Making chicken feed


11 Years
Sep 19, 2008
I have about 30 chickens and right now I buy layer pelets for them. I would like to buy grain and mix my own feed. I live in Western NY. What kinds of grain do they need for the best health and laying quality? I do not want to use soy. Thank you in advance. Lynn
They need more protein, ideally, than can be found in readily available grains, so really if you do not use soy you are almost forced into one of three choices: meat or meat byproducts (in whatever form) as a protein source, provide a sufficient year-round source of insects (not too hard in summer but in winter a problem...), or have probably somewhat protein deficient hens that do not perform as well and are not qutie as healthy as they could be.

Unfortunately chickens are just not designed to be totally vegetarian.

Good luck,

I heard that adding a handful of unsalted shucked sunflower seeds was a good source of protein, especially in moulting season. My birdies love them! They beg for them!

Since we are talking protein, the list says that they like cheese, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, etc. They are good sources of protein. Just more work though.

Just some thoughts, especially if you have leftovers which I ususally do....
I found this website in my research:

are some recipes for mixing your own feed in the Feeding Your Chickens section. There is also an associated yahoo group (links to the yahoo group are on the site). Some of those recipes don't have any soy or animal products.

The website owner seems to base their operation around this recipe & premise (the "quoted" portion is directly from the website)

*** It's not necessary to follow this recipe exactly... just make sure your birds are getting enough protein, which is predominant in the hard red wheat and the legumes. Free-range birds usually find plenty of protein from bugs, etc.

2 parts whole corn (in winter this is increased to 3 or 4 parts)
3 parts soft white wheat
3 parts hard red winter wheat
1 part hulled barley
1 part oat groats
1 part sunflower seeds (in winter this is increased to 2 parts)
1 part millet
1 part kamut
1 part amaranth seeds
1 part split peas
1 part lentils
1 part quinoa
1 part sesame seeds
1/2 part flax seeds
1/2 part kelp granules
free choice of granite grit
free choice of oyster shell

I'm going to continue to research it - I'm definately interested. I'm into "species appropriate diets", like grass for ruminants & raw meat diets for domestic carnivores like dogs & cats.
I've been making or having made my own feed for many years. When I was younger I alwys had my own mix of grains and supplements ground and blended into various feeds for my poultry, and when I was on DHIA Test with my Dairy goats I developed my own feed blend for my milkers and had it mixed and pelletized. Get yourself a copy of Feeds and Feeding by Morrison, which is the reference work I developed all my feed formulas from. This is an old publication but his particulars on feeding are just as valid today as when it was published. This is available through many dealers who can be found at and a copy is not that expensive.
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Mike that's a great link. It's not that long and the first two paragraphs under Nutritional Requirements are crucial to read, for all the people trying to make their own feed.
The NRC has the Nutrient Requirements for Poultry on line also. Very in depth and shows exactly what chickens of different types need. Any diet composed of cereal grains will be deficient in lysine and methionine. Soybeans are the only common vegtable source of lysine that is affordable (if you have a lot of chickens).
OK, you're all saying soybeans is a major ingredient. This is very interesting to me since we grow cash crops, one of our biggest being soy beans.

SO, can I cook, mash and dry soybeans for my chickens? It would be tons cheaper to add this as a component with their layer mix. I'm thinking maybe 1 part soybeans, 1 part layer mix?

Does anybody have any ideas on this? I don't wanna kill all these chickens I've raised but hey, layer is expensive.
The layer mix is already a complete ration. If you cut it half and half with soybeans it will have way more protein in it than you need. Soybeans have way more protein than the layer ration does.
If you can get cracked corn, a vitamin supplement, lime, di-cal, and add them to your home grown soybeans than it would work out much better. The protein supplement is always the most expensive ingrediant (other than vitamins). Mixing your own with home grown protein would most likely cut your feed bill by 1/4-1/3.

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