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Feed Recipe - Not Sure How Much Of What...

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Reyvaughn, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Reyvaughn

    Reyvaughn Songster

    Mar 10, 2011
    Northeast Pennsylvania
    I decided I'd try mixing my own chicken feed. I have read quite a few different recipes, but I can't get all the ingredients. So, I went to the local mill and got a list of the grains I can get. I can get:
    1. Corn (whole, cracked, crimped)
    2. Wheat
    3. Barley
    4. Roasted Soybeans
    5. Fish Meal
    6. Cotton Seed (Can chickens eat these?)
    7. Alfalfa
    8. Linseed (Again, can they eat these?)
    9. Oats (whole or rolled)
    10. Shredded or Pelleted Beet Pulp
    11. Grit (starter, grower and layer and I would like to have this mixed in)

    I can get soybean meal, too, but I read it isn't really a good thing to feed and roasted soybeans are a better choice.
    Other than the above listed, I can get wild bird feed added and BOSS. My birds normally just pick out the BOSS from the wild bird seed, so adding wild bird seed may be a waste of $.

    What for vitamins and minerals do I need? A, K, Salt...? I don't know if they have kelp.

    I have to mix 1000lbs at a time. I want to see if it'll be cost effective to mix my own since I have such a mixed variety of chickens. I usually have more chicks than adults and I don't feed them medicated feed anymore. I stay away from layer feeds now, because I usually have equal numbers of males and females. I was tired of having 3 types of feed and the kids were getting confused when they fed their birds. So, I began to mix a wild bird feed, scratch, BOSS, oyster shell and grit in on barrel and the 16% pullet grower in the other barrel. That was working, but it's a pain to mix and it's sometimes forgotten. I still can't give it to the boys or babies, too. I also want something higher in protein. Ideally, 20% would be nice. I want this feed for my chickens of all ages and I want to be able to feed it to geese, ducks and quail if and when we get them.

    My local mill sells their pullet grower for $9 a 50#. It's cheap enough, but it doesn't fufill my needs. I will still have to offer oyster shell, but that's okay!

    So, I am asking, if you were mixing a feed, what percentage of what's on the above list would you put in your feed? And, what vitamins/minerals do I need?

    Something else... I plan on raising my own heritage corn (blue and green corn) and pumpkins so I cant add the seeds to their diet later on. I won't have a lot of this available in the beginning, though.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
    Bridger Davis likes this.

  2. madamwlf

    madamwlf Nevermore Acres

    Aug 22, 2010
    Mount Airy, MD
    I'm really interested in this as well.
  3. Lynndaybrown

    Lynndaybrown Chirping

    Sep 23, 2011
    Also very interested.
  4. Jeremymct

    Jeremymct Hatching

    Apr 11, 2012
    here is a good place to start http://www.lionsgrip.com/recipes.html
    It does a good job breaking it down for you. I crack my own corn and add that in on a one to one ratio to the commercial feed as a cost saving, but it also reduces the protein level doing so unless you add a poultry concentrate. My birds all free range too so I don't worry to much about the protein in the summer. I am going to try the first recipe as soon as I find some roasted soybeans locally.
  5. Reyvaughn

    Reyvaughn Songster

    Mar 10, 2011
    Northeast Pennsylvania
    I did a search and everyone seems to have different ideas on what you should feed.

    Lets break it down this way...
    Of the list, I'd like to use:

    Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, Oats, Linseed, Alfalfa, Beet Pulp and BOSS
    Unless, the soybeans are a no no...
    If I use soybeans, how much fish meal do I need?

    And... What vitamins?
    The mill has these things to add in, but I need to know what to add.
    If I can get kelp (I doubt it), what nutrition does it hold?

    Basically, what I am asking is what should I use and why. I want to know the dynamics of the feed I am mixing.

    Most of the mixes call for millings, wheat bran, rice bran, ect. I can't get those. That's why I am asking here for someone who may know how I should go about mixing what I can get.

    Oh, and I saw milk replacer and dry milk added into a few mixes. I keep reading how you shouldn't give chickens milk products. I have bags upon bags of dry milk I can use if it's a good thing to add. So many mixed reviews though...

    The other reason I want to mix my own feed is because since I have neighbors that refuse to keep their mutts off my property, my chickens will never get to free range again. I am trying to improve their quality of food because just looking at this feed mill stuff makes me want to gag. It's fine and dusty and I can't imagine it's that great for the birds. Plus, they waste a lot because they don't eat the fine stuff.

