Creating Homemade Feed Recipe, "Allergen Free"

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Rusnakes, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. Rusnakes

    Rusnakes Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    Hi all. I am interested in creating my own chicken feed that does not include:

    Gluten-based grains (wheat, kamut, rye, triticale, spelt; oats are fine!)

    I have found that I have reactions to each of these (thanks, immune system) and I was hoping to avoid them in our chicken feed (for several reasons).

    It seems all homemade feed recipes rely on at least one of these, if others are removed, mostly to increase the available protein.

    Any thoughts would be great. Thanks for humoring me. :)
    1 person likes this.
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens
    There are some threads here you may want to see.

    Here are some of my favorite links:

    Whole oats are difficult for them due to the hull being sharp and very high in fiber. If you are planning to make that a large portion of the feed- look up sticky droppings for will need to limit them somewhat. I did read one person feeds 50% oats but I wouldn't personally go that high. Rolled oats at the feed store are not like Quaker oats at the grocery store- hulls are still attached but grain flattened. You will need to feed them human grade oats or oat groats (no hull) in my opinion.

    I have fed:
    split peas (24.5% protein)
    (lentils can also be fed raw but are higher in tannins so I'd limit them)
    beans need cooking but can be included
    millet (11% protein)
    flax seeds (20% protein I believe)- go small quantities or eggs taste fishy
    black oil sun seeds (16% protein)
    peanuts (too high in fat for large quantities for poultry)
    pumpkin seeds (really don't like these too well LOL)
    of course the gluten containing grains but you don't want to hear of this LOL

    You may want to look at fish meal (NOT garden fish meal- must be feed grade)....

    I mix my oyster shell in when mixing has an amt. they recommend on the oyster shell page.
    Of course I give grit since so many whole grains I don't trust the soil to have enough but if free ranging they say it is good enough.
    I also like to give Redmond Mineral Conditioner occasionally.

    They need a protein source other than just peas to really thrive. So I give soy, as my trial without soy showed less eggs and less weight gain. So I highly recommend going with fish meal (not too much or eggs will taste bad) or some other good protein source. Too many black oil sun seeds and peanuts and I would worry about fatty liver try to balance.

    I like GF Heuser's "Feeding Poultry" book from Norton Creek Press.
    1 person likes this.
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Oh I forgot to mention salt. Make sure you have a nice source of can go with Redmond Mineral Conditioner or kelp meal.

    Be SURE to research how much to give if mixing it in. Most feed has about 0.5% salt or less in it!!

    Also I recommend just feeding these free choice if possible since when mixing it in, it settles to the bottom oftentimes.

    You will want to aim for 15-16% protein for layers and of course grower feed should be around 17%. Chicks NEED a crumble...I really recommend a commercial crumble for them.

    Fertrell vitamin premix is used by a lot of people also.

    You can use alfalfa meal (my chickens wouldn't eat it though) or soaked alfalfa cubes I have read.

    Chickens LOVE LOVE LOVE a flake of alfalfa hay...they will eat the fines and it is very high in protein. However, in order to avoid impacted crop I recommend 2-3 inch lengths of hay only. (Or grass clippings are excellent for them.)

    You will need to provide greens year round or do a vitamin premix.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
    2 people like this.
  4. Rusnakes

    Rusnakes Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    ChickensAreSweet, thank you very much for taking the time to write out all of the information above. That was extremely kind of you and I am very grateful.

    I have spent quite a bit of time combing BYC for info/thoughts on making allergen-free feed; it seems like most people sort of give up....or at least don't post the results of their search. [​IMG]

    Thanks very much for the links as well. I had only run across one of them thus far, so they were very helpful to review. I have also been looking at Gail Damerow's feed formula as well, but I need to go and find nutritional analyses for each of the items, as well as find a really good review of the exact nutrients (proportionally) that chickens need per day to get in the ballpark. It seems like (especially from the UK links you sent) that there is no perfect grain nor I think it could be possible to make something highly nutritious that is also allergen free as well. I even considered the idea of getting the feed I make up analyzed (for both information and intrigue <g>). We'll see how it goes with actually creating a decent enough formula that won't exacerbate any issues health-wise for the chickens.

