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Conventional non-GMO Whole Grain/Seed Recipe for Layers

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Dandelioness, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Matt and Linda for those links. After just briefly glancing at all of that, and remembering what I had come across for selenium toxicity (in swine and cattle, even from grazing cattle), it seems there is a safe range and feeding either above or below this range would be detrimental.

    I still haven't checked my premix label, but once having done that, it seems that you'd have to know the selenium content of your feed ingredients, too, to be sure you're not over supplementing or under supplementing.

    And of course, I haven't done a thorough read through these links yet, that info and much more may very likely be given.

    Cattle are our next project, so it seems to me that I need to be well-versed on the issue of selenium for the health of both species.

    For the time being, everyone looks good but of course these things have long-term effects we need to look out for.
     
  2. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Still haven't found the time to really study these, but my mineral mix DOES contain selenium so I shouldn't have to supplement.
     
  3. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Ozexpat did mention that and said the the supplement has such a small amount that he adds extra to his. Now, remember he's doing 5 tablets for 100 kg. So 5 tab for 220 lbs of feed. I'll be making up my fermented feed and adding 1 tablet to a 50# bag of mixed grains and such. If it helps with fertility I'm all for it. The fermented grains works like the old time idea of ladies drinking apple cider vinegar to assure a girl. The jury is still out on that. BeeKissed has a 75% female rate and Kassaundra said that's bs. Both have been using fermented feed for years. I should be able to start hatching within the next month or two on my White Plymouth Rocks I have. I hope the old tale is true. ha
     
  4. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, mine was in ppm which I believe is parts per million! So it really is a trace mineral, isn't it?

    Good luck on your "fertility experiment", Linda! I hope all goes well. I'll be trying out my first hatchlings this spring as well. I've been spending all my time reading the "Old-Fashioned Broody Hatch Along" thread instead of studying the selenium articles!!! Shame on me! ;)
     
  5. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, the past few weeks, I've tried adjusting the recipe in my original post, to see if there are cost savings or an easier way to get that protein into them without soaking/grinding the darn flax seeds.

    My main attempt was at buying sunflower "chips", which are hulled sunflowers very coarsely ground, not really even ground - chipped like it says on the bag. However, those chips are of multiple types of sunflower seeds, not just BOSS. Your mileage will vary by feed mill as far as crude protein. The bag I got was 20% - not much higher than the whole, unhulled BOSS in the original recipe (17% crude protein). The chips also started smelling funny after being open for only a week, not off but not fresh smelling either, just kinda stale. I do not have that happen with my whole BOSS. Plus this bag of chips was like $50!!!

    So anyway, I used it up and reduced my BOSS portion, eliminated my flax portion, and made a couple minor adjustments to the millet/barley/oats. Also bumped up the brewer's yeast to more like 3# per 50# batch.

    I saw no difference in egg count (the girls are still at 50% production), but the yolks became PALE! Like someone on the thread earlier mentioned. Not ghostly white like a store egg, but not a nice sunshiny yellow like we are all used to. My total of sunflower chips & whole combined was over 50%. I'm going back to the original mix starting this week, to see if the yolks turn a nicer shade of yellow after a week or two on it. We will not be seeing spring greens for at least 2 months her in MN, so it will be interesting to see if they are pale just because of lack of wild fresh forage, or the excess sunflower in the ration.

    So overall, my experience with the chips was: expensive, caused pale yolks (tentative conclusion), stale smelling & therefore not as pleasant as mixing up my flax/brewer's yeast/premix paste.

    I imagine the chips are better for other, much larger livestock, where you are trying to add protein and a 50# bag wouldn't have time to get stale because it's eaten so fast.

    I may try increasing the brewer's yeast again, but I want to go back to the baseline recipe first, before adjusting it again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  6. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah, it goes rancid so quick. Why not get some alfalfa pellets and soak some in water and feed out. The bag would last forever. It puts the nice orange yolks in. Good for them. Mine has lasted for months.
     
  7. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, it's been a while since I've updated here -

    I'm happy to report that the ladies are in full production! I'm in MN, and spring has sprung a month or two sooner than it did last year. So they have been able to be out and about much more than last "spring" at this time. All the snowpack has been gone for a while. IDK what they are foraging for, but they sure are busy out there. We are just starting to see some green hiding below the brown, and the weeping willow boughs are that nice yellow-green color as well.