    My egg yolks were that lovely bright orange when they free ranged, now they are the same color as the store eggs.
  6. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Songster

    Feb 22, 2012
    Even though this post is long already, It would be difficult to add every grain I use and why so this is my sorta short answer....Lol

    There are so many different "recipes" to feed your chickens. Each area of the country has different feed grains available. So this determines the Ingredients in your personal feed recipe.
    keep it simple I tend to make things difficult for myself.

    Why use these grains because they are available. Yes, some are better than others.....like ones that are Not by products of our food chain (soy beans, wheat bran, rice bran etc.) where every bit of goodness is removed, or altered before feeding it to our chickens. Soy beans have to be roasted in order to use it as a feed. There are things in it that inhibit nutrients from being used by our chickens.

    Each Whole live grain you use will bring some thing different to your feed as in protein, vitamins and trace minerals. I feel that using a variety of grains will produce a more rounded recipe for my chickens.

    Commercial feed producers have one thing on their minds and that is to produce feed as cheaply as possible to be competitive. in the market.
    So...corn is cheap and it is their main ingredient.

    I am using this as guide

    Feed Composition (%) for Chicken Feed

    Chicks 0-8 weeks
    Grower 8-18 weeks
    Laying Hens
    Breeding Hens
    Total Protein
    Veg. Protein
    Fish Meal
    Alfalfa Meal/Pasture
    Calcium and Phosphorus
    Vitamin – Mineral, Kelp, etc.

    This is my grain list for my feed recipe and what I am doing with my chickens.

    I posted this on another thread.

    I am not an expert in feeding chickens whole grains, The commercial feed just isn't good enough for me or my chickens.
    This IS my first year feeding whole grains to my flock. I have 4 roo's and 36 pullets. They are now 9 weeks old.
    I have only lost one as she was genetically disabled and was not going to live anyway.

    This is working for me....This might not work for you. But if this is the way you want to go....Then Do it! I was terrified I was going to kill my chickens. Well. I haven't yet anyway.
    Their feathers just shine in iridescent colors, Their eyes are bright and so are their attitudes. They are not too fat and not too skinny. They forage all day long when they are out.
    (They are in the coop for a few more days learning where their new home is).

    I have a lot to learn and I know with every passing day I am learning something new. So .....take my advise with a grain of salt.
    I also try to live by "prevention is the best medicine. I do give ACV from day one also.

    Do a lot of research about feeding your chickens whole grain so you will understand what you need to do for them and what they need.

    If you are planning on feeding your girls whole grains....Start them off very slow like over 3-4 weeks.
    Their Gizzard will need some time to develop the strength to grind the grain along with the correct size grit.

    These first 3 are the same site....And is from a book that the chickenfeed Website quoted..... so......Everything is quoted accurately from the book, unless it is in square brackets "[ ]" in which case it is an entry by the ChickenFeed website. I also feel this "book" is a bit out dated. But the Info is great. It will show you how to calculate your protein for your recipe.




    This next one is a great site. This is from Harvey Ussery. He also feeds his chickens whole grains and is a very respected person in the chicken community.


    These are the ingredients I am using at the moment. When My chicks were little I had to grind there food since the whole grains were too big for them to eat.

    Now at 9 weeks old They are eating almost everything whole except the corn and the Peas (mine are whole seed) Some do eat the whole corn as I throw some in to see where they are at with the size of the grain and it has been eaten. so I am real close to All whole seeds/grain.

    Wheat, Corn, Soy Beans (I do not like using these as they are processed not alive), Oats, Sunflower chips (until old enough to eat whole) Peas, Millet (Mixture), Alfalfa, Vitamins (only until I add the Kelp free choice, But not sure at this point, Might leave it in there), Sea Salt. I also Have not found a good meat source yet so I am adding in 1-2 times a week, Some sorta of meat/fish. (I am wanting to raise fish for this).
    I weigh everything out into 1 five gallon bucket (I mix 25# at a time) I will be throwing it into my cement mixer to mix it once they reach 50#. Right now, I mix by hand. Mine too has some powder at the end but not much.

    This is my list and It changes protein as They grow. Right now they are at the 18% grower stage.

    If you do not like a grain I have in my list do some research and find a grain that is comparable with the grain you want to replace. I know I am wanting to use something other than soy beans but I need to find a grain to replace it locally. I do know my peas would work for that but I really want to have a variety of grains in their feed which is always better.

