Home grown Grain as a feed additive

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Tacoman, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Tacoman

    Tacoman Hatching

    Oct 6, 2011
    We raised 50 meat birds this year, which set us back about $400 in feed. I had the idea to start growing some kind of grain crop and mix it with the grower feed we buy from the feed store. Has anyone else done this? if so what type of grain did you grow? how many parts grain to feed mix did you mix it?

  2. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    If I was going to grow something to offset bills, it would probably be wheat (for high yield and ease of growing) or non GMO soybeans (if you can get them).

    There are some good home mix recipes on the net. Perhaps you could consult a few and then decide on your own inclusion levels. For instance this gives a pretty good roundup (I think) of basic requirements and some suggested rations: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/poultry/bba01s12.html (lower down the page for recipes).

    Last year I grew a little wheat; it wasn't enough to keep the birds going for long, but it was somehow satisfying. Good weather conditions during harvest/drying and good storage bins are a must.

  3. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Sunflowers are easy to grow. If you are somewhere that it grows, sorghum (milo) is good bird feed and all you have to do is toss the entire seed head to the birds. Millet is also excellent bird feed.

    I grow greens for my birds. I don't know how much it cuts the feed bill, but I think it is healthy for them. Next year, I'll be planting many rows of snow peas. The birds love the plants and they are high protein and very easy to grow.

    Really, what grain you can grow depends upon where you live, how much rain you get, and whether or not you intend to irrigate. Be aware that you can not compete with the big farms on cost for grain.
  4. cva34

    cva34 Songster

    Aug 10, 2011
    Van Vleck ,TX
    Quote:Can DO .But what kind depends on where your at...cva34
  5. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Songster

    Nov 8, 2010

  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Quote:I agree with Erica in that wheat is easy to grow! Millet is too (birdseed). They will stomp on the stalks and eat the grain off the plants.

    Soybeans must be roasted or they are toxic. All soybean meal in commercial feed has been roasted (because of antinutrients).
  7. wyododge

    wyododge Chirping

    Sep 30, 2011
    Barley is pretty easy to grow too. If it grows in Wyoming, it will grow anywhere... Actually most grains are pretty easy to grow. Get em good and wet (like flood wet), let em dry out, get em good and wet... Then after the heads come out around 45 - 60 days (generally the plant will be brown or heading that way), let em dry completely and they will 'plump' or store carbs in the seed in preparation for harvest. You can harvest it by hand, or let the chickens do it. You will also get a fair amount of volunteer regrowth if you water after the chickens have gone through. Planted 1st of may, the barley should be ready for harvest in mid July. You may be able to get two crops if your season is long enough, and you plant early enough. It's not even remotely possible here.

    Here is a good trick to get your seeds to sprout quickly. Put the seeds in two quart containers (3/4 full), fill with soapy water and 2 table spoons of instant sweetened tea and put in the fridge for two or three days. drain them through a nylon sock thingy, and spread them out on news paper or sheet in the sun. You can plant them wet they just stick together. The cold makes them come out of dormancy like a shotgun, the soap softens the husk for easier germination. The sugar and the tea I honestly can't remember, but it works amazingly well.

    If you have room, you can rotate runs or 'pastures'. We have a big strip of barren ground just growing weeds and that is what we are gonna do. Open up a different section each week after the barley is mature. After the first pass through each section we will water it to get the volunteers up and growing. If nothing else it provides winter cover.

    If you know a farmer in the area, you can get a 5 gallon bucket of seed when they transfer it. Usually just sweep it up off the ground. Most those guys are pretty good about stuff like that. Just make sure to offer a $10 before you go.

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