Homemade chicken feed

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by Athaid, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi, I just signed up to this forum because I have some questions about nutrition. We're going to be rescuing seven ex-battery hens in august, and we've been discussing what to feed them. We're moving house in july to the countryside, and we have an area already marked out for them in our heads. So they'll have a fairly large plot of land to forage on. There is a local distillery which makes malt whisky, and we're hoping to get some of the barley Draff (http://www.feedipedia.org/node/4266)
    for free, every week or so. According to feedipedia barley draff is about 60% fibre and 17-23% protein. But low in minerals.
    If we can dry it out somehow, and mix it with crushed shells from the beach, table scraps, and occasionaly some seaweed which has been soaked and dried out, would this be a good feed? The protein content seem pretty good, but the fibre is very high and I'm worried that it may hurt the chickens in some way. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC. As a supplement to a commercial balanced ration plus free ranging, they might do fine on such a diet.
  3. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    We don't want to use any kind of commercial food because of the gmo and soy content. What other things could we add to make it a complete diet? any seeds or grains?
  4. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh and thanks :p
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    The occasional table scraps and seaweed will not make up for what the spent mash lacks... Plus drying the mash is quite a challenge in itself...

    Proteins are not all created the same, chickens have specific amino acid requirements that have to be met, not all proteins will supply the necessary amounts of these, specifically methionine and lysine...

    A DIY balanced diet for chickens to grow and produce optimally, is not a simple challenge, and unless you have a mill local that you can get deals on a variety of items it almost always cost more then a commercially prepared feed...

    As for not wanting GMO and Soy, why not simply choose a commercial feed that has neither as their core diet?

    In regards to mixing it with crushed oyster shells, don't bother just offer the crushed oyster shells on the side, they will self regulate their calcium intake...
  6. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, I can't seem to find any food which does not contain soy, and a lot of them don't say what the food contains on the bag. We don't really care if the hens don't lay a lot of eggs, we just want to give some ex bats a good home. I do know of a supplier that sells straight seeds and grains, and I'm prepared to spend a little more if it means knowing exactly what my hens are eating. We may not dry the mash, as it can last a week or two whilst still damp. And if we get it in small amounts it should be okay. What sorts of things do you think we would need to add?
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Probably time to make a few calls to the manufactures and ask...

    I'm not sure what the amount of desired eggs has to do with it, inferior diets will certainly cause lower egg production but it doesn't end there, without proper nutrition their overall health and well being will also be suffering...

    If you don't have local suppliers you are likely going to spend a great deal more formulating a feed...

    I feed my chickens a side of spent grains from a local beer brewery, and during the summer months after 2 or 3 days it's quite ripe and going bad, at that point it goes in the compost pile as I won't feed it to the birds any longer... I expect the mash will turn even sooner since it's already decomposed and decomposing...

    As for what to add, since you don't want to use soy or risk any GMO, peas are a good protein alternative, as is fish meal or another animal meal...

    A GMO free corn, oat and your protein source mix is a good place to start.. Then adding millet, black oil sunflower seeds, and wheat seeds would be a rolling start... I would also consider adding a yeast based feed supplement as well as a poultry specific vitamin and feed supplement that contains methionine and lysine...

    And the seaweed will also be welcomed...

    There are plenty of DIY receipts online, but few actually provide a verified nutritional breakdown, so do your homework on what is mixed in and try to at least get an estimate of the nutritional breakdown...
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  8. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the long reply. When I mentioned the eggs I just meant that our motive for getting hens wasn't just for the eggs, I know I may not have worded that right.
    We live in a pretty cold part of Europe, and we will have a cool dry place to store the feed.
    We wanted our hens to be living as naturally as possible and designed the coop and run with that in mind. So having an absolutely perfect feed isn't completely necessary, as chickens foraging in the wild wouldn't be getting the perfect balance of nutrients.

    With the barley mash, if we added wheat seeds and sunflower seeds, as well as sprouting some millet seeds for them. Do you think this would be good? Also the grit in a separate dish, and the table scraps etc.. Their run is one acre, so lots of foraging space. Sorry for all the questions. I've been researching chickens for a while now, just want to get it right.
  9. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    I beg to differ, provided near unlimited ample fertile land as chickens had in their ancestral past had they very well could have provided themselves with a fully balanced diet...

    Either way I see no validity in trying to find reasons or excuses to justify feeding them an inferior and incomplete diet when we know a great deal about their nutritional requirements...
  10. Athaid

    Athaid Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am not
    I am not trying to make excuses. Foraging animals such as chickens and hamsters don't always get the optimal nutrients from their food in the wild. I care a great deal about nature and animals in general, and that is why I have chosen not to buy a commercial food. And why we have designed the coop and run, and the things whithin the run in the way we did. Most humans dont drink the optimal amount of water per day, or consume the right amount of fruit and vegetables. I'm not looking for precise numbers, just suggestions. Sometimes typed words make you sound harsh, so just so you know I'm not trying to come across that way.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by