Mineral requirements for home made feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Susan49, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

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    We are wanting to move towards preparing our own feed for our flock, as opposed to buying commercial laying pellets. I plan to sprout some grain/legume/seed mix, and also feed some in dry form, slightly milled.

    I was advised to either mix a mineral supplement into the feed, or to offer one separately. I did buy a bag of livestock minerals recommended by my local feed store as they didn't have one specific to poultry. It doesn't contain selenium, which I know our soils are deficient in. Do laying hens need supplemental selenium? Our birds do free range and spend most of their time outside, but we do need to give them feed to supplement their foraging at this time of year.
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens do need Se. I can't imagine any commercial mineral blend that does not have Se in it. It isn't going to necessarily be on the guaranteed analysis but if you go down the ingredient list it will be on there.

    There are some problems with livestock minerals for chickens. The first one is the salt content. The salt could be as little as 10% of the product or as high as 50%. Chickens need almost no added salt. You are obviously not going to meet the Ca requirements without additional limestone or oystershells. The P is going to be relatively high so even more Ca is needed to balance that.

    I'm a fan of Moorman products. They have a mineral/vitamin blend out for poultry that looks interesting. Has a good protein value as well to bump the whole grains up. Moorman's Premix-trate. It's pricey but a little goes a long way. If you can't get your hands on something like that, I would look at a horse ration balancer. If you are unfamiliar with those, they are a high protein nutrient dense pelleted feed. Mixing that with whole grains plus the additional Ca should be pretty close to a complete diet.
     
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I were to mix our own feed, I would consider Fertrell Poultry Nutri Balancer. It does contain selenium but no soy (which would be GMO). It also contains a variety of probiotics. The feed we buy now is made with Nutri Balancer and our birds do excellent on it. They also free range in warmer months and I know our soil is also deficient in selenium as well.
     
  4. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you both for your feedback and suggestions. I examined the ingredients and looked on the product website and it definitely does not contain selenium. It also has a salt content of 97-99% so definitely sounds like it's not the right thing for our chickens. I will use it for our goats instead, as we supplement them with selenium separately. Now off to check out the poultry specific products you've recommended..thanks! :)
     
  5. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Re the Fertrell Poultry Nutribalancer, they have a certified organic version and regular version. The ONLY difference between the two is the regular version has (I assume synthetic) methionine and the organic has no methionine but instead extra kelp meal. I know methionine is one of those essential aminos that is necessary and hard for chickens to get. I know you can get it naturally from egg whites and whey from grass fed milk. I did some quick research last night on why synthetic methionine is not so good and why kelp can be used as a replacement but so far don't have any good answers. My guess as to why the organic Nutribalancer doesn't use whey or egg whites for methionine is the current trend towards feeding chickens (and other animals) as vegetarians when they are actually omnivores. Tell you what, let's both go research that and report back here and compare notes. Sound good?
     
  6. earthfriendlyfarm

    earthfriendlyfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    We are also in the research stage of acquiring from good sources, grains and seeds to sprout or dry feed as chicken feed. I have been soaking and sprouting different grains and seeds to see how the do and how well the chickies will like them. Currently we are half in and half out of premixed laying feed. Each time we purchase a bag of feed we find one of the ingredients ALL over the ground. So obviously they do not need or like that grain. Few weeks ago it was the pellet and currently it is the cracked corn. I think they hate GMO corn. They are kind smart about what they need to eat...but then again I just saw one of my chooks eating the edge off of a styrofoam plate....YIKES!

    I know they love sprouted red hard winter wheat berries. I grow wheat grass flats for the Farm. They love sprouted BOSS, could not get the oats to sprout. Got some mixed salad seeds they love...radish, broccoli, alfalfa. But that is just a treat as we have 50+ chickens to feed.

    They do freerange all day, and are locked up tight for the nights. No one in, and no one out. We make poo poo platters for them a couple times a week which consists of stuff like...cooked brown rice, barley, oatmeal, quinoa, spaghetti, yogurt, cottage cheese, dry milk powder, kefir, kombucha mother (SCOBY),bananas, tomatoes, sardines in tomato sauce, cooked fish, strawberries, apples, black walnuts raw, peanuts raw, pecans, raw, flax seeds, nutritiojnal yeast, D.E. Bentonite Clay,sunflower seeds raw, pumpkin seeds raw, sea weed in cooking water or kelp granules, garlic infused olive oil and more.....and in their waterers we add things like....ACV, raw garlic pieces, dandelion tea, alfalfa tea, calendula tea, nettle tea. We try really hard to keep them healthy.

    We deworm twice a year now couple days in a row using Rooster Booster Triple Dewormer. No withholding on eggs. Wazine is aweful. 17 days witholding on eggs and we sell our eggs, So terrible for us and must be so hard on the girls. I had to call the company to find out about how to use on our laying hens as it says on the bottle not for laying hens. But that is all I could find at the time to deworm our serious roundworm issue we were having. Just after I found the Rooster Booster. Now I keep it on hand. I also use a product I get from U.K. called Soil Steriliser. It kills the roundworm eggs and larvae there fore breaking the roundworm cycle up a lot. Round worm can live for up to 15 years in the soil. Great Huh!? But this seems to do the trick. I alternate with D.E. sprinkled all over the pen, roost and nesting room dirt floors.

    So my big project now is figuring out a balanced, Non GMO, no soy sprouting seed/grain mix. I would LOVE ANY SUGGESTIONS! There are lots out there and they use most of the same ingredients, but am wondering about using beans, peas/ legumes soaked or cooked as a protein source. Thank you in advance
     
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Okay, that didn't take long, with the correct search terms: Organic Poultry Production:providing Adequate Methionine http://sd.appstate.edu/sites/sd.appstate.edu/files/methionine.pdf A very enlightening document regarding not only methionine but essential amino acids in general. Pages 15 and 17 mention kelp specifically regarding methionine. The nutshell version of why synthetic methionine is not allowed in organic poultry is because it is made from crude oil or natural gas. Kelp is actually at the bottom of the list in methionine content...my guess is that the Fertrell Nutribalancer is only meant to supplement whatever methionine will be already present in the feed itself. Our purchased feed has both kelp (lowest in methionine) and mehaden fish meal (highest in methionine). I can only imagine the mathematical wizardry that must go on to figure out the proper ratios of amino acids and energy requirements at the best price for any given feed recipe! After reading that PDF (most of it anyway), I am going to think a bit harder about attempting to mix our own feed!
     
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  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it's 97% salt, than it's salt and not at all a vitamin/mineral supplement. It only has trace minerals (minerals that are needed in minute amounts) and lots of salt. It is deficient or lacking in all the macro minerals that they need in large amounts. When I evaluate a good livestock vitamin/mineral blend, it is going to be no more than 25% salt, have at least 10% Ca (more is better) and 10% P( based on the forage choice) and 100,000 IU vit A. Everything else falls into place if you meet those values.
     
  9. Susan49

    Susan49 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is such a helpful discussion, I am very grateful for all the help, comments and suggestions. I love the challenge of always having to be in learning mode, and really value the generosity of the more experienced forum members in sharing their time and knowledge. I will be sure to report back on how it goes with our attempts at homemade feed. First grains and legumes arriving this afternoon!
     
  10. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you ever looked at something like Manna Pro goat? Still deficient for layers in some areas but better than nothing.
     

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