Has anyone fed their chickens a self mixed feed long term?

angidee

Songster
9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
167
4
111
Washington
I started mixing a feed based on a recipe I found here and further research. They have been eating this mix for a year.
Egg production has decreased suddenly. At first I thought it was just because they were molting. We were harvesting our roosters, so we also harvested a couple hen. Before harvesting we first noticed a swollen abdomen. Once harvested, we saw that their organs were covered with fat. So I checked some other hens and found several with swollen abdomens and again their organs were covered with fat.
After looking into this, it sounds as though it is fatty liver disease which is caused by diet. So I am wondering if anyone who has mixed their feed longer than a year has run into any issues.

I was adding corn only 50% of the time at a ratio of 1/15
I used no soy
I added in a layer feed 50% of the time at a ration of 1/15


Any ideas about what went wrong?
 
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ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
700
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
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angidee

Songster
9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
167
4
111
Washington
Thanks for the links! I have been able to rule out moldy or rancid. I had almost 100 chickens and went through grain very quickly, so even if I fed moldy feed (which I have never seen and did pay close attention for) it would have been short term before a new bag of a given grain was opened and used. I also used a variety of sources for many of the same items, so I am confident that avoided any mold toxins.

The second link, however, listed every grain in my feed mix as a 'feed seldom or never' grain. Now I am REALLY confused!!!!! I know commercial ingredients include many of these ingredients (wheat, oats, peas, etc), so even if I wasn't mixing the grains myself, they would still be getting it in pellet or crumble form.

What did people feed before companies started making bagged feed? What is the most natural thing to feed chickens. Free ranging only gets them so much, especially in the winter, so they need a feed of some sort. Would sprouting the grains be closer to a more natural diet?!

For the moment, I have just started feeding them commercial feed and am sprouting their grains. Hopefully I will see a rise in egg production and shrinking abdomens in the chickens. In the meantime, I need to figure out what is going wrong!

My ingredients include
wheat, millet, barley, milo, split peas, lentils, corn, oat groats, BOSS, peanuts, flax seed, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, grit and oyster shell. The spices are to keep away coccidious and internal parasites naturally. I did not list it in order of greatest quantity, but the wheat was the predominate ingredient. Any thoughts on my ingredients? I am aware of the controversy over lentils and now wonder if this is the culprit....but I just don't know!
 

Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Whenever I see these ingredients, whether in home mixed feeds or even in some commercial "vegetarian" formulas, I look for animal fat and animal protein and very often, there isn't any.

In the absence of animal protein, I believe the chicken often overeats and thus the fat. You asked what people likely fed before commercial feeds. I've two thoughts on that, for what it is worth. First, the modern chicken has often been bred to be so very different than the chicken of 100 years ago. Unless one has an uninterrupted heritage line, the likelihood is of having lots of commercial oriented genetics, selected for fast maturity and heavy egg laying.

Secondly, commercial feed, prepared with the best dietary science available at the time, has been prevalent for almost a century. It has been a long, long time since folks did not have commercial feed available to them.

Those are my thoughts, however little help they may be to you.
 

angidee

Songster
9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
167
4
111
Washington
Thank you very much! Terrific points that I hadn't considered.
With regard to 'animal protein', this refers to meats, bugs and such, correct? I am aware chickens are carnivores and have actually worried if there are enough bugs available to them. This may well be exactly what is going on!
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
700
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
Thanks for the links! I have been able to rule out moldy or rancid. I had almost 100 chickens and went through grain very quickly, so even if I fed moldy feed (which I have never seen and did pay close attention for) it would have been short term before a new bag of a given grain was opened and used. I also used a variety of sources for many of the same items, so I am confident that avoided any mold toxins.

The second link, however, listed every grain in my feed mix as a 'feed seldom or never' grain. Now I am REALLY confused!!!!! I know commercial ingredients include many of these ingredients (wheat, oats, peas, etc), so even if I wasn't mixing the grains myself, they would still be getting it in pellet or crumble form.

What did people feed before companies started making bagged feed? What is the most natural thing to feed chickens. Free ranging only gets them so much, especially in the winter, so they need a feed of some sort. Would sprouting the grains be closer to a more natural diet?!

For the moment, I have just started feeding them commercial feed and am sprouting their grains. Hopefully I will see a rise in egg production and shrinking abdomens in the chickens. In the meantime, I need to figure out what is going wrong!

My ingredients include
wheat, millet, barley, milo, split peas, lentils, corn, oat groats, BOSS, peanuts, flax seed, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, grit and oyster shell. The spices are to keep away coccidious and internal parasites naturally. I did not list it in order of greatest quantity, but the wheat was the predominate ingredient. Any thoughts on my ingredients? I am aware of the controversy over lentils and now wonder if this is the culprit....but I just don't know!

I'd delete the peanuts. I used to feed peanuts, too but am convinced they are too fatty and that other things are better. Also they can be contaminated with aflatoxins. I like the book "Feeding Poultry" by Heuser written a long time ago- it gives a nice perspective:
http://www.amazon.com/Feeding-Poultry-Nutrition-Chickens-Gamebirds/dp/0972177027

http://www.ca.uky.edu/smallflocks/feed_ingredients/grains.html
here is a grain link if needed

This link may be especially useful:
http://www.mofga.org/Publications/M...r/Summer2003/Chickens/tabid/1481/Default.aspx
 
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angidee

Songster
9 Years
Feb 26, 2010
167
4
111
Washington
Thanks so much for those links!! The peanuts, though not regularly feed, probably are too fatty.
I do have that book, however it is organized unusually and I have had a difficult time wading through as I created my recipe.
I will check out those others as well. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

In the absence of animal protein, I believe the chicken often overeats and thus the fat
now that I do have a couple bags of Purina layena while I figure this out, i checked their label. I am noticing theirs do not contain animal fats either. It also looks like it's pretty much corn and soybean with a bunch of additives. I wonder how chickens fair on this feed long term. I can't imagine it's much better than the variety of grains they we getting. Is there a feed that does contain the animal proteins you suggest?
 

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