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Mixing your own chicken feed.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I know this has been a topic of some discussion and may be too redundant for some, but as a small scale "chicken farmer" I feel the need to learn the art of feeding my chickens high quality, fresh and nutritious food and do it in a way that promotes better health rather than leaving them deficient in something. So, again I am asking for any advice you can offer on growing crops for you chicken feed or finding local sources of fresh grains and ingredients.

I found this recipe at http://www.upc-online.org/home.html and I was wondering if anyone had anything to add or any criticism of the recipe itself.

65% grains - barley, corn, milo (sorghum), millet, oats, wheat, brown rice.

10% alfalfa meal or ground hay

16 - 20% sunflower or oil seeds, dried peas or cooked soybeans

7% hydrated lime

1% trace mineral salt


does this seem like a good mix?


Edited by Jashdon - 8/22/08 at 2:01pm
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"Regard it just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral."

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post #2 of 13

I make my own scratch feed. I buy old fashioned oats, flaxseeds, and wild bird seeds or I do oats, cracked corn, and add things like cooked but dried lentils and any other thing I can mix in like a friend gave me some grits, so I mixed that in and I've mixed in wheat flour and cornmeal. I change it up depending on what I have.

post #3 of 13

You'll want to keep an eye on minerals, nutrients, and protein.  I find this site helpful...

http://www.lionsgrip.com/recipes.html

post #4 of 13

Do you mean ag lime instead of hydrated? The hydrated is very caustic and usually what they use in stalls to neutralize the urine smell. Ag lime is what they eat if you're using lime for calcium.

I personally use oyster shell and/or aragonite flour for calcium. smile

Happily married to a very wonderful husband, proud mom of 2, 3 American Buff Orps,1 American Black Orp, 6 English Orps(3 Blue, 3 Black), 3 Buckeyes, 12 Black Copper Marans, 3 Cuckoo Marans, 4 Lavender Orps,  2 Buff Laced Brahmas 6 dogs(2 Poms, 2 Border Collies, 1 Border mix,1 Labrador Ret), 10 cats

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Happily married to a very wonderful husband, proud mom of 2, 3 American Buff Orps,1 American Black Orp, 6 English Orps(3 Blue, 3 Black), 3 Buckeyes, 12 Black Copper Marans, 3 Cuckoo Marans, 4 Lavender Orps,  2 Buff Laced Brahmas 6 dogs(2 Poms, 2 Border Collies, 1 Border mix,1 Labrador Ret), 10 cats

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post #5 of 13

I have spent a lot of time reading and researching and now mix my own feed. There are really a lot of options that will work, and many more that won't. A couple web sites I like are:

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=2114&page=23

One book I wouldn't be without is "Feeding Poultry" by G.F. Heuser--it is a big read, but if you are going to mess around with your chicken's feed, it seems like a good idea to know what you are messing with. Do some research and then go with what works for.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickiedoodle 

I have spent a lot of time reading and researching and now mix my own feed. There are really a lot of options that will work, and many more that won't. A couple web sites I like are:

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=2114&page=23

One book I wouldn't be without is "Feeding Poultry" by G.F. Heuser--it is a big read, but if you are going to mess around with your chicken's feed, it seems like a good idea to know what you are messing with. Do some research and then go with what works for.


Chickiedoodle, I use the poultry nutrition site too. I love it - very informative ... lots of reading.

However, I have not been able to open the nal.usda.gov web link you posted. Have you checked it? I only ask because I have tried a number of times to access it since you posted without luck.

Thanks! -keljonma

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by keljonma 

. . .
However, I have not been able to open the nal.usda.gov web link you posted. Have you checked it? I only ask because I have tried a number of times to access it since you posted without luck.

Thanks! -keljonma


That's the the "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference" chickiedoodle was linking. If you have problems with the link, do a google search. The page is for many, many foods and you can type in something like "chickpeas," select the "legumes and legume products" then the "Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, raw" and "100 grams" to learn that there are 19.30 grams (19.3%) protein in 100 grams of garbanzo beans.

This doesn't tell you much about using this food in a chicken ration formula but it will give you some ideas about what might be a good food and where things fall kind of short. For example, lots of people feed their chickens lettuce. I'm sure there are vitamins and such that make it a good idea and I give my chickens lettuce as well. However . . . . you can learn from the database that iceberg lettuce is less than 1% protein so you couldn't give them too much, too often without compensating for that significantly below 16% protein level that a hen requires from her rations.

(Maybe a lettuce and garbanzo bean salad . . . wink)

I'm very inclined to feed my chickens what I would consider "good, healthy" food from my garden and kitchen. That's not quite the same as mixing my own feed but a step in that direction. What I've done over the years is keep a commericial feed available for them free-choice and provide, maybe, as much as 50% of other food on some days.

Steve

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post #8 of 13

However, I have not been able to open the nal.usda.gov web link you posted. Have you checked it? I only ask because I have tried a number of times to access it since you posted without luck.

Thanks! -keljonma


Sorry about that. I don't know why the link didn't work right, but digitS' is right, it is the USDA database so maybe google will work. The site will help you see not only protein but also amino acids and minerals etc. that are in the food.

post #9 of 13

I would really like to start mixing my own feed and I am wondering where you buy your grains and other things in bulk?  Also, do you find it is cheaper or more expensive by mixing yourself?

post #10 of 13

A knowledgeable old-timer here on the Big Isle buys organic corn seed and soaks it in water over night (batches enough for a few days). He then rinses it and soaks it again and again until the corn sprouts. He feeds it to his chickens. Supposedly easy to digest. Apparently sprouted grains are as good for chickens as is Essene Bread for humans. He also spouts barley, oats, wheat berries, etc.

I'll be trying it once mine start to layany day now. I'll post results later.

Kerry


Edited by Kerry - 9/3/08 at 3:15am
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