    Oh, I have also considered the idea of adding mealworms/worms and fodder to their diet to increase/balance out protein levels. I have yet to find any information on protein/nutrient levels for the worms...especially info on any ill effects of eating them over time (I doubt they are numerous, but you never know!).

    I'm going to sit down and pour over what you wrote above a few times and will write if I have any questions. Many thanks again!!!
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You are welcome. Harvey Ussery has written a lot on feeding also:
  6. Rusnakes

    Rusnakes Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    I will definitely check that out. I have begun the search for nutritional info for various grains and hope to put together a spreadsheet where I can plug in various algorithms to see how certain combos might work out (nutritionally and cost-wise). Many thanks for all of your helpful suggestions!
  7. LBKS

    LBKS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2013
    Louisburg, KS
    While I haven't looked at allergen free feed setup, I have looked at growing forage and fodder crops with the goal of strongly supplementing or removing my dependence on commercial mixes. Some food crops to research/consider that I haven't seen above:

    Radishes and turnips used to be feed crops, so winter storage types would help with winter feed and short growth types would add variety to the feed. Plus the greens can be fed to the chickens as well. I assume this holds as well for root parsley and Parsnips, plus any other standard root crops you can think of.

    For oats, there are hull-less varieties so that might get around the issue above raised about hulled varieties. Similarly, there are hull-less varieties of pumpkin if you think the hull could be a concern for any reason.

    Winter squash make a good feed supplement if you can store them - they can take up quite a bit of space.

    You could also go the fodder route to help supplement, not sure if using the allergen causing plants would be an issue if they were in greens form or not, but there are other foods that could be used. Anything you could sprout for human consumption would probably be safe for chickens.

    Don't forget about "false cereals" like quinoa and amaranth. Teff? Not sure if it's a gluten family grain or a false grain. Plus there's other edible seeds like sesame (I believe sunflower seed was already covered) that might be worth growing for variety.

    Sorry, not a lot of experience to offer, just trying to remember the test batch of seeds I ordered for this spring to plant and see what I can come up with. Protein will be the macro to watch, but from what I read sprouting fodder can help with that (as well as provide fresh greens). And there's always the bug farming route if all else fails.

    Last thought: I wonder if you can reasonably dehydrate greens like kale, spinach, and chard to use as feed over winter? Not sure how well they would keep (surely they'd loose their crispy texture over time) but maybe sort of like a nutrient rich 'hay' type supplemental feed? Might be more effort than it's worth though.
  8. Rusnakes

    Rusnakes Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2013
    Thanks so much for all of the information, LBKS. Those are all very helpful and useful suggestions. I was wondering about teff myself. It is a non-gluten grain that I use in cooking. I'm not sure if there is anything in teff that is toxic to chickens (or if there is sufficient available amino acids), but that is an excellent idea. A little teff typically goes a long way.

    I am definitely planning on doing some fodder. It seems like a simple system (we've grown sprouts before and garden extensively). The folks on BYC have been great about sharing their systems. So many clever people. [​IMG]

    Winter squashes are a must. We *always* grown more than we can consume, so it's an easy meal to be had around here. :)

    I am very much interested in doing mealworms or worms for extra protein. They seem an easy source of protein to me.

    Great idea about dehydrating greens! We are typically flush with them as well during the summer months and have a dehydrator. Never considered it for the chickens.

    Many thanks again for the excellent suggestions. I very much appreciate your time and assistance.
  9. Badhairdo980

    Badhairdo980 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 21, 2014
    Did you see "Curtis Ann Matlock's homemade feed for Chicks and Chicken feed? I am dealing with Celiac disease so I am using her recipe and all my girls are doing very well.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by