Homemade Chicken Feed 200 lbs @ $0.39 per Pound

mobius

Songster
Feb 29, 2016
1,712
1,228
246
Roosting. In A Tree. In Deepest NW Montana.
Here is a copy of my recipe:

Ok folks, I need you to weigh in here!

Organic whole-grain chicken feed mix. I downloaded Garden Betty's spread sheet ( a huge shout-out to her) and priced the various grains/feed on Azure.

Here is the proposed recipe (parts are by weight, so I figure per mix one pound per part):

10 parts Whole Peas

10 Parts Alfalfa Pellets

10 parts Whole Oats

5 Parts Barley Grain

5 Parts Wheat Middlings (bran, germ, pieces and whole grain)

1 Part Kelp.

Ok. That's it. According to the spreadsheet, this is exactly 17% protein for my 6 little layers.

They get grit and crushed eggshells free feed and they forage during the day in a safe area (but winter is coming of course and will limit this activity).

ETA here: suggested addition of vitamin powder and @ShanandGem codliver oil , suggested which I thought was a great idea.

I did not do this as it was in fact cost-prohibitive compared next to the excellent organic feed I found. Which was corn and soy free...which is what I was gunning for...

Now looking for spreadsheet link for ya...so you can know for sure what you already have...
 
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eldonrgv

Songster
Oct 5, 2016
229
51
106
Roma Texas
I wouldn't beat myself up too much over something like this. There is a difference between stupidity and being uninformed/ignorant. Asking questions about things you don't know about is a sign of intelligence and a good thing. Yours was about feed rations and in that, is no different than the legions who make mistakes in their housing, including predator control. There are a lot of things to learn about raising chickens, feed rations and what they eat and need to eat being only one of many.

But your concern about feed cost is valid. But at least you know where to look for solutions.


What he said!  And you did not waste your money.  You have some very nice feed there.  What you could do, if you wanted to work out the numbers, using an agricultural chart to up the protein with fish meal.  Some folks have used cat fish or koi pellets.  Or you could simply buy a nice bag of higher protein feed, and use your mix as scratch.  You can still ferment your mix if you want to.  You might find someone on your state thread who does mix their own, and get enough Nutri-balancer and aragonite to balance it out.  

We're all learning.  Feeding your birds is one of the biggest learning curves.  I can't tell you how many threads talk about "my birds are dying or getting sick" only to further on disclose that the birds are eating nothing but stale white bread and perhaps scratch.  Or their feed is old.  Sounds like where you live, you never run into old feed.  I can't tell you how often I've walked out of the feed store without buying b/c the feed on the shelves is 2 - 3 months old.


Here is spreadsheet link, which I used...just for protein content but that is most important first step...

http://www.gardenbetty.com/2014/11/garden-bettys-chicken-feed-calculator-for-determining-your-protein-content/

Thanks everyone for your information. Ill be getting fish meal and nutri balancer this weekend when I head to the city. @mobius thanks for the spreadshit info. Still waiting for link from betty to download it.
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,567
3,131
286
Missouri
To give you guys some idea of what you are up against when you decide to formulate your own feed, consider the nutrition information provided in these two links:

http://articles.extension.org/pages/69042/synthetic-methionine-and-organic-poultry-diets

http://articles.extension.org/pages/67357/feeding-fishmeal-to-poultry

So to start with, % protein is a relatively meaningless number. What matters is the amino acids that are the building blocks that make up the protein. Birds don't need protein, they need the various amino acids that make up the protein. As the data above suggest, methionine is normally absent in corn and soy based rations, even though soy is high in "protein". It is not high in essential amino acids. Review what methionine deficient diets result in and ask yourself if we have not heard some of those before. My hen is not laying? Feather pecking? Poor growth? Perhaps they molt?

So enter fish meal. But which one, exactly. Different fish differ in amino acid content.* They there is the issue of how was it stabilized so it doesn't break down. Then there is the issue of according to some standards, NO animal by products are allowed in feed, so then you are stuck with synthetic methionine.

Bottom line is to do it right you will probably need to be on par in your knowledge of nutrition as the author of the above is, and that seems to be PhD. Those are the folks who the feed companies hire to do it right. Just saying.

