A Better feed for a Better Price?

Mar 20, 2009
632
9
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Taneytown
~~I have been doing a bit of research for a healthier and cheaper chicken feed for my chickens. Here is what I have decided to try and wanted to share it and also see what other people think or doing something sumular as well..

Im just getting started and never done it before so Its in the trial/experimental and learning stage for me, as things progress I will have more accurate measurements and weights that I will post up along with how I am doing it.

Here is a list of my estimated 2 months supply of ingredients I decided to use by weight and price for the mix Im going to do. 50 pound bag of Wheat $12.50, 50 pounds Horse Alfalfa pellets $18.00, 50 pounds of Flax seed $40.00, 50 pounds of food grade Diatomaceous earth $34.00, 50 pounds Layer Crumbles $14.00, pack of powdered vitamins $3.00 for a total cost of 121.50 divided by 60 days is $2.03 per day for 15 pounds of feed for about 40 chickens is my guess but won’t know for sure until I get going.

I went out to my local hardware store and bought a rack with 7 open shelves and 14-16” by 12” aluminum pans to start growing my Wheat and or Barley fodder. Once I have the 7 day cycle going with the fodder each day I should harvest around 12+ pounds every day.

Here is my feed mix and estimated amounts I will use each day. 8 cups of wheat seed to produce 2 pans of fodder 12 pounds. I will chop up the fodder and add 1 cup of hydrated alfalfa pellets, 2 cups Flax seed, 4 cups layer crumbles, ¼ cup DE and ½ teaspoon powdered vitamins to help make a nice balanced mix for them.

If it works out I would be feeding my chickens for free after I sell 1 dozen for $2.00 each day

So what do ya’ll think??
Do you think I have a good mix??
If I can feed 40 birds or so a day on 2 bucks is that a good rate??

Thanks, Randy
 

Odelia

Songster
Feb 20, 2014
947
61
128
Idaho
Here is my feed mix and estimated amounts I will use each day. 8 cups of wheat seed to produce 2 pans of fodder 12 pounds. I will chop up the fodder and add 1 cup of hydrated alfalfa pellets, 2 cups Flax seed, 4 cups layer crumbles, ¼ cup DE and ½ teaspoon powdered vitamins to help make a nice balanced mix for them.
I am not saying it is wrong so don't get defensive. Why are you chopping up the fodder and mixing it with the dry feed? Why not put the dry feed in a regular feeder and put the fodder out for them to eat the way comes out of the grow tray? Have you considered fermenting the dry feed?
 

Percheron chick

Crowing
Apr 12, 2013
3,980
1,623
301
Boulder, Colorado
Your costs aren't even on the radar. First you are not mixing equal amounts so your total of $121.50, isn't correct. You are using 32X more wheat than DE. You have to figure out what each product costs per cup if that's your unit of measurement. One cup of wheat does not weigh the same as one cup of alfalfa pellets.

We can all agree than an average hen will consume about 4 oz of feed per day in moderate weather and with no free ranging. 40 hens would go through about 10# of layer a day. 10# of fodder is not the same thing as 10# of layer. Fodder is approximately 85% water depending upon how long you grow it. Water has no nutritive value. Another way to look at things is if it's 85% water than it's only 15% stuff. My chickens can't produce if they are lacking 85% of the calories and nutrients they need to survive and lay. Laying will be the first thing that goes out the door.

The blend is going to be very low in protein and have an inverted Ca:p. Where's the Ca going to come from? How do you know if it's a balanced diet?
 
Mar 20, 2009
632
9
141
Taneytown
Like I said its something I am messing around with and no expert by any measurement and until I see results for myself I will have to rely on what I have read and seen, so far from what I can tell Fodder is a good food source and cheaper than regular feed..

I give them plenty of grit and ground up oyster for calcium, DE should help a little as well and its good to help with internal parasites, I add a little laying crumbles to help out with the fodder might be missing and the type I use is made from fermented grains , I give them rehydrated Alfalfa because of what I have read about it for chickens, I give them the flax seed to help with the omega's and a little powdered vitamins to help ensure they don't lack in that.

Yes I do feed fermented food. A mix of wild bird seed, laying crumbles, flax seed and alfalfa

Cost? well I was going by what I would use in a months time, if I use 20 pounds of something I use 20 pounds of something and if it costs say $10.00 I would divide it by the day in the month to come up with the daily cost so if I take the total amount of stuff used in a month and add up its value?? The cost is what it is.. SO I think Im close on that if I use the amounts I think I will, again like I said as far as what I use I will tweek amounts used once Im doing it real time

I love my birds and will be watching them very, very close to ensure they are ok

I think this has covered everything I guess
 
Mar 20, 2009
632
9
141
Taneytown
Your costs aren't even on the radar. First you are not mixing equal amounts so your total of $121.50, isn't correct. You are using 32X more wheat than DE. You have to figure out what each product costs per cup if that's your unit of measurement. One cup of wheat does not weigh the same as one cup of alfalfa pellets.

