Alternate Grains Like Tapioca

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by westes, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. westes

    westes Out Of The Brooder

    I am trying to think through what might be some alternative grains to feed to chickens instead of formulas that use grains heavy in polyunsaturated oils like Omega-6. Grains like wheat, corn, and soybean are loaded with these unhealthy oils. Without trying to turn this into a bigger discussion about polyunsaturated fats, how would a chicken do with an alternative grain like tapioca? Tapioca is a very rich starch but it contains almost no polyunsaturated fats. Yes, it would be considerably more expensive to buy it and prepare it than buying normal chicken feed.... My question is really more along the lines of "am I going to kill the chickens by feeding them properly prepared tapioca...?"

    I do realize that once you step outside of commercial "feeds" that now you need to really dig into details and make sure you take care of all of the chicken's nutritional needs. That would take a lot of research, experience, and experiment. That's okay.
     
  2. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    23
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    I don't think tapioca is a grain, but from a root. I doubt it's bad for them, but not all that nutritional either.

    Yes, you can mix chicken feed but do the research. There are lots of threads about it if you search that talk of pros and cons.
     
  3. westes

    westes Out Of The Brooder

    SelfNutritionData classifies tapioca as a grain, but I think I agree with you a tuber/root plant would be more accurate. It doesn't matter relative to my question. Chickens that lay eggs are fed grains because they need energy for the egg-laying. A tuber or grain is basically just a container for a lot of starch/glucose, so in that sense grain or tuber serves the same need here.

    What keywords or thread titles should I be searching on to get at the discussions you are referring to?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  4. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    23
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    With chicken feed, you're needing more protein, as well as specific amino acids rather than just grains/starches for energy. I am not familiar with the oils you mention wishing to avoid, but have you looked into fermenting feed as a method to break grains down to increase the nutrition absorption?

    Search for homemade feed and or fermented feed. There are several very long threads, but they have a lot of good info and response to questions. Aside from BYC, I've used the feed calculator from Garden Betty and liked it, though I would also choose to add something like fertrell nutribalancer to ensure the proper micronutrients. I decided that I couldn't do a home mix within our budget, but still like the calculator for mixing my own scratch to mix in with the high protein crumbles I purchase.
     
  5. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    599
    37
    93
    Jan 16, 2016
    Tapioca swells so much after cooking. i would be afraid to give it to my chickens without cooking it first.
     
  6. westes

    westes Out Of The Brooder

    Regarding protein, I wanted to farm black soldier fly larvae, and I was hoping that alone would allow the chickens to get 20% of their diet from a very nutritionally complete protein. Does your comment about protein and amino acids still then apply to the remaining 80% of what they eat? I've read several places that 20% protein in the mix is adequate.

    What I am more concerned about is vitamins and minerals. Most wheat and corn mixes have good nutrition values for things like B vitamins. Something like tapioca is basically a plain starch with very little added nutrition. So I have to make up for that.

    Garden Betty's calculator looks useful, thanks. I noticed that a lot of her line items are seeds with high fat content. How do chickens do on higher fat foods?

    Fertrell's product looks very good and I bookmarked it. The only thing in that I found strange was adding methionine as a separate ingredient. What would be the point of adding a single amino acid? They might be trying to make up for lack of methionine in a 100% vegetarian diet, but that makes their product less useful if you are feeding real meat or insects, which should have lots of methionine. I see on their site that they replaced the methionine with "kelp" which is even more confusing to me, because kelp wouldn't have anything to do with amino acid balance. Aside from that the product looks great.
     
  7. westes

    westes Out Of The Brooder

    Good point. And would they agree to eat cooked tapioca pearls? Might be a hassle to need to cook that constantly too....

    I need to do a lot of basic research here.
     
  8. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    23
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    You've hit several of the same questions I had before I quit my quest to mix my own due to cost. I only have a small backyard flock of seven. I never found a hard answer on the fat question, but noticed the same with the calculator--when adding varieties of seeds, the fat content goes up. Compared to bagged ration that only lists a minimum of 3%, many of my calculations led to 10% or so. For a free range flock, it may be ok but I could see that being high for coop & run bound chooks.

    I think you're right on the methionine--added extra to account for vegetarian feeds. That and lysine. I know there are other brands of product similar to Fertrell, but can't name off the top of my head. A good feed mill may be able to point you to some, or other posts.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by