Is there better feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by zowieyellowflame, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. zowieyellowflame

    zowieyellowflame Chillin' With My Peeps

    466
    0
    129
    Jun 11, 2009
    Nova Scotia
    I feed my chickens layers mash, grower and scratch, but now i am wondering if that is good enough. Isn't that the same as what battery chickens eat? My initial intent was to have them roam my property but they eat the garden, scratch everything, refuse to go back to the pen and the hawk has gotten one chicken. We throw in everything we got, veggies, fruit, a bit of bread. I have considered flax, but it is expensive!
    Should I be buying components at the feed store and mixing it myself or something? If a person wanted organic chickens and organic feed, how would a person go about it?
     
  2. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,901
    22
    176
    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    I have the same feelings about chicken feed. There are some whole-grain feeds available here and there, but they are hard to find. Making your own is not easy--you have to get all the ratios and nutrients just right. I'll find a link to my favorite website for that. My problem is that most of the components come in large bags (50#) that would go stale with my small flock. If anyone knows how to get a whole-grain layer food shipped for a reasonable price, that would be great! Right now I use a high protein bird food with sunflower seeds, as well as protein treats, lots of greens, leftover veggies and fruit, weeds, etc....to supplement their layer feed.

    http://www.greenerpasturesfarm.com/ChickenFeedRecipe.html
    http://organicchickens.homestead.com/chickenfeedrecipes.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  3. bibliophile birds

    bibliophile birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    i agree that most commercial feeds just aren't good enough. but that's because i believe that natural, real foods are the only thing that makes sense, for my animals AND for myself. you don't necessarily need to go organic to feed great food. organic is best for the environment, but whole-grain, all-natural food is still great for your flock. mixing your own is great if you can use up all the grain before it goes bad. if you have a smaller flock, maybe someone near you would split the feed with you so it wasn't wasted and would be a bit more economical.

    here's a ton of information i posted elsewhere. hope it helps.

    happy to see more and more people feeding organic! for the moment, i'm feeding organic chick starter from Countryside Naturals , but once the chicks go out to pasture, i'll be mixing my own. i've been doing a lot of research on it.

    i would also start with a wheat base instead of a corn base. most commercial feeds start with corn because it is cheaper, not because it is better nutritionally.

    some resources that i've found helpful:

    (disclaimer: i'm far from being an expert, so this is for informational purposes only. don't take my word for it!)

    The Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives website has been very informational. i don't live in Canada, but what holds true for them should be mostly true for me too... here's some of their articles that are good starting points: Organic Diets for Small Flocks, Poultry Rations and Feeding Methods, and Research on Feeding Peas to Poultry

    Small Poultry Flock Nutrition from University of Florida was a good overview.

    Evaluating Feed Components and Finished Feeds from Kansas State Uni: this was a bit technical for me, but there is a great table on page 2 that tells the protein level of various foods.

    This website has some good information, but what were most helpful for me were the Pearson's Square and Kim's Rectangle in section 2. these help me make sure, no matter what ingredients i choose to feed, that i'm maintaining the correct protein level for my chicks.

    also, some recipes, and most commercial feed, include soy. lots of people still think soy is wonderful, and it is really high in protein, but it's been linked to all kinds of health problems in people (if your birds eat it and you eat their eggs or meat, you eat it) such as hypothyroidism, cancer, and loss of estrogen production. i don't feed it to any of my animals. flaxseed is a great alternative, or even fish oil.

    i know that's a lot of information, but if you are like me, mixing your own food will be something you don't want to risk getting wrong. good luck!​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by