grain substitutes: 1 1/4 cups oats (+2 1/2 cups water = 2 1/2 cups oatmeal) or 1/2 cup bulgur (+1 cup water = 1 1/4 cups cooked). With lean meats only: 3/4 cups cornmeal (+3 cups water = 3 cups cooked); 1/2 cup millet (+1 1/2 cups water = 1 1/2 cups cooked); 1/2 cup barley (1 1/2 cups water = 1 1/2 cups cooked); 2 1/2 cups boiled potatoes.

Meat substitutes: ground or chopped chicken, turkey, lean or medium chuck or hamburger. Beef or chicken liver may be used once in awhile, but not on a regular basis.

Feline Feast

Many cats like corn, so that's our "main-version" grain for this versatile recipe. For the best texture try polenta, a coarser-grind than cornmeal. It's commonly carried in natural food stores. This high protein formula is excellent for pregnant or nursing cats and their growing kittens (alternate poultry with beef).

Since this contains a higher proportion of meat than the other recipes, you can substitute many kinds of grains and meats, both lower and higher protein types, and there is still plenty of protein to spare. Using lean meats, the dry weight percentage of protein ranges from a low of 41% (lean beef heart with rice or potatoes) to a high of 52% (turkey with oats). With fattier meats, the protein ranges from 30% (fatty beef heart with rice or potatoes) to a 40% (regular hamburger with oats). Alternate use of poultry and red meats or combine them in the same recipe.

1 cup cornmeal or polenta (or c. 4 cups cooked) 2 eggs 2 pounds (=4 cups ground turkey or chicken (or lean chuck, lean heart, lean hamburger, liver, giblets, fish or other lean meats) 4 Tbs. healthy Powder* [recipe below] 2 Tbs. bone meal (or 3200 milligrams calcium or 1 3/4 teaspoons eggshell powder) 2 Tbs vegetable oil or butter (or 1 Tbs each) 10,000 i.u vitamin A 100-200 i.u vitamin E

Bring 4 cups (1 quart) water to a boil. Add the cornmeal, stirring rapidly with a fork or whisk to keep it from getting lumpy. (This is easier with polenta). When thoroughly blended, cover and simmer on low heat 10-15 minutes. When done, stir in the eggs and butter, then mix in the remaining ingredients. Immediately freeze whatever cannot be eaten in 2-3 days.

Meat substitutes: It's a good ideas sometimes to use fattier grades of meat, at the same time eliminating the oil and butter; use 2 pounds of beef heart with fat showing, regular hamburger, poultry with skin, or choice chuck roast. When using fatty meals, only use bone meal for the calcium source to make sure there's enough total calcium and phosphorus.

Grain substitutes: 2 cups rolled oats (+4 cups water = 4 cups oatmeal) or 10 slices whole what bread or 4 cups cooked and mashed potatoes or 1 cup (dry) or any of the following: bulgur, millet, buckwheat, barley, brown rice, couscous, amaranth, spelt, quinoa.

Yield: about 6 days' fare for an average cat. Some of the fattier variations provide enough calories for up to 10 days.

*Healthy Powder

Combine 2 cups nutritional yeast, l cup lecithin granules, 1/4 cup kelp or alfalfa powder and 1/4 cup bone meal (or 9000 mg. calcium or 5 tsp. eggshell powder). Optional: 1000 mg. vitamin C (= 1/4 tsp. sodium ascorbate) and 1 tsp. garlic powder. Refrigerate.

Yeast substitution: Omit yeast, reduce bone meal to 5 tsp or calcium to 3200 mg. Add a complete cat multivitamin mineral supplement daily as recommended on the label.

Kelp substitution: Omit kelp, add 3/4 tsp. iodized salt plus 1/4 cup Nature's Recipe Trace Minerals, alfalfa powder, or montmorillonite.

Important Note: Pets, like us, are often creatures of habit. We recommend you introduce the home-cooked natural foods gradually, mixing them at first with their regular food until they are used to it.

Too Busy to Cook?

If you're too busy (as we often are at our shelter) to cook all the time for your pets, there are some premium commercial foods available for dogs and cats that offer quality ingredients without chemicals or coloring. You can mix the homemade foods with them or use them alone. Some examples are: Nature's Recipe, Natural Choice (by Nutro), Sojourner Farms, and Nature's Valley. These companies offer both dry and wet natural foods for dogs and cats. These quality foods are available at most pet food supermarkets and/or at health food stores and cooperatives that carry pet food, but not at most regular grocery stores. You'll pay a bit more for them, but in the long run, you'll find your pet will live a healthier, longer life as a result. At ARCH we, like most pet lovers, feel it's a small price to pay for our animal friends' well being.

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-- Old Git (, April 26, 1999.

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