Feeding tips please!

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Well nobody really gave me tips except to buy the premade mix at the store. However I looked into it myself after not finding much helpful information and found the dried split peas offer a lot of protien and are good for ducks. I regret even asking as I felt more attacked about my post than helped. Thanks for the input though. Next time I will just look fervently instead of asking on here. 😒
??
I will never understand why inexperienced people come to a forum to ask the advice of the "experts" who have already learned the right way to manage a flock and then perceive their advice as attacks. It happens all the time. This is one of the biggest negatives of online forums. You cannot see facial expressions, hear tones of voice, etc. and sometimes very good intentions are very misinterpreted as an attack.
The premade mixes, for most, are the best option.

I have made my own feed before but it is very time consuming to gather the proper ingredients. It actually did cost a bit less but I had to do more work to ensure that the birds received a balanced diet. The two most important ingredients in my mix were organic food grade fish meal and Fertrell Poultry Nutri-balancer to ensure proper vitamin/mineral balance in the mix. Because I used whole grains, the best way to ensure everything was eaten was to ferment it.

Anyone touting feeding dog food to poultry is taking uneducated, cheap short cuts for a protein source. If you are going to buy a dog food that has high quality meat, you are going to be paying a lot.

You discovered yourself that the birds will pick out what they want and leave the rest behind. That leaves them with an imbalanced diet. They may be able to self correct with a very highly diverse area to free range in. But it's not an ideal way to manage feeding practices.

So it all comes back to the easiest way to ensure your flock is receiving a balanced diet? Commercial. I don't particularly like it but I feed it. Even when I did my own mix I used about 40% commercial/60% homemade.

You really can learn a tremendous amount of information here if you just set aside any judgements about content and evaluate the information you were given.
But I still stand by my statement about many of the YouTuber poultry "experts". Most of what I've seen is just plain bad advice.
 
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svh

Crowing
Dec 24, 2019
535
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Well nobody really gave me tips except to buy the premade mix at the store. However I looked into it myself after not finding much helpful information and found the dried split peas offer a lot of protien and are good for ducks. I regret even asking as I felt more attacked about my post than helped. Thanks for the input though. Next time I will just look fervently instead of asking on here. 😒
Sorry if I came across a bit snippy, as I was just mirroring your perceived attitude toward some of the other posters. Sometimes it's hard to "read" someone using words alone ..... To me, you came across as imperious, and already had the answers you wanted to hear.

If I was wrong, I apologize again. Please don't let the actions of one jerk (me) deter you from using the rest of this very helpful forum.

I generated a quick search for you, and came up with tons of information. Link below.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/homemade-feed-advice.1461628/#post-24342847

Have a wonderful day ! :)
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
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Well nobody really gave me tips except to buy the premade mix at the store.

This is because it is exceedingly difficult to make a properly balanced feed at home in small batches.

You can read this thread where knowledgeable people are working with a member in a country where balanced commercial feed is not available and see just how difficult it actually is. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/making-feed-at-home.1495914/

Your great-grandmother on the farm 100 years ago may have fed her chickens nothing but a few handfuls of grains but not only is a modern backyard a far different place from a diversified farm where chickens roamed at will to clean up other animals' spilled feed and eat the bugs out of the manure, but modern chickens are not your great-grandmothers' chickens.

You can download a 1921 poultry-keeping book here giving the then-latest scientific advice aimed at improving poultry production so that you could get a profitable 100 eggs per hen per year ... from LEGHORNS. https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/poultry-for-the-farm-and-home.1443907/

Today, in 2021, the Brahma in my avatar did better than that -- and she's the worst layer in the flock.

:)
 

kerbotx

Songster
5 Years
Aug 29, 2016
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Northeast Texas
So this thread is probably done, but I felt like adding... Regarding the corn & sunflowers - there's whole corn or cracked corn; they may prefer one over the other. For sunflower seeds, there's Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, gray striped sunflower seeds, etc; BOSS is better for chickens, as they swallow it whole, hull and all. The sunflower seeds could also be sprouted, or fermented to make them softer. You might look into what the whole-grain feed producers are using, like Scratch & Peck, Crypto Aero, Modesto Milling, etc - split peas do seem popular!
 

