Soy content in feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Moselle, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. Moselle

    Moselle Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    I'm just wondering about the soy content in chicken feed - either for layers or chicks. I will probably use Purina since that's the brand most available in my area, and plan to give additional animal protein, extra bugs, etc., to make up for the vegetarian formula.

    Anyway, a friend of mine (who does NOT raise chickens) expressed concern that I would give my chickens feed at all, considering the high soy content of commercial feed (effecting the quality/nutritional content of their eggs). The chickens will be able to scratch around the yard a bit, but they certainly won't be free range - just not enough room. Her suggestion was to make my own feed from organic grains, which I just don't think is going to work for me - I honestly just don't want to bother with it.

    So does commercial chicken feed have a high soy content? Is this something that would concern you? We avoid soy in our house for the most part, but I'm just not sure how soy feed would effect the eggs produced by our chickens - if that makes sense.
  2. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *I just started using purina. I'd been using a homemade ration before based on Harrison's parrot ingredient labels & scratch w/ some extras. Since starting on layer, the eggs have gotten smaller, & Chook's weight is down some. For now, I'm just keeping an eye on her. I kinda liked knowing exactly what was going in her feed-- I have no idea what's 'in' purina, but it's pro'bly more consistant nutritionally. Pros & Cons to everything, I s'pose. [​IMG] p.s: I didn' worry too much bout the soy part of the homebrew-- It was toasted, 'organic', slightly sea-salted AND optional, since I was the mixer. I WORRY MORE about Franken-Corn!!
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  3. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    There's a lot of hype out there about organic. I *personally* don't buy it. I feed regular feed and always have.

    Some people, like your friend, don't realize the logistics of trying to do something like that.

    As long as your chickies are healthy and happy, you don't need to change a thing.

    Soy is a high protein grain, it's good for you. I know a lot of people are concerned about GMO's but they've been in use for years, show up in all kinds of food, even without you knowing it.
  4. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    In my area (SE Michigan), apparently organic feed isn't something folks look for. I tried to find prepared organic feed, and the closest place I could find was over an hour drive away. It just didn't make sense for me to drive an hour for a 50# bag of feed that lasts almost a month. Then, I decided I'd make my own. Well, once again, I ran into problems finding all the organic ingredients. I did hours upon hours of research and made numerous calls, and finally just go frustrated and dropped it. I feed Purina Layena pellets, and while I still would PREFER to feed organic, I honestly can't in my area. I will say that (knock wood) all of my chickens are extremely healthy (I supplement with veggie & fruit scraps, oatmeal, yogurt, and BOSS, and I add Avia Charge 2000 to their drinking water). I've never (once again, knock wood) had any egg issues whatsoever; all my girls lay large to jumbo eggs, and again, all are happy & healthy. So, in summary, the Purina's working for me (and them)!
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I tend to avoid organics because, well... it's too expensive for me and I don't really think it's all that much better... Just what I think, however I grow about half the years worth of veggies so that's pretty good since the only fertilizer and pesticide are the chickens themselves. They turn the bugs into ferilizer! How much better than that does it get.

    Organics is a really, really, big thing out here. I personally think an "organic" tomato shipped in from Chile is WORSE in it's carbon foot print than a non organic tomato from down the street. Even in nutritional value, the one from Chile has been stored for way long. The logistics of some of the organics just make no sense to me. The logistics of local is much more sense-making.

    I bought a bag of cat food without looking at the label, and was wondering why the cat was meowing so much and kept wanting to eat... Turns out the first ingredients were corn and soy! [​IMG] Not the right type of proteins for a CAT!!! Needles to say I bought a new bag of the usual stuff when they were back in stock and LOOKED at the label! Chicken by products was first ingredient and protein was 5% higher... no more insane meowing!

    For the chickens I use the Honor brand Layer supplement (20% protein) in addition to Layer.(16% protein) They both contain animal protein the last I checked. If they are going though moult I generally increase the proportion of the supplement and you can see the difference in how fast the feathers grow back. (I had one group on supplement and one not so I could make a comparable time and condition controlled judgement as both groups free rainged)

    So in short, as long as soy isn't the first ingredient to boost protein in feeds, I don't see it as a problem. With chickens, it is even less of a problem if it is higher on the list as long as there is some meat in there. Even though missing amino acids can be synthesized, like calcium tablets, the amount of absorption from them is less than when it arrives via natural modes, thus you need more to reach the same effect.
  6. Yogiman

    Yogiman Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    South Louisiana
    There is a wealth of very informative information published by most all of the major university agriculture departments regarding feeding of small flock and or back yard poultry. Some of it is easy reading and some of it is very technical, not for the average person.
    See the link here for some easy reading and information:
  7. allen wranch

    allen wranch Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    Purina switched from animal based protein feed to soy when they introduced their SunFresh recipes. This was after the mad cow disease scare.

    Chickens are omnivors and need some meat. If they free range they get it in the bugs they eat. I can't free range, and I saw a difference when I switched to Laylena. The first two groups of chicks turned into vicious feather pickers and eaters.

    I can't get animal based protein feed in pellets in my area, so I compensate with a little higher protein feed. It seems to work for me. My birds waste so much feed when I feed crumbles, that I couldn't afford the animal based feed.
  8. JO & RH

    JO & RH In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2008
    St Petersburg, FL
    I wonder if we need to be concerned about
    whether these chicken feeds are being put
    together in China, and what might be in it that we don't know about.??
  9. Moselle

    Moselle Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    Quote:The issue is really the phytic acid and phytoestrogen in soy, not GMO's.
  10. littlelemon

    littlelemon Songster

    Mar 15, 2007
    I have a good friend who feeds organic as I do, and she also is struggling with the soy issue. She sells chicken and eggs, and wants to be able to provide soy-free chicken and eggs to her customers who like to follow Weston Price-type diets. She tried to raise a flock of broilers last year without a soy feed and it was so laborious for her to grind and mix all those grains and make the kefir and such, plus the chickens did not grow as quickly and were not ready to butcher by the expected date (making feeding them all the more laborious and expensive). She finally switched them to an organic feed that did have soy. I am not sure what she is going to do this year, but I know that her real desire is to have soy-free ckicken for herself and her customers. As for myself, I would think that if you are a backyard chicken owner and not raising them for profit then you could certainly try to go the soy-free route, but it would be laborious on your end. I use an organic feed grown and milled by a farmer 50 miles away. The soy is high on the ingredient list, it is the main source of protein. I am ok with it, knowing that the feed is organic and very high quality, but I can't say that I don't wish there was another way. If my chickens did not have the soy they would probably not lay at all in the winter. If you aren't able to free range your birds then they may not be able to get the protein needed in the summer either. I believe soy is really the only option if you will be feeding bagged feed.

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