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 #: 100


The whole grains and everything laid out except the second large bowl of grain to make it 65%



Here it is pre fermenting.

I'm crossing my fingers. I only mixed up a 5 gal bucket full, so if it's a disaster, it not really a huge deal. I'm curious to see how blended whole grains go over without grinding.
Karen
user 37705112
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 1
I would be interested in going in on shares or even purchasing 10#s of each item from you Brandi, and Roberta your kelp if you're up for it. I have 100#s of unused Modesto pellets and now crumbles. Soy and corn free organic that my girls just do not fancy. When I offered the crumbles, I realized they must be used to mash. When we got them a month ago, I made my own feed from grains I had on hand, they loved millet, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seed with coconut flakes the best. Along with kitchen scraps and forage. We've had this (as I call it) guilt food to sort of stipend what I was feeding them, but they refuse it all! I'm finally getting eggs, but the hens feel and look thinner. Confused by it all! Too many changes in such a short time. But I just don't believe in giving that many grains-it's just too new of a practice- and look what it's done to livestock! I'm in Montrose :) And if anyone needs some cheaper Modesto product, I'm your gal :)
Roberta K.
user 10948851
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 448
Let me see how much kelp i have and if you are going to the sprouting or will be near the huntington library on Sat I can probably get you some kelp. I haven't been using it much. I'll try and mix it will something and if it makes things to weird you can have as much as you want!
Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 103
Karen,
I'd definitely consider splitting up some grains. I don't mind the Modesto whole grains but I'm not loving those pellets. Maybe they have a mash that is better? In any event, I'm going to see how mixing my own feed goes. I did figure out that I will have to grind at least some of it. It's a little bit too chunky. It looks great but I don't want the ladies to be able to identify and therefore pick out certain ingredients, as Cynthia mentioned. I was hoping the fermenting would soften it up more, but alas, the peas in particular will need some pulverizing. The lentils and quinoa seem to integrate just fine since they are small, but some of the other stuff (like oats) are just too coarse.

I bought some of the grains at whole foods (crazy, I know) but I just wanted to do a test before buying 50# sacks of stuff. I want to make sure the girls are ok with it. So far, they devoured every morsel of the fermented feed I gave them. They really liked it. My girls really go for the grains and nothing was really left behind, but I just want to make sure all the girls (not just the 2 biggest pigs, my Marans) get enough nutrients.

I actually didn't find the mixing to be too difficult, I will play more with the ratios and maybe do some hard math to make sure I actually got the protein content correct with all the grains added up separately, instead of kinda winging the approximate content of millet vs milo and corn vs oats. If I do this long term, I'll need to get very specific.

I wouldn't mind just using a good quality feed and adding some grains but, I'm not liking any particular feed and not super happy about shifting the protein ratio with other grains. this whole endeavor is born out my dissatisfaction of the mixes currently available, since the Cascade appears to have changed. I'm thinking maybe all the issues with the Cascade recently may be related to the flax seed going rancid or perhaps the shrimp and fish meal. Maybe that's why it's stinky? I don't mind either way if my hens are fed vegetarian, as long as they are healthy. I'm just looking to keep the hens happy and my eggs yummy!

nora
user 12397577
Monterey Park, CA
Post #: 25
wow! am sure interested in all that you're doing for getting the right feed.

would you say your feed includes items found in scratch?

i'm a novice so can't add to the discussion. BUT i'd love to purchase what you come up with to feed my girls. maybe 25 to 50 lb bag at a time. i only have three so no real large volumes. pasadena is my second home so can come by and pick up when you've got some. in fact need to get some new food soon so if could come by within the week, would love to do so.

will ask do you put Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) in their feed? someone told me they did to deworm?

also , how about feeding them the grains used to make rejuvelac? i just did that and they ate up the wheat berries. grains were not only sprouted but fermented.
Laura B.
LauraBonilla
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 436
Hello all,
OMG Thank you Brandi for starting this topic. I've always followed your input about mixing with great interest. As you, I did not have any luck with Cascade and Azure, both pellets and all type of mash mixes. My flock highly dislikes them.

My flock loves grain so I went back to where I began, to Brookhurst Mill's scratch, as the base. My flock LOVES it and it's simply cracked corn, sorghum, and whole oats. To that I'm adding hulled barley (not sure if they are eating it), rolled oats (the whole hulled oats were a total disaster), and oyster shells... Twice a day I give them as much as they want of Sunflower seeds... AND thanks to all of you, I am creating a creamy mash but it's based on Brookhurst Mill's lay mash, which my flock absolutely loves --- I'm sure it's not as healthy as Azure's or Cascade, but it does me little good if my flock does not eat it --- To that mash I'm adding rolled oats, barley, oyster shells... and I'm very careful to add just a little bit of powder garlic/cayenne pepper/ otherwise it goes untouched...

