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Anyone NOT feeding commercial pelleted/mash feed to your layers?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shortstaque, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are not feeding commercial feeds, what are you feeding and what are the advantages?

    I'd like to move to feeding things that are more suited to the natural digestive processes of chickens. More "whole foods" for chickens, so to speak. My interests are to improve the overall health of the flock, make use of more local ingredients, and possibly save a little money along the way. So any suggestions to this end are particularly appreciated.

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Try searching "custom milled feed" "mixing your own feed" "feed from the mill" "whole grain feed" etc. Lots of threads here on the topic, some including recipes. [​IMG]
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Here are some things to get you started:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=414722 (my recipe)

    http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickenFeedRecipe.html (my inspiration)

    http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/poultry/bba01s20.html

    http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ (to find protein percentages of certain foods- thanks to BYCer Chris09)

    Do a search for homemixed feed on here, feed recipes, etc.

    Organics North's BYC page has his recipe.

    It is easy to spend more money on feed this way- to be cheaper about it, find a good cheaper source of oats, wheat, birdseed (millet) or whatever you are going to feed. Preferably a feed mill! Or a farmer.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=4477&p=1

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=108482&p=1

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=412873&p=1
     
  5. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the responses so far!

    ChickensAreSweet, I like that your recipe doesn't rely on soy for the protein, about which I've been reading some detrimental things. So, you don't use a mineral supplement at all? I'm a little afraid not to, because I don't want them to miss out on some trace elements, although the fact that mine are on pasture in their tractor every day, and free-range for several hours most days, gives them a little more flexibility with picking and choosing their own "supplements". I'm concerned about the winter, when they won't have as much to forage. I know the kelp and some of the other things in the mix have lots of trace minerals too.
     
  6. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    I have been feeding mine a whole grain mix for the last month exclusively. I use peas, wheat, oats & sunflower, along with a mineral supplement & fish meal. It has worked OK, but I may start feeding the fish meal separately. I just realized they finished their barrel of mix today. That makes 75 lbs. for 14 chickens for 4 weeks. I was using about 125-150 lbs/mo with the milled feed. My egg count has stayed between 7 & 11 for 13 hens. Guess I will keep going awhile & see what happens.
     
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:Alfalfa meal I think has minerals in it- very healthy for them. Also kelp.

    I also put out a mineral livestock brick (the red one) for them, but it has just been melting away in the rain and they aren't interested in it.

    I do let mine out to free range some on and off- depending on which predator is hanging around/not hanging around.

    Frankly, I feel comfortable with my recipe for my chickens. I might even do away with the kelp meal one day, I dunno. Our eggs are SOOOOO good, and the girls seem VERY healthy.

    I do mix in organic layer pellets (about 1 or 2 cups per day) in to make a total of about 3 horse scoops a day that they eat. I do that do keep my costs down and because they think they are yummy! But it is organic soy and corn.

    I don't plan on increasing the organic layer pellet amount- it is rather like a treat for them. I don't throw scratch and corn around on the ground, since that would lower their protein amount. This is my treat for them, mixed in at 16% protein. Sometimes I throw the pellets on the ground and they go for them.

    I have 83 chickens- a lot are bantams and the smaller hens that don't eat a lot, and forage for their food well.

    Some people get the alfalfa pellets and soak them in water before offering them in winter as a green supplement. The meal is a little dusty to work with, but that's what I use.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
  8. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So they have eaten about half as much (in weight) on the new whole grain mix, and maintained the same productivity. Very interesting!

    Where are you in PA? and where do you source your ingredients and supplements?

    Thanks!
     
  9. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:So they have eaten about half as much (in weight) on the new whole grain mix, and maintained the same productivity. Very interesting!

    Where are you in PA? and where do you source your ingredients and supplements?

    Thanks!

    I'm in Berks County, outside Reading. I get my ingredients from an Amish farmer in Oley. Found him on the Fertrell dealer website. He has transitional organic & conventional feed. He started making no soy feed last year & that is what I was using. They did well on it, but he uses alfalfa, flax & peanut meal in his recipe & it got to be too much waste (dusty). I asked him if he would sell me peas etc. & he had no problem with that. I paid .30/lb for peas, .20/lb for wheat & .22 for spelt. I got the Fertrell Nutribalancer & Fish meal from him also. I think my cost was $15-16/50 lbs., right in line with his no soy feed at $25/80 lb. I would think you may find a Fertrell Dealer/ farmer in your area, check on their website. I was thrilled to finally get peas, but it is a shame they come from North Dakota. You can also use pigeon grains for your base (if you are interested in no soy) as FM Brown & Moyer's both have great lines containing a lot of peas. I had heard that chickens will eat less weight wise on whole grains. That was so for the first month, but further feeding will tell for sure. I am thinking of feeding the NB & fish meal in a separate feeder, as I read you shouldn't feed more than 50% whole grain if you feed it all together, because they lose the powdered stuff. I also give them alfalfa cubes a few times a week. Hope this helps.
     
  10. shortstaque

    shortstaque Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Great info, thanks. I'd be interested to hear how your chickens do over time on the whole grains and legumes. Do you now, or are you looking into sprouting any of their ration in the future? Do you find that they pick out some things and leave others behind?

    Ultimately I'd like to grow a good bit of their feed grains, seeds, and legumes myself, but in the meantime I'd like to find more local sources.
     

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