addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscontroller-playcrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgooglegroupshelp-with-circleimageimagesinstagramFill 1light-bulblinklocation-pinm-swarmSearchmailmessagesminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1ShapeoutlookpersonJoin Group on CardStartprice-ribbonprintShapeShapeShapeShapeImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruserwarningyahoo

Los Angeles Urban Chicken Enthusiasts Message Board › Mixing your own feed? Can we compare notes?

Mixing your own feed? Can we compare notes?

Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 95
So I thought it may be best to start a new topic to see if anyone else is interested in mixing their own feed. I've been frustrated with the organic feed I've been getting for several reasons and decided to get whole grains from Modesto Mills to see if I could come up with a good mix on my own. I've been researching heavily to try and find the best ratios and proportions to avoid some of the things that are not that great for me and my family or the chickens themselves. I think mixing feed makes sense for those who may want to avoid soy, wheat or corn, etc. Also, some may want to avoid animal products or fish meal. I'm finding that all these options can possibly exist and you don't have to mix up a grain silo worth of feed for your (five for me) flock.

I've got hundreds of pounds of feed in my shed and I'd like to come up with a mix that makes me happy and the chickens happy also. I've had issues with my girls stopping laying and having egg shell color changes when I switch the food up a bit. I got frustrated because the consistency changes from bag to bag and other times the food I want is not available. So I would love to have anyone else who has any interest in creating a better food to chime in with any thoughts, suggestions or comments. I'll happily share my recipe and try to break it down into ratios that allow for small batches or large ones.

So far, I'm toying with 65% whole grains, 17% protein of some sort, 10% alfalfa, 7% oyster shell, 1% trace mineral salts. If anyone has a better basic ratio, I'm all ears. I'm thinking I will mix the grains and create a protein mix that is several different things but still allows for a nutritionally dense formula without being too much of one thing. Many feeds are mostly corn or soy or whatever. I'd like mine to incorporate peas as protein instead of soy and only use a small amount of non GMO corn.

If anyone has mixed feed before and has any tips for a noob, I'm all ears. Also, I'm happy to share the sites where I got the nutritional info and proportions. I'm looking into flax seeds and a few other things like lentils and quinoa to round out my mix.

I'd love to have someone to bounce ideas off of, for sure.

I am fermenting my feed and I'm not sure if I will have to grind up the grains somewhat as well. I'm open to suggestions on this. I'd also be willing to go in with a few people to buy some bags of items that may not need to be 50lbs, but could be split among a few people, as needed. Or if someone wants to make food with me, I'd be fine with that also. I'm shooting to keep my ladies around for a while and I'd like to avoid some of the diseases that seem to kill these birds prematurely. I think diet has a great deal to do with health and longevity.
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 431
I bought some kelp powder which comes in 50lb bags i think. It's smells pretty strong and i haven't been brave enough to get it wet to add to the fermented stuff but i think as a powder it will get all over the place.

I'm trying to figure out what turns grains from being "bad" as scratch to good as whole food. I'm very confused about it. it may sound weird but i love giving them cooked mushy stuff because they like it so much and then mineral salts (available through azure farms) and there is a chicken nutri balancer that is available that some people add to sprouted grains to complete the essential minerals. Are old not laying girls really like mushy stuff. When i was at the azure pick up on Tues someone said that they get the mineral salts from them but also go to a "clean" part of the beaches and take ocean water and add that. The salt content makes me nervous though.

I'm wonder if whole grains, oyster shell and then lots of bugs would be better. I may be crazy but there is a kind of outdated chinese restuarant down the street from us and i was wondering if i could ask to volunteer time working on their landscaping and cleaning to get all their food scraps. Is that weird? Then i could create several compost piles that i could expose for the girls to scratch through for a few days then stack it back up and expose another one. If i had them in little stalls then it could be quite a system. I figure since people in other countries do it, why can't we. I could also spike the piles with black soldier flies and then there would be an extra treat.

Right now i do have a slightly ridiculous set up of fermenting bought feed, fermenting whole grains, sprouting whole grains and giving scravenged weeds from all the neighbors. I demand in return the right to hug any chicken any time whether they like it or not.

Current grains/extras used are:
white and red wheat berries (enjoy but don't love)
Green whole peas (kind of like)
hulled barley (the barley with the hulls was ignored but they LOVE the hulled stuff)
oats with the hulls (not sure they actually eat this since i see alot of hulls around)
sorgham/milo (absolutely loved!!)
BOSS (also loved)
kelp
whole yellow kernal corn (iffy)
I just also got amaranth seeds
Thought about quinoa but so darn expensive even in bulk
Tried chia but they don't seem to like it
Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 96
Roberta,
Your question above is exactly why I'm considering mucking with this feed mixture at all. Chickens were not meant to exist solely on grains, from my understanding, the factory farms and lack of forage options in cold places created a need for grain based diets. I am obviously not set up to just let my ladies forage, we don't have the space and I would have to provide better food options with my limited garden area, so I'm trying to create a compromise. I have been reading up on diseases and some of the issues plaguing chickens that were bred to conform to the "factory model" and lay constantly and die young. I'm no expert but I know I want my food to be as pure as possible and that means our eggs and chickens' foods should be as well. I'd like to create a whole grain and protein mix that complements both the health of the chickens and the quality of the eggs. I've heard that the eggs taste better when their diet is very good. My girls aren't picky eaters but they seem sensitive to feed changes, and consistently the food is changing from bag to bag, I'm having issues with this.