We can all agree than an average hen will consume about 4 oz of feed per day in moderate weather and with no free ranging. 40 hens would go through about 10# of layer a day. 10# of fodder is not the same thing as 10# of layer. Fodder is approximately 85% water depending upon how long you grow it. Water has no nutritive value. Another way to look at things is if it's 85% water than it's only 15% stuff. My chickens can't produce if they are lacking 85% of the calories and nutrients they need to survive and lay. Laying will be the first thing that goes out the door.

The blend is going to be very low in protein and have an inverted Ca:p. Where's the Ca going to come from? How do you know if it's a balanced diet?
I added up the bulk stuff I bought and I am GUESSING that it all will last 2 months. Granted I might run out of something and I might have extra of something like DE.. The amount I listed was the total bulk price and I divided it by 60 days. No it is NOT 100% and once I have fed for a month I can better estimate my cost.
So if assuming I do use the bulk materials up in 2 months? 121.50 / 60 days would be $2.03 a day and if I have something like DE left over well that would help lower my cost even more.. Its just a rough number to start with and I will be able to come up with exact amounts used when I have done it for awhile

Equal amounts?? Do you have any ideals on how I could tweak the amounts of each to balance things out. I posted this to share and look for "good advice" because I am no expert as stated so do you use fermented food and fodder and can you share your experience good and or bad so I could learn??

Do you think adding the powdered vitamin mix to the water would help??

Say I spend $50.00 on laying crumbles and I use it up in a month well my cost for the month would be $50.00 correct or did I miss something??

Maybe im missing something, how is my cost totally off

what is the protein level in fermented foods? I use fermented foods right now, laying crumbles, flax seed, wild bird seed and alfalfa mix. What would the levels in that be?

Do you know anything about fodder and its nutritional values? Granted I might not be 100% on this but I have herd that regular feed has an absorbance rate around 35% and Fodder is around 80% from what I have seen and who you talk to these numbers vary a little. I also herd that sprouted grains increase in protein and vitamin levels once sprouted and grown to maximum level at day 7
 
Mar 20, 2009
632
9
141
Taneytown
I didnt take it wrong. I meant by copping it up. Cut up in big chinks to make it easer for the chickens to tear into it and add the other stuff to it. I add the other stuff for variety and help with protein and what not

I wanted to kinda mix it all together so they couldn't be so picky about eating it

Yea I was thinking I could ferment the other stuff and then mix it all together
 
Last edited:
Mar 20, 2009
632
9
141
Taneytown
Here is some info on the wheat and Barley fodder that I am going to be using. If this info is correct protein shouldn't be an issue but I still am doing more research on it


~~Wheat Grass Nutritional info: Vitamins A, B, C, E and K Calcium, Chlorophyll, Iron, Lecithin, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Trace Elements, Amino Acids Protein: up to 30%

Barley Grass Nutritional info: Vitamins A, B, C, E and K Calcium, Chlorophyll, Iron, Lecithin, Magnesium, Pantothenic Acid Amino Acids, Trace Elements, Phosphorus, Potassium Protein: up to 30%

Here is a link as well for more info

http://www.fodderfeed.org/Nutritional-Value.html
 

ChickenLegs13

Songster
Sep 4, 2013
1,401
178
143
Lower Alabama
If you like to expermint that's cool but I can take the same "50 lbs layer feed $14" that you're adding all that other stuff to and feed my 30-40 chickens properly for 10 days @ about $1.20 per day and still get the same end result of $2 dozen eggs each day.
I think your costs are skewed because you should be able to feed 40 chickens for less than 15 lbs of feed per day. Unless you have huge chickens I'm thinking about 10 lbs per day, probably lot less if you can include some free ranging several hours per day.
I know store bought isn't the best in the world but it's good nuff and lot easier.
 

Trefoil

Songster
Dec 7, 2011
2,317
227
231
I tried fodder and they wouldn't eat it ( I free range though), so I think chopping it up and mixing it in is a good idea. I'm not sure the DE won't be a waste of money, but a lot of people swear by it. I've also tried mixing the vitamin powder in the water that I ferment in, I prefer mixing it in just before I feed, that way I know its in there and not staying in the ferment water. If you want to check out how efficient it is, separate your flock into 2 groups and feed one the way you have been and the other your new mix for 6 or 7 months and see the difference,if any. You are lucky to be able to get barley where you are. I can't. Also if you are getting your wheat and barley from an elevator, it is often much cheaper to buy in 100# bags. For example a 50# bag of wheat here is 12.50, a 100# bag is $18.50. Good luck and let us know how it works.
 

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