Organic grains for my flock

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by farmgranny, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. farmgranny

    farmgranny Out Of The Brooder

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    Recently, I decided NOT to feed corn and soybeans to my animals due to the information I have gleaned regarding GMOs in our USA grown corn and soybeans. I read every label on chicken feeds of all kinds at our feed store, and alas, I cannot buy chicken feed locally without corn and soybeans being the first two ingredients listed.
    I then remembered my aunt keeping a very large flock of white leghorns for eggs. We had a great egg production even in winter. This was in cold North Dakota, and all she fed was natural whole untreated or heated oats grown right on our own farm, free choice crushed oyster shells, and in the summer, she added some apple cider vinegar to the water to keep it clear and let the hens free range in the barn yard and pasture close to the house. I have started to feed whole oats, some alfalfa hay, oyster shells, and clean vegetable and fruit scraps from our kitchen to my hens, as well as left over brown rice from dinner. They are still laying quite well, in fact, the egg shells are stronger & more colorful, and the yolks are darker.
    I'd like input on what seasoned chicken keepers feel about this feeding program. I thought I might start adding some dark flax seed, but wasn't sure about that.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Overall what you're doing isn't too bad. In winter bugs and greens are non-existent. You may want to add some meat, fish, mealworms or other animal protein source.
    The reason corn and soy are the two main ingredients is that grain protein has some essential amino acids and legumes have complementary ones.
    Animal sources have all of them. Grain alone as a source of protein will leave some deficient. Oats is high enough in protein as a percentage and probably more complete than other grains. But chickens have even more different amino acids that are essential than the 10 humans require.

    http://www.aaccnet.org/publications/cc/backissues/1973/Documents/Chem50_702.pdf

    http://puyallup.wsu.edu/dairy/nutri.../Protein and amino acid for poultry-final.pdf

    Hope this helps kick start your discussion.

    Organic feed, even though most of it has corn and soy, they're supposed to be primarily GMO free.
     
  3. farmgranny

    farmgranny Out Of The Brooder

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    So, to get complimentary amino acids, I should add a legume to their diet as well. Oats are a good protein source in themselves, so adding a small seed from the pea family or the bean family may do the trick, maybe a combination of two of them.
    Thanks, so appreciate this.
    Perhaps someone out there has a website to suggest that has nutritional breakdowns of common seeds grown in USA? And a website source of nutrient requirements of egg laying chickens would be great also!
     
  4. farmgranny

    farmgranny Out Of The Brooder

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    I know that alfalfa is a legume plant, in fact, it can put nitrogen back into the soil like a bean or peanut plant. Hope that alfalfa has been helping my girl birds to get a better rounded nutrition. Input would be great!
     
  5. farmgranny

    farmgranny Out Of The Brooder

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    The website provided by ChickenCanoe for nutrition requirements for chickens is a good start for me. Thanks!
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    One company I was going to try to get organic feed from made their soy free feed with field peas.
     
  7. farmgranny

    farmgranny Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for that advice. Seems logical to me.
    You are lucky, you are in MO, you have access to so many more bagged grains. We reside currently in SoCal and do not have that luxury. When I was in MO, I enjoyed purchasing bags of various grains and mixing my own parrot food. One criteria for my egg layers is expense of feeding them. My husband often remarks about the cost per egg. I let my hens out to forage, and we have bugs year round, but I cannot leave them long, or out unattended, due to the bobcats, large hawks, and golden eagles. The wildlife here has grown used to humans infringing on their home territory and are basically fearless of people. We live on the edge of BLM wilderness.
    I do so appreciate all input.
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    You're the lucky one with feed. There won't be bugs here for another month.
    Coyotes, foxes, owls, hawks, possums and coons are a daily thing, not to mention dogs.
    I have recently discovered fermented feed. It's a little more labor intensive but I've dramatically reduced the amount of feed used. So much so that I've been able to switch to organic without changing the feed cost much.
     
  9. farmgranny

    farmgranny Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh yes, I remember opossums, coons, woodchucks, neighboring farm cats, oh....and the black and white cats the previous lady of the house was feeding, thinking they were "kittens"....and of course, the bald eagles, red tailed hawks, & coyotes, too. But it seems there was so much more there in MO for them to dine on in the woods, that they did not stalk my hens near as much as here. We live in the SW desert, and if there is food or water, there are wild animals. I appreciate your telling me of fermented feed. I will look that up and see what I can find. I've been sprouting some grain, but that too is labor intensive without proper set up. I think I need to enlarge my chicken yard, and get a livestock guardian dog, it may resolve many of my issues. For now, I will try feeding some legume grains with my oats. This might make your March feel better, we are currently very wet and cold, surrounded by snow on our mountains.
     

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