Feed issue - any formulation experts out there?


13 Years
May 26, 2009
Western MA
My DH is VERY allergic to wheat. He insists that he is reacting to the wheat in the girl's layer pellets even though-

a) The feed is stored outside in airtight containers
b) I do all of the feeding
c) I wash my hands before I come in the house so as not to get wheat dust on stuff!

Anyway, he is adamant that the pellets have to go. I said "OK, as long as you research and come up with a nutritionally sound feed substitute". There are no commercial options available for us as anything wheat-free has soy and that is also a no no!

So, he ordered Fertrell organic poultry supplement, whole oats, corn meal, and alfalfa pellets. ????? Is there a way to use this mish-mash of ingredients successfully? I am at a total loss as to how to proceed with these ingredients!!! If everything was ground to the same consistency it would be one thing, but pellets, meal, whole grain and a dusty supplement are not going to mix together successfully.

I just don't know what to do. Of course, his health is important to me, but I am not willing to take chances with my girl's health either!

Thank you! I would really appreciate any suggestions! (And a whole-grain diet including wheat is out... I proposed that and was shot down. No wheat will be coming near our house in any shape or form!)
I think you are going to have to follow Fertrell's formula, AmyBella. At least, you should follow it by proportions, as closely as you can. And, that may not work - I'm no feed "formulation expert."

Eating too much of the Fertrell minerals, vitamins, etc. couldn't be good. You may be able to get by mixing them with your cornmeal and alfalfa. They would probably mix better if you had alfalfa meal instead of pellets. Getting too much corn in that mix may just encourage your chickens to eat too much of it. Without enough corn, however, what you have to work with looks like it would be too low in calories. So, you may want to feed a little of the cornmeal separately, rationing it out.

The Manitoba ag agency provides a formula for using whole grain feeding.

You may want to purchase some fishmeal so that you can feed more corn. My guess is that it would be easier to allow free-choice of the oats and make your own simple formula with cornmeal, fishmeal and the Fertrell.

It may be difficult. I suggest using a scale not just to proportion out the feed but to weigh the feeders everyday to see how much the chickens are eating.

Wow, this is just off the top of my head. Harvey Ussery put together a feed calculator that is on the Backyard Poultry magazine website . I gotta say that I'm not too sure about Mr. Ussery's credentials as an "expert" either. He once said that since we are willing to experiment with our own diets, we should be willing to experiment with our chickens'. Seems like dependency/free will and questions about egg production should enter into the discussion but that just may be me . . .

Whatever the case, it looks like you don't have too many options other than to experiment. Here's wishing you the very Best of Luck.


edited to add: Don't forget the crushed oyster shell offered free-choice. With that, you shouldn't have to worry about Fertrell's Aragonite (calcium). . .
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Wow, thank you so much Steve! I'm feeling a bit more hopeful that we can make something work! I have been all over the internet but nothing I have come across addresses the no soy AND no wheat issue.

Good news... I have fish meal. Maybe I can break down the alfalfa pellets to a better consistency. I can't wait to fool around with the spreadsheet!!! That looks like just what we need to sort this out. I guess that philosophically I agree with Mr. Ussery... the chicken has evolved for thousands of years eating a diet of bugs, plants and seeds without the help of nutrition experts. As long as my girls are happy, healthy, and lay some eggs, all is well. I am not looking to break any production records!

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