Corn is a very incomplete feed. It has nutrients but if you ate only corn you would shrivel up and die. The same can be said for any single thing and regardless of the animal/human eating that one thing.
Learn the nutritional requirements of chickens (i.e. vitamins, minerals and protein) and put things together that provide those.
As an example, growing chickens need at least 18% protein(I prefer 20), layers need at least 16%. Corn provides about 10%. You can see from this one example that they would quickly waste away.
I have mixed my own feed for years. Normally I grow my own corn, but I didn't this past year. I buy a supplement from the feed store-----its the same as they use when they mix their own chicken feed. It has the mixing instructions for layer, grower, etc. I grind my own corn, I start with a 5 gal bucket of ground corn, throw in the supplement, I also add a scoop of All Grain, 2 scoop of whole corn, 1/3rd scoop of oyster shells---Throw all this into a electric cement mixer. I have alot of hawks so I do not let them free range unless I am going to be around them. I have a 30x40ft extra yard with bird netting over it that I grow rye grass in the winter in and millet in the summer. I let them in this area daily for a little while so they can get some green grass. I also give them a arm full of greens(mainly collards) most morning. I also give them a couple hundred live crickets a day, In the warmer months I give them a couple hands full of soldier fly larva every day or so. I have 40 chickens in the main pen. I have about 20 more in 3 different portables, that I move every couple days. The ones in the portables do not get as much extra's as the ones in the main pen because I feel they get extra being moved to a new area every day or two..I plant about 400 hills of collards, 100 cabbage, 100ft wide row of mustard, and about 100 broccoli plants that I break the leaves off once the head has been cut. We eat these greens, but most are feed to the ckickens and rabbits also during the warmer months I feed the chickens water mellons, squash/zuch, pumpkins etc. During deer season I throw some deer bones in the yard for them to pick clean and throw them a few fish. when I catch some. If I catch a racoon or opossum in the live catch trap next to the chicken run and have time, I skin it out, cut it up and boil it for a little while and feed that to the chickens. I feed them all our table scraps as well as I got alot of bags of dried beans mainly black-eyed peas free-----I grind these and soak that in water over night for the chickens. My chickens get a variety----LOL.
breakdown of what you are mixing together and what you are feeding! Its what I've been looking for all over the internet!!! I don't want to be dependent on commercial pre-mixed feed. Don't trust the "industry" since the dog food fiasco a couple years ago. Luckily for our dog, we'd been ignoring vet "recommendations" of not giving table scraps and so our 10 yr old lab never suffered the fate of so many other people's canine family members.
When I had chickens last time I used the commercial feed, but I dont want to do that this time. I've been researching and one of the ideas for supplement in the industry is certain types of algae as additives in poultry feed. It made me think.... as a "green" what about all the algae that LOVES to take over livestock tanks? I know we used to have to pitch fork all that green waste out of the tank, when I was a kid on the ranch! Why couldn't that be added to their foraging buffet?
Mind you this also made me realize that it could be added to the compost pile also!
Also I keep reading about "soldier fly grubs" but where in the world are people finding these critters? I checked at my local bait shops and they only had another type of live grub in their frigs. No mealworms or soldier fly grubs. The ag store only had freeze dried mealworms. The pet food store has crickets though.... which leads me to another question.
Do you raise your own crickets for feed or are you simply buying them midwinter to supplement the chickens in winter? How many pounds of cricket are being fed to how many head of chickens to meet their winter intake needs?
Our winters are harsh up here in South Dakota, so my birds are enclosed in a sheltered run (with roof, and three walls, open fenced southern exposure) that has an indoor run attached that has a heat lamp running 24 hrs a day. I also HAVE to find a way to make sure their nest boxes are heated, to keep the eggs from freezing during the day, before I collect the eggs. Its a major problem in winter. But that's another issue.
Southdakotan, In the winter I raise my crickets in a really small storage room, about 7ft square. I keep this room heated to about 80 degrees and put the egg trays in a homemade incubator. I have stepped up the amount I am raising recently because I want to get where I can give the chickens about 500 to 1000 per day. During the warmer months I move ALL the crickets to a stripped out camper except for the eggs, they still go in the incubators. The adult crickets are kept in this camper year round. I turn on a heater during the winter in the camper when Its going to get cold so the crickets do not freeze.
As far as soldier fly larva I raise them during the warmer months. There is so much info on how to set-up to raise these on YouTube. Soldier fly larva is so simple, crickets need more attention but are still not to time consuming. Right now I guess I have in the 200,000 pin head to 1/2 grown crickets but I just hatched out probably 1/2 of that amout in the last week with more eggs going into the incubator tomorrow----like I said I stepped up the cricket production.
I probably spend TOOOO much time "messing" with my critters and animals, but I am happy, its my hobbies. I do not go hunting or do not spend $1000's hunting or buying bass boats to go fishing. I just hang around my animals and enjoy raising them and raising them food.