I think everyone wants the best for their ladies, I'd like to see if it's feasible to create a healthy food with recognizable ingredients. I'd like to incorporate quinoa, lentils, peas and other high value foods into my chickens' diets without screwing up! I'm a little nervous, because I'm not a nutritionist nor expert, but if you look at the protein content and nutritional values of a varied diet, it makes sense to have a variety of whole grains. I'm looking into cutting out wheat for myself so I'm going to try to see if I can make a healthy food that isn't heavily wheat, corn or soy based. I don't want to compromise their health and I want to avoid the corn/soy pitfalls of just feeding single grains because it's cheap or easy or makes them lay hordes of eggs (factory model). I also don't do GMO. I just don't like the idea of it or Monsanto.

Maybe I'm nuts. Maybe I should just try the Magill Cascade and call it a day. That Modesto Mills pellet feed may have been what caused my stoppage and that really frustrates me. I'm not sure but once I started mixing the old feed in, they started laying again. Oye. I feel like it can't be this hard because farmers have been doing this for eons and I can't seem to make it really work that well. I'm nervous that mixing in grains without the correct proportions to make their diet more varied could screw up the protein levels, so mixing the feed accurately seems like a good solution. The fermented feed has been a pretty big success, so that's good.

I also sprouted some of that barley. I'm kind of excited because I failed at sprouting before and maybe this will be a nice healthy treat for them to scratch around for in their compost area, with few greens available to them now. They are loving that, btw. I throw bugs in there and they scratch around for hours. They work for their food and seem to enjoy doing it and my yard may recover as a result. It's driving my husband crazy that the yard was looking so bad. I think Roberta's compost idea is great, why not let them turn the pile and eat the bugs? I have my gardeners bringing me excess leaves for bedding and compost. My girls love them!


What are others doing with their grains?
Samuel W.
user 37620172
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 12
Roberta,
while I am a huge advocate of sprouting grains to reduce phytic acid and increase available nutrients, you might want to look into the possibility of sprouted milo/sorghum containing elevated and perhaps deadly levels of hydrocyanic acid (HCN). Perhaps you can put your M.D. hat on and have a look at this and then give us some feedback:

http://forums.avianav...­

Sam
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 436
ooo, that's interesting. I've been fermenting the milo but i haven't tried to sprout it but i'll look into it. I have to admit that my bunnies like peach and apricot branches though there is concern form the bunny people that since the pits have cyanide that the branches could too.
Cynthia
bringer_o_treats
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 281
I'm fascinated by this topic, but I've not been brave enough to experiment with it. Frankly, I've been really happy with the Cascade feed, and when I tried the Modesto stuff I really didn't like it as well. But my greatest hesitation about custom-mixed feed from grains etc. is - how do you know if one or some of your birds has chosen a particular favorite component, and is only searching the feed for that item? I know because I've had pet parrots - if they find one element in the feed that they really like, they will pick that item out exclusively. So I don't understand how you get the birds to consume the right percentages - you may be presenting a feed with the "proper" balance, but how do you know that each bird is consuming in those same proportions?
. . . or will you grind all the ingredients so they're indistinguishable?
Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 98
Sam, I wonder if the fermented milo is an issue also? I've thrown a small amount in. It's sometimes used in beer,so I'm surprised to hear this. I'll look into a bit more as well.

Cynthia, I plan to grind the feed a bit but once you ferment, it sort of turns to a mush like porridge anyway. Can't really say they pick out anything, well except the BOSS. Maybe I'll try the cascade, I really was not a fan of the Modesto. I don't think the birds like it, for some reason. The eggs kinda stopped when I started using it. Coincidence, maybe, but it kind of freaked me out, I guess. The fermenting is going great, they love it and there is very little waste.

Maybe I should do one last feed change and try the cascade. My ladies are going to wig out. Crazy lady! Why are you always changing our food?!? I like the fact that the cascade has most of what I want from the feed. If they don't like it, maybe then I try to mix my own. Ahhh. But I have SO many grains.
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 437
Sam, so glad that you brought the issue of cynaide/prussic acid, i hadn't heard about this and I found some information. Of course there is no specific information about sprouting sorghum/milo for chickens. There is a link that i lost that spoke about frost and drought being linked with deaths from cyanide poisoning with horses and cattle due to high rates of new growth. It appears that the seeds have no cyanide and that the new shoots are the highest in cyanide so animals aren't supposed to forage on the sorghum/milo fodder until 12-18in tall. So i'm not sure exactly what the sprouts would have. I can't find anything but i'll keep looking. It would seem that the fermenting would be ok but i haven't found anything for sure. I had a week where all i had was the milo and i fermented just that grain for over a week and everyone was alive and frisky so i wouldn't have thought twice about it but i'm so glad that i know the potential deadly results.

So for sure sorghum/milo fodder is going to kill from what i've read though no one says in the fodder/sprouting for chickens that it shouldn't be used. I tried to searching the BYC forum but couldn't find anything references there. It seems like milo is in starter and some layer foods but not Cascade and not Modesto mills soy free. Hmmmm.......


Merck Veterinarian Manual
http://www.merckvetma...­

Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 99
Roberta,

So is it the sprout itself that creates the toxin or is it the exposure to water? Fermenting doesn't seem to produce any sprouts, so would fermenting be ok? Now I'm getting a bit nervous about making my own feed!

Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 442
I tried to look for fermentation to sprouts and i could only find that the roots and seed don't have the enzyme. It seems that there is fermentation in Africa and there is some thought that the early stages of sprouting may not have it but i don't see any supporting info yet. Sigh.... I'm glad Sam brought it up.
Powered by mvnForum

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy