Soy-free sadness

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PotterWatch, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    Our batch of soy-free birds isn't going well. They are suffering from leg weakness at a far greater percentage than any of our other batches, and they are extremely small for their age. It seems to me that the balance of nutrients simply isn't sufficient for decent growth of cornish cross. It may work very well for other breeds and other purposes, but it isn't working for our meaties. Unfortunately, it means that we are disappointing 15-20 customers who had ordered this batch. We have decided that for the health of the bird and our profit margin (which right now is in the negative with this batch), that we have to put them back on our regular organic feed that has soy in it. Have others had much success with soy-free cornish cross? We are looking into alternatives for soy that we may be able to use in the future (worms and duckweed), but we aren't yet to the point of having a working feed mixture.
     
  2. eggbuster

    eggbuster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What was your feed mixture?

    I feed all my chickens including the meaties and turkeys soy free and haven't had a problem. Last year they got milk but this year, I didn't have extra milk because of bottle babies, and I have noticed that they are growing slower but still healthy. Next year I will have 2 milk cows coming fresh spring and fall as I believe chickens and pigs need animal protein to really make their potential.

    My mix is wheat, peas, flax, yeast, and kelp along with free range. I throw in some scrambled eggs if the pigs are looking too fat. It does sound like a nutritional deficiency of some sort, but I don't think its because they didn't get soy. If going back to soy based feed makes the difference, then your soy free mix is simply lacking enough protein. I feed at least 22% or higher protein to my poultry. I like 24-28% with some of it animal protein for the best results. Even my chantecler dressed out to an average of 5 lbs at 20 weeks. It could also, be a vitamin/mineral deficiency.

    If your other chickens are doing fine, it may be that you got a crappy batch of Cx from the hatchery which has also been known to happen. The quality can be all over the place with them.
     
  3. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I'll wager that is isn't a "Protein" defiency but an AMINO ACID deficiency. Without seeing the ration I can't tell, though. It is quite possible the feed was formulated by someone with out complete knowledge of feed formualtion and the nuances of Amino Acid or mineral nutrition.

    Jim
     
  4. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    I remember you posting a bit back about the soy vs soy free - did you ever find out more nutritional value about it?

    Sorry it's not working out [​IMG]


    ETA: This is from Potter's initial post:

    We have a batch of 40 that a customer ordered and is currently eating soy-free food from Modesto Milling. It is a starter/grower that is 22% protein.

    This is the ingredient list: organic corn, organic sesame meal, organic peas, limestone, Redmond Conditioner (clay), diatomaceous earth, kelp meal, Redmond Sea Salt, monocalcium phosphate, DL methionine, poultry vitamin & mineral premix, dried aspergillus niger fermentation product, organic garlic, organic horseradish, organic anise oil, organic juniper berry.

    Guaranteed Analysis: Crude protein min 22%, crude fat min 7.0, crude fiber max 4.9, ash max 7.7%

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=542067

    I'm just curious of the "why" too...since I know there are a lot of people who are against soy, but it's just interesting to me if the issues encountered are based on the lack of soy.​
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  5. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:Not lack of soy, but lack of nutrition. As Jim said, there are probably some issues with that feed that don't have anything to do with it being soy-free.
     
  6. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Jim, can you give us a basic analysis of this mix and help us understand what may be missing?
     
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    I can totally see it being an issue with amino acids. I know it isn't just a bad batch of chicks because we got an order of 80 and fed them the same food for the first week or two. Then we had a request to separate half and finish them on soy free food. The half of the batch that has been on our normal organic feed is thriving and will be ready for processing this week. The only difference between the two is the feed. We are going to experiment with different things this fall to see if we can get a working mixture of feed. Most of our customers don't want animal protein in the feed so we have to try and stay away from that. I have high hopes for the duckweed if we can just figure out how to grow enough of it.
     
  8. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

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    The counts on the feeds that were posted were nearly identical except the soy was swapped out for sesame meal and peas. If the soy brought more to the table than the sesame/peas, then that lack of soy seems to have caused a nutritional imbalance that the sesame/peas couldn't cover. Now, I'm no where near a nutrition expert, but those appear to be the only variables. One batch has soy and no sesame/peas, the other has sesame/peas and no soy. They aren't doing well on one, so there is something to blame.

    That's where I was curious about the additional nutrient value of the feeds in the initial thread - if the non-soy was lower kcal, or had lower counts of necessary nutrients that soy was bringing to the plant in the soy feed.

    I'm not pro or anti-soy, but there isn't a good picture of the nutritional stats for either feed, other than ingredients and base stats....but something is definately up.
     
  9. eggbuster

    eggbuster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:My customers don't have objections to milk or its by- products such as yogurt or clabbered milk being given to the chickens especially since its raw milk. Its a selling point. They would throw a fit with meat however. I have actually been asked not to let them eat bugs. "Sorry, I can't put a rubber band on the beaks of free range chickens."

    Many people don't want gm products so going soy and corn free is the easiest way to accommodate them. Also, more and more people are developing allergies to corn and soy and want their meat free of it for that reason as well. I can still source non- gm wheat, so I am safe for that at the moment. They haven't messed with peas yet either.

    I know of another person that feeds soy free without problems but uses barley and oats instead of wheat so I am not sure where your nutritional deficit is coming from. It isn't just from not feeding soy. I think there is something else going on with your feed mix such as the amount of peas is not being calculated correctly to give the same oomph as soy.
     
  10. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Unfortunately I can not give a basic analysis since I don't have the recipe.

    My best guesses are: 1) the feed was mixed incorrectly, something was either not added or added at the wrong amount, orf 2) the nutrient profile used to formulate the rations was different from the actual nutrient content of the ingredient.

    As an industry we have a good handle on the nutrient profile of corn, soybean meal, and other major commodities used in livestock feeds (DDGS, Select Menhaden Fishmeal, Steam Rolled Oats, etc). However, when we start using ingredients such as field peas, sesame meal, we don't have the same level of knowledge or confidence in our nutrient profiles. It would be easy for the nutritionist to use a 'standard' nutrient profile for a little used ingredient only to have that profile not fit the ingredient being used.

    Jim
     

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