Switching to an all grain diet

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by mustangsaguaro, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    I have decided to go to an all grain diet for my birds. I am using the following: Whole Oats, Whole Barley, Cracked Corn, Millet, Triticale (combo of wheat and rye), BOSS. However I am concerned about the protein. How to get it to at least 16%. The BOSS have the highest protein at 15%, while the lowest is my corn at 8.5% and all the others are 9%. I am trying to come up w/ a blend that will get me the 16% protein. Any suggestions. I have done the math of how many parts of each to add and the highest I was able to get to was about 12%. Do I need to add anything else in the mix? Most of my birds free range. So during the day I am sure they are getting bugs and what not. I also on occassion give them bread, spaghetti, and fresh greens. So far what I am seeing w/ this is they don't like the BOSS. Will this change?

    I decided to make this change because it was costing me around $30/mo to feed everyone (2 bags of feed per month). And I'm on a tight budget as it is. I figured going the all grain route would be cheaper and possibly healthier instead of the processed feed. Also w/ all the grains I could probably get an extra month or 2 from feeding the grains rather than the processed feeds. Since switching them to this diet I am noticing that they aren't eating quite as much.

    Any input you might have using these grains (in other words how many parts of each you would use) would really help. I have somewhat of a small flock about 30 birds. I will be hatching chicks in the spring but will be buying chick starter for the chicks and then slowly converting them over to this diet.

    Thanks
    Kim
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Have you considered Alfalfa? I believe you find the protein high and provides other benefits too.
     
  3. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I suggest you do some research into mixing your own feed. One thing that may or may not be important is production. Switching to mixing your own feed won't be cost effective if they aren't laying to your desired goal. I can't say how much BOSS is where you are but it's $28 a bag here. Seems to me relying on BOSS for protein can get expensive. Not to mention chickens need more than protein.

    How will you supplement other minerals and vitamins and calcium into their diet?

    Now don't misunderstand, I'd be very much interested in this my self.

    I supplement with greens and bread and scratch and household scraps. Seeing that your in CA, you might consider a chickens garden. Lettuce and greens are easy to grow as are root crops.

    I wish you well,

    Rancher
     
  4. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    I suggest you do some research into mixing your own feed. One thing that may or may not be important is production. Switching to mixing your own feed won't be cost effective if they aren't laying to your desired goal. I can't say how much BOSS is where you are but it's $28 a bag here. Seems to me relying on BOSS for protein can get expensive. Not to mention chickens need more than protein.

    How will you supplement other minerals and vitamins and calcium into their diet?

    Now don't misunderstand, I'd be very much interested in this my self.

    I supplement with greens and bread and scratch and household scraps. Seeing that your in CA, you might consider a chickens garden. Lettuce and greens are easy to grow as are root crops.

    I wish you well,

    Rancher

    BOSS is pretty expensive here. It costs about $30 for a 50lb bag, expensive. I should have mentioned that I do have oyster shell out for them for the calcium. I also recycle the egg shells. I dry the egg shells and then when they are dry crush them up into tiny bits so they no longer look like an egg and give those as well. So there's the calcium part of it. As for the other vitamins and minerals I'm of the belief that because they are free ranging they are most likely getting it in what they free range. I could be wrong though.

    I do have my own garden for my husband and I. Hate to say it in the area of Ca. where I live I tried growing lettuce and had a heck of a time. It tasted very bitter. I live in a somewhat small town and we know our grocer by name and I usually go in once or twice a week to pick up whatever fruits and veggies he can't sell to the public. I get that for free. But the funny thing is my chickens aren't to thrilled about the lettuce. I even chop it up for them. They eat it but are not to thrilled about it. Perhaps because they do free range all day eating grasses, and bugs that's why they aren't thrilled about the fresh greens.

    I have noticed now that it is winter they have expanded there free ranging range. Not sure if it's because the horses are getting a winter forage mix for there hay (wheat, oat, barley). I've noticed the chickens go out there now and eat whatever the horses have not eaten.

    I thought about doing alfalfa meal for the higher protein, but not sure if they would eat it. I went and bought all my grains at a local feed store that does have a mill close by. They do sell alfalfa meal as well. I suppose I could ask if I could get a small amount first to see if the chickens will in fact eat it. If I had a chopper I might consider buying a bale of alfalfa and chopping my own. Not a bad idea. A bale of alfalfa would probably last me quite a while.

    Kim​
     
  6. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    How about eggs? Maybe you could feed back what you don't eat. I scramble and feed all the eggs that are dirty, getting old, or that I can't determine the date of lay. The dog gets two a day and the chickens get the rest. Also, I put out the turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and the chickens went NUTS! My DH and I watched and thought, "That just seems so wrong of us, but look at them go." LOL
     
  7. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    Quote:That's not a bad idea about the eggs. I have about 18 eggs right now, one of my hens was sitting on for maybe a day or so and then she got booted off of them as I don't want chicks right now. I won't eat them so perhaps I'll use those eggs up as a source of protein for them.

    This spring if everyone is laying like they should be in theory I should get about 7 dozen eggs a week. Perhaps I can feed back some of the eggs to them.

    How high in protein are eggs usually?
     
  8. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Very! One of, if not the best source of highly digestable protein there is! Just scramble them in a glass bowl and pop them in the microwave for a minute and a half (4 or 5 eggs, maybe a bit longer for more than that.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

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