    I also Sprouted oats in my basement (didn't take much to do and no light required) for their winter greens. That worked very well. I also gave them my kitchen, bread, Etc.... scraps. soon I will be giving garden scrap and growing some root crops I can store over winter for their winter greens as well.

    I am glad you are trying to do better for your girls. If you are wanting to talk just pm me. Good Luck
    1 person likes this.
  7. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Songster

    Feb 22, 2012
    OK....This is what my percentages are for my recipe @ 20.18% protein (my starter) $15.64 per 50# bag.
    I also only use it as a starter and not a grower. As the protein level decreases so does the price, my grower costs me $14.06 @ 18% protein. (I do want to say this would be much cheaper buy the ton. and my mill would mix it for me. but they have 1 ton minimum I only buy in 50# bags)

    Wheat 29% -----------------max30% (the max% is from another source)

    Corn 10%--------------------max 65%

    Soy beans 28%-----------max 15%

    Oats/Barley 10%---------combined max 15% or you will have wet litter

    (i am only using oats at the moment, but will be adding barley)

    SunFlower seeds 7%-------max 10% (I use hulled, I know it is not alive any more but this is what I need)

    Field Peas 5%------------max 10%

    White Millet 5%-----------max 30% (I do prefer the wild finch seed mix it has flax seed and other grains in it. for more variety)

    Alfalfa 6%-----------max 5% ( I do leave this in my recipe even during the summer months)

    Vitamins .03%------max 4% I am using the vitamins as I didn't feel comfortable with not adding any. my .03% is the advised amount from my mill for these vitamins specifically.
    ( I feel kelp would be able to replace this as it has numerous vitamins and minerals in it. (It will be in a free choice feeder if it is not wasted, if is wasted it will be added to the feed)

    Sea Salt .02%----max 1% (I will be replacing with kelp for the salt content as well.)
    I am able to purchase Kelp from my feed mill. It will cost me $50.00 for 50# bag waiting for $ to do this.

    Meat I add 1-2 x's a week unless it's summer and they are out ranging.
    I have not found something (meat) I am comfortable with yet. I do use suet cakes(minimally), and meat and fish scrapes when available in winter.

    Oyster shell free choice when laying. (I did give Boiled and pulverized beyond recognition eggs when on this starter)

    Right size grit available always.

  8. Reyvaughn

    Reyvaughn Songster

    Mar 10, 2011
    Northeast Pennsylvania
    That's great info, WI Farmchick! Now, I need to figure out how to mix in some of the other things you don't use. I'll work up a plan and post for you guys and girls to look over and critique.
  9. Reyvaughn

    Reyvaughn Songster

    Mar 10, 2011
    Northeast Pennsylvania
    Okay, here's what I came up with. I am not sure what percentage Protein this comes out to, to be honest. Maybe someone can help me with that?

    15% Corn
    10% Soybeans (Roasted)
    10% Wheat
    10% Oats
    10% Grit
    8% Barley
    8% Alfalfa
    5% Sunflowers
    5% Linseed
    4% Beet Pulp
    9% Fish Meal
    6% Vitamins & Minerals (Kelp and NutriBalancer if I can get them)

    Now, back to the milk replacer or dry milk.... Good idea or no? Also, will I need some molasses to help bind?

    Anyways, without knowing the cost of the vitamins and without adding the mill's costs ($16 a 1/2 ton, I think), it equals out to $9.47 for 50#. I am spending $9.50 now. Plus $20 a month in grit. I'll still have to feed oyster shell free choice, but I can handle that. I use very little - 50# every 6 months - because I feed the shells back to the girls.

    Anyways, how does the proposed mix look?
  10. WI FarmChick

    WI FarmChick Songster

    Feb 22, 2012
    Say you make a mix that is three parts wheat,
    one part corn and one part oats. You want to
    know how much protein is in the mix.

    GRAIN PARTS PROTEIN % (see list below)

    Wheat 3 X 12.5 = 37.5
    Corn 1 X 9 = 9
    Oats 1 X 12 = 12
    TOTALS 5 58.5
    58.5 divided by 5 = 11.7% Protein
    in mix

    This is how I figure it out. you will need to find out what percent protein your ingredients are at.

    Not sure about the milk part....I have heard conflicting info.
    Not sure how much milk a chicken would be able to get a hold of if left out to range for its food.
    so.... IMO I don't use.

    How are you getting it so cheap. is your feed mill mixing it for you or
    is it just the amount you are purchasing make that big of a difference?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012

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