I've read all of your input and I'm making a list you say your chickens LOVE and I will be adding them to the grain mix:
wheat berries
flax seeds (lately i forget to add it)
millet
pumpkin
coconut flakes
alfalfa,
plus I will add kelp (sounds awesome idea Roberta)
but will continue also with:
cracked corn (my chickens and especially my boys adore their corn so I decided why not? I'm giving them nutritious food so they can have their corn too :)
barley (is rolled barley good?)
rolled oats (again, they eat this but not whole oats)
sorghum, which is a total favorite, as Roberta indicated

I'm having to also feed all the ground squirrels and hundreds of birds and mice... but I am not about to make my life harder by monitoring, restricting, or picking up after hours... trays full of grains will always be there...

I'm serving the wet mash mix in the morning around 9am and then around an hour before bed time I refill their lay mash plates.

I think I'm finding a system and it's working - thanks to all of you,
ps, will continue to see what to do about the base of my lay mash, because the brookhurst mill brand is NOT what I would prefer serving... again, my girls and boys won't touch any other...
nora
user 12397577
Monterey Park, CA
Post #: 26
when you feed these items

wheat berries
flax seeds (lately i forget to add it)
millet
pumpkin
coconut flakes
alfalfa,
plus I will add kelp (sounds awesome idea Roberta)
but will continue also with:
cracked corn (my chickens and especially my boys adore their corn so I decided why not? I'm giving them nutritious food so they can have their corn too :)
barley (is rolled barley good?)
rolled oats (again, they eat this but not whole oats)
sorghum

does any of it have to be cooked or soaked in water?
Brandi G
user 48566262
Pasadena, CA
Post #: 106
Nora, I also feed my girls spent grains, I use the leftover grains from beer making and the ladies love them! I mix them into my fermented feed. I have not tried wheat berries yet, it seems Roberta's girls like them and I hear they sprout well. I just try to incorporate then in with protein sources like alfalfa and sunflower seeds or peas and lentils. To answer your question about DE, I've chosen to avoid it so I do not kill off my compost and all the beneficial bacteria in my yard. I'm using wood ash instead. I do not put that in their food, just in nest boxes and dust areas. I would use pumpkin seeds or something else over DE, personally. It can kill, indiscriminately, organisms that are both beneficial and harmful, so I'd rather cross the harmful bridge when I come to it. I'm sure it will come, at some point.

Laura, I had the idea of using a lay mash as a base as well, but I had the same issues. As far as I can tell, and I HOPE someone will correct me if I'm wrong, the only thing these feeds add is trace mineral salts, calcium, grains and a protein source. If that's the case, as long as you add the mineral salts and calcium and keep the protein content around 16 or 17%, I don't see a real reason why you can't just blend your own food. I do need to do more math on what the final protein content is when mixing certain grains. For instance, quinoa (actually a seed) is very high in protein but not as a high as peas. And if I use soy or an animal product, is that more available for the chickens from a nutritional standpoint. As I find out more, I'll keep people updated, if that's something people are interested in. I need to read the information Marty sent over first!!

One observation about mixing my feed- I made another 5 gal bucket batch and tried to pulverize the grains in my cuisinart. This was NOT a successful adventure! If I want to grind some grains, I'll need a mill. I just threw them in whole again and the ladies really like it and they do seem to integrate into one another somewhat after a few days. Except for the peas... I'm going to try to see what I can do about this. I'd like to grind the proteins but maybe leave the grains whole, since they like them so much.

I also accidentally found a super easy way to sprout oats. I threw a bunch in my wet compost for the BSF and the oats went crazy after about a week or 10 days. It requires nothing, I just soaked them and then threw them in and left them alone. Presto! Sprouts! It was a happy accident.
Laura B.
LauraBonilla
Group Organizer
Norco, CA
Post #: 440
when you feed these items

wheat berries
flax seeds (lately i forget to add it)
millet
pumpkin
coconut flakes
alfalfa,
plus I will add kelp (sounds awesome idea Roberta)
but will continue also with:
cracked corn (my chickens and especially my boys adore their corn so I decided why not? I'm giving them nutritious food so they can have their corn too :)
barley (is rolled barley good?)
rolled oats (again, they eat this but not whole oats)
sorghum

does any of it have to be cooked or soaked in water?

hi Nora,
in my case, this is a list of grains i'm putting together and will feed them dry, as grain, as they come. Not cooked otherwise they will lose their nutritional value... but as Brandi, I also feed them batches of cooked brown rice, but that is more of a treat than 'real food' - I mixed the cooked brown rice with cayenner pepper and raw eggs... they love it :)

What I soak in water is the lay mash, mixed with what I mentioned before, but lay mash not soaked in water, in my case, it's almost a waste, they don't like it... but soaked, they love it :)

hope this helps...
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