Preparing Soybeans http://www.lionsgrip.com/protein.html When hens stop laying in the Fall, many just attribute it to a natural slow-down that cannot be avoided. But we've found that the simple addition of boiled soybeans to their diet restored cold-weather laying to full capacity throughout the entire Winter. This may be due to the fact that as the weather cools, insects disappear, so the hens' protein is not being well-supplied. Soybeans provide this protein. Furthermore, soybeans perfectly complement the large amount of grains that the hens consume, making a complete protein in the diet. About 10 hens will eat around 2/3rds of a cup of prepared soybeans per day. (1) Soak dried soybeans (start with perhaps 2 cups of dried beans for 10 hens) overnight in several times their depth of water. (2) Next day, bring to full boil (in the soaking water, to save vitamins), then slow boil for 15 minutes with cover on loosely. (3) Dump beans into a strainer to cool. (4) When cool, put into refrigerator. This makes enough for a few days of feeding. Either scatter in front of birds, or give in a dish and let them chow down. We like to give a "catered" protein feed every few days that our chickens love. It is a special time to talk to the gals and build that rapport that makes for fun farming. We mix boiled soybeans with a few sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, some dry instant oats, and a bit of milk. Use about 1 cup of this special feed per fifteen hens for a protein and "TLC" addition to your gals' lives. NOTE: The trypsin in all beans is toxic to the lining of the birds' intestines. It can scar their intestines, making them less able to absorb their food. Any beans fed to chickens need to be at 180 degrees for 15 minutes to destroy the trypsin . Keeping the soybeans at or above 180 degress F for 15 minutes destroys the trypsin. The best way to do this is by boiling. Soybeans can also be dry-roasted (no soaking), at around 250 degrees. But this is more cumbersome and less certain of destroying the trypsin, as the beans in the oven must be continually turned to insure that all the beans are reaching the 180-degree temperature.