Homemade corn, wheat, and soy free layer feed


11 Years
Oct 23, 2008
High Springs, FL
Hi, I have been trying to formulate a corn/wheat/soy free feed for my layers because many of the people I sell eggs to have requested it. Here is what I have so far:

53% oats (soaked then ground)
29% split peas (soaked then ground)
8% alfalfa meal
5% fish meal
2% kelp
2% crushed eggshell
1% DE
trace of mineral salt

Everything is weighed dry, the oats and peas are then soaked for 24 hrs in acidified water, then ground. I am feeding at a rate of almost 5 oz per bird per day. I am worried if they are getting enough calories, and if it's too high in protein. Since I am feeding animal protein, I don't think there is problem with the amino acid content. Am I wrong? I have been thinking of adding a few ounces of fat for calories.

I've been doing a bunch of reading but there isn't much solid info on how soaking changes the available nutrition in grains and peas. Anyone have any experience with soaking? Do you need to feed more or less than unsoaked?

I do know the birds I am feeding this to are having a much easier time with the heat. They are hardly stressed at all, while my other birds on regular feed are panting.

Any feedback will be appreciated.

Look at info on sprouting. What I read could have been wrong, but I did read that seeds only need to be soaked to get most of the benefits of sprouting. There is plenty out there on what sprouting does to the available nutrition.
I haven't found anything with concrete numbers, % protein, total digestible nutrients, etc. I found lots of stuff that says it 'increases the digestibility' but not a lot of data. If you know of a good source, I'd appreciate a link.

My first thought is that the diet is very energy poor. Oats are around 1140-1190 kcal/lb, and field peas around 1000 kcal/lb. Most commercial diets are around 3500 kcal/lb. The amount of feed consumed is related to energy content, so they may have a hard time eating enough of your diet to meet their energy needs. Those are dry weight measures, so by soaking, you're diluting the energy content even more.

I recommend searching for information on "inclusion limits" for the various ingredients. For any given feed ingredient, there have typically been numerous university studies published on the web. For example, it's generally recommended that oats/barley in any combination not exceed 15%. Some manufacturers of kelp meal recommend no more than 1% for that due to selenium.

Why 5% for fish meal? Why no wheat? Wheat in chickens diet does not equate to gluten in your eggs.

On a side note, if you are feeding this to blue egg layers, they will become feather-picking monsters. When it comes to homemade chicken food, Easter Eggers are the canaries in your coal mine.

Where is your calcium/phosphorus source and the ratio between the two?

Are you measuring by weight or volume?
I am concerned about the energy this mix is supplying. I have read that processing peas increases the available energy, but that is, like, 10%. I was considering adding some fat for calories, and using another grain, like millet perhaps, to replace part of the oats.
I have read up to 50% inclusion limits for whole oats for layers, and up to 40% for peas. I am looking for another grain, perhaps millet, to use to replace a portion of the oats. The oats are being ground, so they are easier to digest. I am trying to get everything locally, so my options are limited. I was thinking of using rice, but I haven't found a less expensive source yet.

Oats and peas are high in protein, so I don't need that much fish meal. Plus, some places I've read said feeding at higher rates can cause eggs to taste fishy. Should it be higher?

The people I am selling to are the non-gmo grain or celiac crowd. They like the idea of corn/wheat/soy free eggs. So, I supply what my market is asking for.

I forgot to add that I have oyster shell out free choice for all the chickens. Plus I add crushed eggshell to the feed mix. Is that enough?

I am measuring by weight.

I haven't fed it to the Easter Eggers yet, just my Delawares.

I use a little bit of millet. Also, black oil sunflower seeds provide a lot of fat and fiber. There seems to a popular misconception that BOSS provides a lot of protein, but it's really only ~16%. My formula comes out to around 24% protein and I use it for all my chickens, from peeps to laying hens. Nyjer Thistle is another high-fat seed.

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