My proposed home-made chicken feed mix- does it sound right?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by oneredhen, May 8, 2016.

  1. oneredhen

    oneredhen Just Hatched

    May 8, 2016
    Please comment (kindly) on the strengths/weaknesses of the following chicken feed mix, as to its appropriateness for laying hens. I am a newbie chicken/pet owner.
    The hens will free range a good part of each day (large city yard, lots of bugs), and be given dried and live mealworms as treats. They will also have oyster shell and grit available to them. The hens are in a chicken tractor when not ranging about.

    I am aiming for low/no gluten as my son and I both have celiac disease, and I don't want us handling glutenous grains or tracking it in to our house on our feet. I know animal feed grains aren't processed to the same precision as human food, so this is a 'best effort'.

    2 parts each of:
    cracked corn and
    flattened oats;
    1 part each of:
    sunflower seed (the nut meats, no shell),
    red millet,
    austrian peas,
    red lentils,
    1/2 part each of:
    buckwheat, and
    whole flax seed.

    I was thinking of adding kelp meal but haven't found a source (despite being on an island!).

    Thanks in advance-
    1 person likes this.
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You need a source of higher protein. Your current mix is insufficient. The peas and lentil are your major source so far. Sunflower is around 14%, peas 23% and lentils no idea. Can't get a percent by mass. If cooked it's 17-18 grams to 175 grams but your not cooking it so obviously higher than that meager 10% due to water weight.Regardless, combine that to your other 8% proteins and your lacking.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    And where's your vitamin/ mineral mix? Home made is hard! Are there any poultry diets already made that fit the bill? Mary
  4. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2016
    Add cod liver oil. 1 tsp per pound of feed.
    Textured vegetable protein is made from soy flour and is very high in protein. It's cheap enough at bulk food stores and soy in moderation is not evil, despite what some people think. Uncooked it's very high protein so use sparingly.
    Pumpkin seeds are expensive but are amazingly high in nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
    Good luck; I grind my own feed too and it took a fair amount of research to get my formula right.
    2 people like this.
  5. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2016
    I also add powdered whole milk to my feed. It is the single most expensive ingredient I use, but is an excellent source of calcium, protein, Vitamins A and D. gives you the complete nutritional needs of poultry. It's important to check that you are supplying everything your chickens need.
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Be careful on the amount of milk powder you add, it has lots of good stuff in it but chickens can't digest the lactose so it acts as a laxative... And don't ever use lactose free milk as the two compounds the lactose is broken down when creating lactose free milk for human consumption are deadly toxic to birds! For dairy products, birds can more easily digest yogurts and cheeses as most of the lactose is broken down into sugars they can digest during the fermenting process...

    As said, it's no small task to create a real nutritionally balanced feed, not saying it can't be done but there has to be a lot of consideration especially to the necessary amino acids, vitamin and mineral levels... This can more easily be addressed with proprietary chicken feed supplements you can add to your mix if you can find a supplier of such in your area, this is how most feed mills round off their feed for each animal... If not the ingredients have to be more selectively chosen to provide the proper levels...

    I see a lot of homemade recipes floating around, but I rarely see a guaranteed analysis showing they are a balanced diet... Not saying all are bad or not sufficient but do your homework and verify the chickens nutritional requirements are being met, their nutritional requirements have been studied quite extensively so the information is available...
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  7. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2016

    I have never had a problem with diarrhea in my birds, adult or chick. I have had birds die of nutritional deficiencies on commercial feed, and that is why I now grind my own. I did weeks of research though and my feed costs are high. I figure it will come back to me in the overall health of my birds, their meat and their eggs.
    Those are my cuckoo lavender orps. I lost three of their hatchmates to vitamin deficiencies when I still fed commercial feed.
    1 person likes this.
  8. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Never said you would have diarrhea it's all about how much dairy you give... I give my birds dairy regularly, not so much milk but cheese and yogurt ate quite common... In fact last week I fed them 25 frozen pizzas ;) Small amounts in moderation are fine, but since lactose is a foreign sugar to birds their body treats it as 'bad food' and much like food poisoning in humans their body will attempt to flush it out of the system via diarrhea... There obviously is a tipping point where it does or does not cause diarrhea, stay bellow that threshold and all is good...

    I'm all about a varied diet, my birds always have access to a commercial feed as a staple, but they also have access to a great deal of ever changing items daily...
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  9. captivatedlife

    captivatedlife Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 21, 2016
    Some great thoughts here. Eventually, I'm looking into making my own. I am curious how to find out the protien content of a feed. Is there a website? I use myfitnesspal for human recipes, is that adequate?
  10. ShanandGem

    ShanandGem Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2016

    Calculated protein in chicken feed is no different than calculating it in your own meals. It would just be an average of all the ingredients according to their proportions.

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