Organic Feed without soy = slow growth?


9 Years
Jul 22, 2010
My Cornish X peeps will be shipped on 9/14. I've been shopping around for organic feed and found soy-free organic feed with 19% protein which they claim is their broiler feed. Many posts I've seen recommend 20-22% protein. I plan on keeping mine in a chicken tractor for the last four weeks. From what I am seeing here, I should expect my birds to grow slower. I don't think it's easy going organic, for example the feed costs $26+ for a 50 lb. bag vs $14.95 for regular feed and in my case, I would have to drive almost 2 hours and buy all the feed I think I'll need at once. Yet if we are raising our own birds because we want safe, clean food, why would we feed corn and soy that has been genetically altered or that has been sprayed with chemicals? On the other hand, if I could boost the % of protein to between 20-22% somehow, I would feel much better about going organic if I could come close to matching the growth rate of those who do not and feed soy. Is there any way to suppliment the feeding program to get the amount of protein I am looking for and still stay soy free and organic?
The protein percentage isn't the only thing that matters. The amino acids within the protein make a big difference as well (as I have learned from personal experience and help from others on here). We get organic feed that isn't soy-free and is about 22% protein. It is supposed to be GMO free though we all know how GMO grains can migrate to areas they aren't supposed to be. The birds we have raised on soy-free organic feed have had very slow growth as well as increased percentage of leg problems. We will not raise birds on soy-free again until we can find a better alternative protein source. We are currently working on formulating feed using duckweed as the protein source. Duckweed is as close to animal protein as you can get in the plant world. I believe it will work very well. The biggest obstacle is growing enough duckweed (having the space to grow enough), to fill that void in the feed given the number of birds we raise. We are still about 6mos to a year away from really getting this feed program working to our satisfaction, but we have high hopes.
Very interesting. So duckweed is grown in water and is found in ponds. You would need a large pond to grow it yourself.

Southern States now carries organic starter feed and developer feed for broilers. The starter crumbles which is fed for three weeks is $32.+ for 50lb and the developer is $30.+ for 50 lb. It contains soy. I think I'll just go with that even though it's more money but is local. I have to order it a week in advance so that's one more thing to have to remember. If anybody has any experience with using SS organic feed please let me know.
Also amaranthus seed and mustard cakes are rich in amino acids. I don't know where to find the mustard cakes, but organic amaranthus seeds should be available for purchase to feed as a supplement, do you know of anybody feeding it?
Hey WVDan,

I just started a similar thread yesterday for the same reasons.......I assume you are referring to the countryside has 19% broiler feed? I know some people who raised freedom rangers on it and they lost money by the fist full. They had to grow them to 20+ weeks. I know the soy issue is GMO are getting into everything but there are paths to take where feed etc is certified GMO free. The folks at countryside are super super helpful and HONEST about there product sourcing. I would just email and ask if they can certify the GMO free grains? Its def possible. Also side note a court just ruled that farmers CAN SUE over gmo contamination from other farms. If a few courts hold that up it could be really big.

Not sure where in WV you are but there is also this option from an organic farm in NC They have soy and soy free organic and will mix custom recipes for you as well.

The whole thing about the amino acids makes total sense because without all amino acids you cant actually have complete protein. But they use fish not vegetables and animal proteins have all the amino acids present. SO is there not enough fish? is it degrading upon processing? if anyone had access to enough fish it would be interesting to see if simply upping the protein through more fish made a difference and that could explain why the companies dont add more since its probably one of the most expensive ingridients in the feed.

What does SS carry? i never saw anything organic in the one by me?
If one adds more fish meal to the chicken feed... the result will be an off fishy taste to the chicken meat. Enjoy !
I know that fish meal is sometimes used in soy-free feeds though the one we bought used sesame as the protein source. The problem with fish meal is that if you use too much, it affects the taste of the meat. In addition to the duckweed, we are also looking at raising tilapia in the same pool as the duckweed and using the tilapia in our feed as well. I'm really not sure yet how that part will play out, but we are going to give it a go.
This is very true. The soy-free feed I used was 5% fish meal, and you could really taste the fish it in the skin. The meat had a different taste than soy fed chicken, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it tasted fishy.
I had never thought about the fishy taste before.......The problem with the sesame etc is its not a complete protein. The only common plant food that is a complete protein is soy. With all other common plant food there are amino acids missing that need to made up for.
I wonder about using chia, amaranth and quinoa. Easy to grow but I've searched the Internet and haven't found any articles on using them for poultry. Also, fenugreek is very easy to grow in cooler weather. I feed fenugreek sprouts to my chicks and they love it. Another legume option that I can't find much information about.
I'm also wondering if baking legumes would be an adequate heat processing method, since it would be much less messy than boiling. How high of temperature and how long would be necessary?
The problem with the non-soy feeds could be the growth inhibitors in the alternative feed sources. You can only use about 5% fish meal. The rest of the protein would need to come from other meats, whey, milk, eggs or legumes. Of course, all the other legumes cause their own problems.
Alfalfa meal would also be good but I don't know how much can be used.

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