Grain mix need additives??

JudyMcKinn

Songster
13 Years
Jan 24, 2007
691
4
164
SW MO
My hens aren't growing their feathers back as fast as I would like, and looking pretty frumpy. I don't think their egg pellets are doing the trick. I found, on a website, a person who sounded very knowledgable, telling to feed just grain, the way chickens are supposed to eat. Said the pellets are getting made cheaper and cheaper, so the feed stores can keep up their bottom line, but that the quality is getting worse and worse. That "grain by-products" on the sack means chaff & dust off grain, and the red stuff off corn cobs, etc. and they use some sort of clay? to hold the pellets together, etc.
They suggested I just feed 6 parts oats, 2 parts wheat, and 2 parts barley. and keep out oyster shell and grit, which I always do anyway.
Does anyone have any experience doing this? I got a couple sacks oats, a sack of wheat and a sack of Barley. They WERE NOT cheap, but best I could figure, when mixed, should end up not costing much, if any, more than the pellets.
What do some of you who have fed whole grain to chickens think? My chickens seem enthused about the mix when I put it out. I left a feeder of pellets, and added a feeder of the grain mix. In a couple days I will just mix them together till I am out of the pellets. any additives you think they will need badly?
 

simba49450

Songster
11 Years
May 23, 2008
160
0
119
Michigan
hey there

i give mine scratch grain and regular chicken feed. mine are 6 mon old now and they already molted no bare spots at all. but for laying feed im going to give them laying mash. and i dont use oyster shell just plain old grit but since mine are penned i buy that for them that is fortified with calcium cause of the rock they use plus thier feed has the right mix so i have no probs. the scratch and whatever else i give them is for a treat
 

Beekissed

Free Ranging
12 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
4,917
602
This world is not my home.
I feed(greater concentrations listed first) laying mash, crimped oats, cracked corn and, sometimes, BOSS. Makes the feed go farther and I like the whole grains, as this way I know just exactly what is in their feed. They eat the oats last, but I won't feed them again until they clean it up....they clean their plates sooner or later and get fresh scoops once again. I don't like feeding the pellets, they seem to dissolve into dust and there is a lot of waste with them.
 

AnthonyT

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 26, 2008
81
3
31
Franklin, KY
Any mix of commonly available whole grains is going to be deficient in amino acids, mainly lysine and methionine. They have to have some protein supplementation in order to do well. The mix you listed is going to be around 11-12% protein, and like I said it will be amino acid deficient. Amino acid balance is everything when feeding chickens, if it is not correct your birds will not do well.
Wild Jungle Fowl may just eat seeds and such, but the modern breeds are far from jungle fowl. They are bigger, lay more, and need more feed. Also, in the wild birds have access to all of the outdoors. If the food in one square mile is no good they can just up and move a couple miles to find better feed.
 

JudyMcKinn

Songster
13 Years
Jan 24, 2007
691
4
164
SW MO
Anthony--so where do I get the lysine and methionine? I had thought I would mix in some game bird feed. Would that help?
 

AnthonyT

In the Brooder
11 Years
Jun 26, 2008
81
3
31
Franklin, KY
It might help, but I am not sure if it would make it nutrient complete. Look up on line Parson's square for feed formulation. Using it you can figure out how much of each you would need to meet nutrient requirements. Many of the nutrient contents of feed stuffs can be found online also. The best place to get info on feed is a good custom feed mill, not the feed store, an actual feed mill that mixes rations. They can help you put together a good mix and it will most likely be cheaper than anything that comes in a bag. Minimum runs at most smaller mills will be 300-500 pounds though. Also read the NRC nutrient requirements of poultry, available free online. It is a wealth of info and covers all classes of poultry. Another good source is the old but thorough Feeding Poultry by Heuser.
 

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