How to get them to eat granular part of homemade feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by countrygoddess, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Songster

    I started making my own chicken feed this summer. Included in my formulation is whole oats, whole wheat, cracked corn, field peas, sesame seeds, fish meal, kelp meal, Redmond salt, active brewers yeast, limestone meal, NutriBalancer, and in the winter I'll include alfalfa meal (they're on pasture the rest of the year and forage for the majority of their nutrition). The problem is that after they've eaten all the grains, peas, and seeds, they're left with the "premix" of fish and kelp meals, salt, yeast, etc. I've been leaving it for a day or two figuring that if they become desperate enough they'll eat it, but they don't and then I give in and refill the feeders with new food. What can I do (apart from grinding everything together into a meal which is not doable) to get them to eat the premix?

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    This is an unintended consequence of choosing to blend your own feed, I'm afraid. If I was going to go the route of blending my own feed, (which I am not, but if I were) I would invest in a grinder/mixer.

    The biggest reason ground, blended feed was first introduced to farmers a century ago was to combat this very issue. Farmers who tried these newly introduced feeds saw egg production rise, weight gains and growth rates that pleased them.

    Other than the old "leave it until they give in and must eat it because they are really hungry" method, I know of no way to "make" a chicken eat something. Honestly, I don't know.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  3. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    use grease and make a meal or gruel out of it? use yogurt? use... some kinda of sticky good tasting stuff...

    with the kelp included is more salt needed? maybe it's too salty tasting?
  4. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Songster

    I read a book called Feeding Poultry by G. F. Heuser from 1955 that went into great detail about the results of various "stations'" trials with the "new" feeds, as well as the various feed grains, protein feeds, etc. and that's how I decided on what I did. There was nothing in the book about method of feeding because that's not really what it was about. I also used the advice of Harvey Ussery in his book Small Scale Poultry Flocks, but he doesn't really mention that either. In his feeds he uses both salt and kelp. Salt should make up no more than 2% of feed, according to Feeding Poultry, and in my ration, salt is at 1% and kelp is at 1%, but maybe I'll cut the salt down and see if that makes a difference. I'll think about mixing yogurt or buttermilk in, but I don't want them to get used to it and not eat if they don't get it. I have a friend who makes his living buying items at estate sales and auctions, fixes them up, and resells them for a profit. He's on the lookout for an old mill (we live in Vermont so that shouldn't be too terribly difficult, I wouldn't think). The cost of a new one is prohibitive for me.

  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    If your friend finds you an affordable mill, grab it!!! In fact, if he finds another, please let me know!! [​IMG]

    With the penchant growing for self reliance, these mills are indeed pricey, new or used.
    1 person likes this.
  6. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Songster

    BTW, the main reason I make my own feed is because I believe soy is dangerous and should not be consumed unless it has been fermented (soy sauce, miso, and tempeh). The undesirable components of soy are found in chicken flesh and eggs. For some reason it is impossible find soy-free feed here in Vermont and I have not been able to find a mill that will make a soy-free feed to order unless I buy something like two tons at a time. No can do. Not only is that very expensive, but I have nowhere to keep all that food and it would go bad. I have found soy-free feed online, but shipping is nearly as much as the food itself. I advertised on a town forum here asking if anyone wanted to go in on a large shipment with me and only one lady responded. In the end, we befriended each other, drove to the Northeast Kingdom together to buy the organic grains, corn, and peas from a farmer up there (The farm is called Butterworks Farm and he makes Butterworks Farm yogurt and cream, BTW), and now share a recipe to mix our own feeds.
  7. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Songster

    I will definitely let you know! [​IMG]

  8. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    (Humm 'quote button is misfiring I was quoting post 4 )

    Good thought- We always save extra grease to re-season our cast iron and to keep it out of our pipes, if you start that you'll have enough - just a little goes a long way. you might try a full mass with just water, so that the seeds swell up and peas re-hydrate fully.

    I'm guessing hungry enough they -will- eat it, if you wait till winter and have two feeding stations you might see more willingness to try the strange food.

    ...lets see-

    can you feed it in such a way they can't dig around? a 1"*1"*2" feed hole (per bird if necessary) or the shallow hanging bucket type feeders- then they can eat it whatever is there- or not.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  9. countrygoddess

    countrygoddess Songster

    Thank you FireTigeris. I'll give these things a try. In the winter I plan to germinate some of their grains anyway, so maybe I can use the moisture from those as a binder. Until then, I'll try the rendered leaf lard I keep on hand.

  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    I feed a mash, a local mill grinds the feed for us. I just use a little "something" to bind it together. A little au jus from crock pot dinner, or even just plain old water, warm water is preferred in the winter. Stir. This temporarily binds everything together. Since I portion feed, they usually gobble it up, for the most part, before it has a chance to dry out, allowing them to pick and choose.

    Still, ground mill feed just plain binds better into porridge type feed. Sincerely, if you get a mill, you'll think you've passed into paradise. Best wishes.

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