The other interesting thing to be gleaned from the info above is how birds are able to find this on their own during periods when they are allowed to run on pasture. Grazing on green stuff and bugs, in addition to what feed they get. So for those of you who mix your own feeds, do your birds stop laying in winter and resume in summer when the flowers and bugs come out. If so, that might be the reason why.

* Best nutritional news I've heard lately is that the Asian carp that now plague the Midwest river systems has proven to be an excellent source of methionine. If so, perhaps a market for poultry feed supplement can be opened up for them. Hunted to extinction? When applied to these invasive carp, that has a nice ring to it.
 
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Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,567
3,131
286
Missouri
PS: If you read info provided, one of the organic sources mentioned for methionine was sesame seed hulls.

In a former life, I once learned to make sushi rolls, and as such sesame seeds were sometimes used. I recently found a sack of them when cleaing out the freezer and when I looked at the use by date, realized how old they were. So I dumped them out onto the compost pile for the chickens. They went berserk and spent the next two days turning the pile, looking for every last one of them.

They do the same thing when I offer them leftover salmon or tuna. Could it be they somehow know or crave what they need?
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,045
2,775
406
NEK, VT
You need a good 40 lbs of fish meal to bring up the mix to around 22% protein. Any measure of nutrient should be done by weight and if researching nutrition the form the ingredient is in matters. Dried peas opposed to boiled peas really changes content by weight as it's filled with water weight and things of that nature.

It's all doable with algebra. You've got 200 lbs at 13% protein and want to add X amount of 65% protein fish meal to end up at 22%.

200(13) + X (65) = (200+X) 22

2600 + 65X = 4400 + 22X

43X = 1800

X= 42 Lbs Fish meal. Call it 40 and your mix is still over 20% no problem. Of course then your near 250 lbs of feed and need a lot of chickens to use that up. Probably better off using it as a scratch grain. Put in 5 gallon buckets with sealed lids or something for storage in cool place and you've scratch grain to last a long time.
 

ShanandGem

Songster
Feb 16, 2016
721
172
141
PS: If you read info provided, one of the organic sources mentioned for methionine was sesame seed hulls.

In a former life, I once learned to make sushi rolls, and as such sesame seeds were sometimes used. I recently found a sack of them when cleaing out the freezer and when I looked at the use by date, realized how old they were. So I dumped them out onto the compost pile for the chickens. They went berserk and spent the next two days turning the pile, looking for every last one of them.

They do the same thing when I offer them leftover salmon or tuna. Could it be they somehow know or crave what they need?
Another point of note is that buying methionine supplements on a small scale is insanely expensive. I can cook fresh frozen fish intended for human consumption and serve it to my chickens cheaper than I can supplement a vegetarian feed with methionine.
 

TalkALittle

Songster
5 Years
Dec 15, 2014
1,661
704
191
Massachusetts
​Another point of note is that buying methionine supplements on a small scale is insanely expensive.  I can cook fresh frozen fish intended for human consumption and serve it to my chickens cheaper than I can supplement a vegetarian feed with methionine.

I know that methionine supplements for humans need to be stabilized in order to have any kind of a shelf life (and even then it's only about 24 months from manufacture to consumption when stored in ideal conditions). That probably accounts for the price.

Using synthetic methionine supplement does eliminate the potential concern of mercury that comes with feeding one's birds fish. Of course, avoiding feeding predatory and long-living species of fish can reduce mercury intake and not everyone has a concern about mercury.
 

eldonrgv

Songster
Oct 5, 2016
229
51
106
Roma Texas
Great info...thanks everyone. I went to town yesterday and headed to tractor supply and got mealworms and a bag of bone meal. Mealworms are just for treats and the bone meal package says to add 5%. If I feed my flock 2.5 lbs of feed then I should add 57 grams of bone meal, correct?
 

mobius

Songster
Feb 29, 2016
1,712
1,228
246
Roosting. In A Tree. In Deepest NW Montana.
Don't know about the bone meal sry!

But! have you considered starting a meal worm farm? About three months in you will have them reproducing like crazy. Mine live on top of fridge and get a sliced potato once a week.

Otherwise the dried ones are pretty expensive. I would say my farm cost about twenty dollars to start and then a potato a week after that. Or carrots or cabbage, etc.
 

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