U_Stormcrow

Free Ranging
Jun 7, 2020
4,628
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North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
So, I'm that "knowledgeable" person referred to above. Which really just means I've invested the time to find and read a bunch of studies, going back decades, continue to read more stdies as I run across them, and have looked at the meta data assemblages of various universities, gov't agencies, and poultry groups. Plus of course the common books and references, as well as comparing numerous commercial feeds - what do they do, and WHY do tthey do it? What's common between them? What isn't? Its nothing any other reasonably intelligent and dedicated person couldn't learn with a few months of concerted effort.

If you'd like to provide the recipe (my internet is VERY bad out here, I can't watch a you tube video), I'd be happy to punch it in and give you a computed nutritional break down, then take it step by step on why an ingredient is good, bad, or indifferent. I will need to know what dog food you are using, and will not be able to provide an amino acid profile for that portion of your feed, but agree with @DobieLover (I beleive) that the dog food is likely doing most of the work in that feed - just as those 1920s, 30s, 40s diets we find in old books were about 80% (largely) junk grains, and did the majority of thee nutritional lifting with 20% meat scraps. (or they took the water away from their birds, and had them drink skim milk all day!)

Crude as that sounds, those old time diets were nutriotionally BETTER (based on the studies, which I can link) than what I have thus far found from various "make your own" sources on the Internet or reports of Youtube mixes.

Finally, whether home made or commercial, there is a problem inherent to whole grain mixes, which you have discovered. Chickens will, in accordance with pecking order, pick out their favorite foods and leave unwanted bits, given opportunity. Experienced owners frequently address that concern by sprouting the grains and/orfermenting, serving it as a wet mash. A quick search of the forums will readily turn up numerous new owners feeding very expensive, often quite good, whole grain commercial feeds - yet nevertheless having birds with symptoms of nutritional deficiency. Because like petulant pre-teens, the dominant birds are refusing to clean their plates.

An imbalance mitigated, in your case, in part by their ability to forage in the area they free range. I commend you for that practice, its one I follow myself (incomplete thread, other priorities...). But that's no guarantee either, if you don't know what in the pasture, or haven't identified the key nutrients in the portion of the feed not being consumed.

I would ask that you keep in mind, however, that what was acceptable in terms of nutrition middle last century (based on the state of knowledge at that time) is no longer adequate now - not only because we know more (allowing greater options for fine tuning a feed) and have more ingredients available to us, but because (as @3KillerBs mentioned) a modern bird is not like its recent counterparts of just a few decades ago - and their are studies demonstrating that the increased performance we expect of a modern chicken brings with it (not surprising, really) a change in its nutritional needs, as well.

/edit apologies for spelling, I was happy just to get this posted w/o losing connection. I'm not going back thru it to correct spelling, grammar, and a sometimes less than reactive space bar - the information is what's important, not the pretty presentation.
 

BrooksHatlen

Free Ranging
Jun 2, 2020
2,755
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Near Devil's Millhopper
I can support mixing your own if you have a real need or goal.
I like not buying the pre made stuff and mixing my own.
This, however, is not it. Do you really want to give money to the same companies that would have made your feed and still do the work? Just buy the appropriate feed.

This really is just the best practice for a typical back yard flock. Treating it as a treat, you could still mix for "Sunday Dinner".
 

DParker75089

Chirping
Mar 20, 2020
27
81
66
D/FW Texas
I regret even asking as I felt more attacked about my post than helped. Thanks for the input though. Next time I will just look fervently instead of asking on here. 😒
Nobody attacked you or your post. You asked a question about something you saw on YT and assumed to be authoritative. Your question was responded to with good, useful information by people with practical experience. That it wasn't what you were expecting/wanting to hear because it contradicted your assumption doesn't make it any less accurate or helpful.
 

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