    So when I say my egg yolks went back to the nice warm yellow, I am not entirely sure it was due to going back to the original formula or that the hens were foraging so much more after my last post.

    But I have been using my original formula since my last post. Health and production have been on par with other people in my area over the winter and into this early spring. I feel these are pretty good results, at least as far as I can tell now, for a layer ration.

    I have four breeding pens separated out from the main flock right now. Every egg I crack is fertilized, breeder pen or no, except that feisty Silkie girl I have - I don't think that chick puts out! LOL So the viability of the offspring will be another indicator of the feed quality. I plan on doing a little of both and keeping records of hatch rates, mortality in the first few weeks, etc. This is my first experience hatching out chicks, whether under a broody or an incubator, so my results may be horrible and it could just be my poor incubation skills!! But I'll track them this year anyway, so next year I will have a baseline.

    Are there any other parameters you guys can think of to gauge the efficacy of this or any feed mix??
     
  8. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have not come up with a chick ration recipe yet. I know they're out there, but I'm really trying to avoid the corn, soy, alfalfa and canola in my feed recipes. Those sunflower chips have bummed me out - if they weren't so stale, I think they'd be a good ingredient for the chick ration. I may just use the starter I've been purchasing in the past for the first 3 weeks or so, then switch a portion of the chicks over to a whole grain ration similar to this one, but with the proper feed percentages. It may even be that I can try to soak or ferment some of the whole grain ration in order to soften or otherwise make it more bioavailable to the chicks.

    Any thoughts on chick rations? Obviously, the mineral supplement will be a chick-appropriate one. From what I've read, brewer's yeast is a really good protein supplement, and if I feed wet that could account for a large portion of the protein content. I feel like I read somewhere that "the amount of brewer's yeast to be added to the ration is limited solely by the grower's pocketbook" or some such thing. Smaller seeds like millet, and soaked whole oats or barley may be an option, too. I have a couple books somewhere I will need to dust off.

    I think I may only test any new chick feed recipe with layer chicks this year, as they are more slow growing by nature than the CX. But I will be doing a second batch of CX after my baby comes, so I may try a small experimental group in that batch as well.
     
  9. BBrady

    BBrady Out Of The Brooder

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    I am so very grateful to you for posting this thread. I feel I may be running out of time to find a good starter chick recipe, so I will probably have to start my first batch of Rhode Island Red chicks on non-medicated Purina starter/grower mix (the only locally available non-medicated feed). I am very excited about using your recipe for when I run out of my first bag or two though. I am getting a dozen or a few more chicks this week, and I may get another dozen hens in a month or two if the price is right and if I am not overwhelmed by other projects relating to starting a homestead.


    Also, about wet feeding: how much water do you use for soaking the flax seed/how long does it need to soak, and for mixing the paste of the yeast and mineral premix? do you mix the soaked flax seed and the yeast/mineral paste together in one slurry after adding the water? do you mix the paste in with the dry mix, or serve it separate?

    (I had some price questions but i found the answer tot hem earlier in the thread. Thanks!)
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
  10. Dandelioness

    Dandelioness Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there, I'm so glad you've found this post helpful.

    I put the flax, brewer's yeast and mineral mix for the day into a jar or bowl. Let's say I look and the mixture is about two inches deep. I'd add water until the total depth is 4 inches. Then whisk it up, rinse my whisk and go make some coffee.

    It will be ready in like 5 minutes.

    Then I pour the dry feed into the trough and sprinkle the slurry over the top. I do not mix, because it's almost gone by the time I am done pouring it out.

    If it's cold out, the powdered cayenne will go into this slurry, too.

    It sounds complicated, but I do it with very little thought now. The hardest part is getting the feed into the trough without stepping on "starving" chickens. LOL

    If you want to feed with all the feed being wet, I put about half the day's ration in a bucket or two, no more than half full, then add water so the bucket is full. All the powdered stuff goes in at this time. I let this sit overnight or a couple hours at least. I find I do not need to make a second feeding when I do this, but that could be because when it's warm enough to feed wet, it's also warm enough for them to forage a lot.

    Good luck on your little farmette! We've done goats and lambs and a dairy cow and maybe some bees are next, so feel free to pm me about your non-chicken adventures, too! Try not to get overwhelmed, though. I try to keep it to one new type of animal a year, but I try new feeds or tweak my management style as I go along.
     

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