How to make your own feed article.

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by greyfields, May 25, 2008.

  1. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
  2. kees

    kees Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    Thank you for this wonderful article! I'm printing it out now to try!
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I have been keeping my eyes open for an old used mill/grinder now. I would probably pounce on the opportunity if I ever see one.
  4. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    I have also read that comfrey is excellent as a protein source, but turkeys supposidly like it better than chooks.
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Songster

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:I don't know what Harvey Ussery thinks of comfrey but he doesn't mention it in that article.

    Researchers at the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin put it quite simply, ". . . comfrey should no longer be considered a crop that can be consumed by humans or animals with complete safety." They also don't have much good to say about comfrey as a source of B-12 vitamin and protein in comparison with alfalfa.

    Comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Pyrrolizidine alkaloids cause liver damage and may be carcinogenic. The FDA has said this, "These plants contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, substances which are firmly established to be hepatotoxins in animals."

    hepatotoxin = liver poison

    You can read more about pyrrolizidine alkaloids and a few other plants that contain them in a University of California, Cooperative Extension article by a veterinary toxicologist.

    This is all becoming old news - the FDA forced the removal of comfrey as a dietary supplement 7 years ago. Agronomists were questioning the value and safety of comfrey 15 & 20 years ago. The dangers of pyrrolizidine alkaloids were noted in that U of C article in 1981.

  6. professor-yellow

    professor-yellow Songster

    Mar 23, 2008
    A long time farmer friend of mine just threw out a mixed grain scratch and oyster shell for his chickens. All he would ever buy, however they free ranged all day long on 60 acres of alfalfa.

    The yolks were as orange as orange could be and TASTED JUST LIKE EATING ALFALFA. No seasoning was required but you had to definitely aquire a taste for them.
  7. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Well it's rather controversial to those who view chickens as 'pets', but on a normal farm you can probably not feed your chickens at all and get a reasonable rate of egg production. There are ample opportunities to glean spilled grain and hunt other food around the place. Chickens certainly were never fed 100 years ago, or if they were given whole grains which wouldn't have contained enough protein to be considered their full diet.

    I already mix my own organic fertilizer, so taking the next step and doing a feed sounds like a natural. I have access to a roller mill about 1/2 mile from me. I just need to get the mineral premix, some seed meal, then harvest my 8 acres of oats/winter rye. That or I could just roll the grains and use them to stretch my chicken feed furhter maybe 50/50.

    Also, if you have a custom loose mineral for your farm based on soil testing, that mineral is actually a feed premix. So you can combine that with grains and seed meal and formulate your own ration.
  8. FourFussyHens

    FourFussyHens In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2008
    That is an interesting article, with the exception of the first two snotty paragraphs.

    Why buy alfalfa pellets and grind them BACK into meal? Just buy the meal! It comes in 50# bags just like the pellets.

    A comment on his observation: "...why am I spoon-feeding them basically non-food mineral supplements, however natural? I am experimenting with a gradual reduction of mineral supplementation, other than that of kelp and salt."

    For close to 70 years, American farmers have blindly followed the chemical fertilizer salesmen's word that all their soils needed was NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), totally ignoring all the other minerals. Almost every area in America has soil that is deficient in something: selenium, boron, sulfur, sodium, etc, etc. Some of these are trace minerals, only needed in minute amounts, but needed, nonetheless.

    My point: if the soil is lacking in necessary minerals, the plants (grains, etc) grown on those soils will be lacking in the same minerals. You can't get blood from stones or minerals from wishful thinking. So, even if you are paying extra for organic grain, if the land on which those grains are grown are lacking in minerals, the grains will be, too. And grains are one of the main crops of the chemical farmers. If Mr. Ussery wants to eliminate minerals from his feed rations, one would hope that he has his soil tested first. The chances are excellent that it is short in quite a few minerals necessary to a chicken's health.

    If you have some land and are interested in growing some of your own grains, and you happen to stumble upon Gene Logsdon's book Small-Scale Grain Raising at a yard sale, grab it. (It's out of print, and very expensive if you can find it online.)

    Did you know that one bushel equals 32 dry quarts?

    Did you know that you can grow quite a bit of grain on just 1/40th of an acre (10'x110')?

    With reasonable care, you can grow the following amounts of grain on that small piece of land; a good grower can produce the higher amount. If you remineralized your soil for maximum nutritional density, you would be producing feed (or veggies for yourself) with nutrition superior to probably 98% of any you could buy in America.

    Field corn: 2 to 4 bushels
    Sweet corn: 1.3 to 2.6 bushels
    Oats: 2 to 4 bushels
    Barley: 1.3 to 2.6 bushels
    Rye: 3/4 to 1.5 bushels
    Buckwheat: .75 to 1.5 bushels
    Grain sorghum: 2 to 4 bushels
    Wheat: 1 to 2 bushels

    Plus, you would have quite a bit of straw for bedding or the garden.

    And, as gas prices go up, if you have the land, it may be more and more feasible to grow your own feed, or to supplement what you buy.

    1 person likes this.
  9. lilcountry

    lilcountry Songster

    Mar 29, 2008
    Benson, NC
    How do you remineralize your soil?
  10. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:You bring up some astute points there. I had my soil tested and my loose mineral for the cows, goats, chickens and pigs are all custom dervied for my soil. That's why I say it's techincally a mineral pre-mix.

    Quote:Thank you for the resource, I may have a look for that one. I have gotten all my grain growing information from John Seymour's fabulous guide to self sufficiency (everyone should own this book):

    and Carla Emery's:

    As pointed out in these resourced, you can grow enough wheat for you and your family on about 1/4 acre of land. At that scale, all the work can be done by hand labor and with far fewer hours you may imagine.

    Quote:Not only that, but it's tastier and more rewarding than buying bags of anonymous feed for your livestock!

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