making chicken feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by 18chickens, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. 18chickens

    18chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    Does anyone know how to make chicken feed? I am trying to find cheaper ways to feed my ladies, and to be honest Im not sure the feed I get at the feed store has what they need. My back yard is dedicated to my ladies and a decent sized garden so I can grow some things but I don't know what to grow, or buy.
     
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    any commercial blend will have most of what a chicken needs - but some are better than others.

    im not an expert in chicken nutrition, but i have been working with feeds for a little whilte now. what your chickens need will change depending on seasons, locations, and the methods you use to keep them. for instance, chickens kept in a coop all day will need less fat content.

    i can try to help you make a feed that will suit what your chickens need. if you dont mind answering a few questions.

    what breeds do you have? bantam or standard size?

    where are you located?

    are your chickens free ranged, cooped, or both? if cooped do they have access to plenty of grass and bugs?

    are you raising for eggs, meat, or show?

    do you plan on hatching?

    do you want your roosters and hens to eat the same feed?
     
  3. Running1

    Running1 New Egg

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    Aug 22, 2013
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    Never knew chicken feed was so complex. When I was growing up I remember giving baby chicks feed but not the adults, I guess they were mostly free range.
     
  4. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    it can be as as simple as buying a bag of mash or crumble and feeding it. there is no problems with this method.

    our chickens are in breeder pens by breed, i do have some tractor type pens that i move around so they can get grass. because our chickens dont get to roam like free range chickens do. that inspired me to work on feeds that give them the best nutrition i can for the best price.
     
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  5. 18chickens

    18chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    May 11, 2013
    So cal, large chicken run by day coop at night. Large Road island reds, for eggs.
     
  6. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    rhode island reds are *typically* great layers and active birds. protein content should be on the higher end for them, also watch for calcium deficiencies - usually shows up as soft shells first.

    i have my feed custom made, and change the formula as needed. my chickens are in breeder's pens with some occasional outside access, so my feed has to be more nutritionally complete than the average person's.

    this is the recipe:
    375 lbs cracked corn
    50 lbs of oats
    75 lbs of wheat
    200 lbs range bird pellets (hog pellets will work too) 24% protein
    50 lbs black oil sunflower
    25 lbs of wet molasses
    50 lbs alfalfa pellets - or feed one alfalfa cube per 3 chickens per day.

    we also feed a few meal worms a couple times a week for added protein and treats.

    corn is a filler, and helps keep them warm in the winter
    oats are an additional filler with a higher protein content than corn, but typically wont add any extra fat on the chickens.
    wheat contains several oils and nutrients chickens need, not to mention almost the perfect protein ratio. some old time farmers used ground wheat to start chicks.
    the range bird pellets are a nutritionally complete feed, im not sure how available they are in other states. they were created here in ohio.
    black oil sunflower adds oil and some protein to the feed, if your chickens look dull add more sunflower seeds
    molasses has several effects on chickens, increased thirst (that's a good thing), and several micro-nutrients. it may also make them more broody, and if you hatch the eggs the ratio of pullets to cockerels will probably increase.
    alfalfa pellets are because my chickens don't always have access to grass.

    there is some soy in the range bird pellets, but i don't add any extra. soy blocks some protein absorption. you may want to research soy and anti-nutrients.

    it is best to get self pollinating varieties as often as you can- make sure your soil is complete so the grains can absorb the nutrients and pass them on.

    you may also want to research fermenting your grains. I'm fairly new to it, its cheap to do and appears to have several benefits to the chickens. probiotics are created by the process and several of the nutrients become more available. my own experience is slightly less feed, shinier birds with less sniffles. overall laying has been a little better, egg shells are of better quality.

    now for the down side - no matter what grains or additives you decide to use, all are going to have positive and negative effects on your chickens. you have to adjust for optimum performance, and just use your own judgment.
     

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