If you are wanted a jumping off point for the most healthy, natural, non-chemical feed please continue reading.
So, for months I have been experimenting with ingredients with a simple list of goals…
- No soy!
- Must be cost effective.
- Must be higher quality than premixed
- Can’t slow down egg production or negatively affect chickens health
The list is not in order of importance.
I have been messing with feed ingredients for a couple of years now due to my obsession with making things as natural and raw as I can. I order my ingredients from Azure Standard which is awesome but you have to plan ahead and be able to pick up at a drop at a certain time. We also use New Country Organics, Amazon and buy some from the local Tractor Supply or local owned feed store.
I don’t buy much from the local feed store only because there just isn’t much organic around.
So here is the product so far. Note I buy bulk (usually 50lb bags) but you can scale down. I use a 55 gal plastic, lidded drum laid on it’s side and a door cut into the side to mix and hold the grains. I use a small metal trash can with a lid to keep the premix.
Here is what I am doing currently.
30lbs Wheat or oats (oats are healthier but I like to which out) whatever kind is cheaper- I only use organic because regular wheat and oats are very heavily laced with pesticides.
50lbs field peas-organic please! Don’t use cracked because they lose their vitamins as soon as they are cracked. Some chickens don’t like peas and you can sub corn or something but will have to make it up in protein. My girls don’t like them hard but I soak my grains and they eat them once they are sprouted. I will explain more later.
50lbs Corn- I am not a big fan but I am having issues finding a replacement for price
18-25lb Black sunflower seed- there is organic but I only find it in small bags here are not GMO forms on market, I am trying to grow enough this coming summer to cover at least half my needs -You only need the sunflower seed if you aren’t doing peas and alfalfa.
18lbs Fish meal-make sure it is not fish bone meal and make sure it is for feed not fertilizer. Really look into it because quality is everything. I make sure it is wild caught not farm and that it is prepared in a way that doesn’t kill all the goodies. I trust New Country Organics
40lbs Alfalfa pellets. The girls are pastured but Alfalfa is an awesome grass that is loaded with minerals.
2.5lbs pink Himalayan salt
5lbs organic premix. I trust ABC products. ABC.biz. It is expensive but goes a long way.
Ok so here is what I do, it is very scientific too.
I have the drum I talked about that has the wheat/oats, peas, and sunflower if using. I also do add corn during colder months.
I keep the fish meal, salt and premix in the the trash can (make sure it has a good lid, Fish meal with attract all kinds of things if not air tight)
I measure out 3lbs of the grain mix from the drum and soak in just enough water to cover(I have well so there is no chlorine which will keep the grains from developing. Put the 3lbs soaking as you take the previous grains to mix into the complete feed so that if you feed twice a day the grains have had a half day in water.
The alfalfa is in another trash can alone.
To feed about 25 chickens…
At feeding dump the soaked grain into a feed bucket followed by 5.75 oz of the premix and fish mixture you make in the trash can. *I measured out the ounces once in a mason jar and then marked it in sharpie so now I just scoop the jar to the mark. Then dump .85lbs alfalfa into the feed bucket. Mix it well and it will all stick because your grains are still moist.
Currently I am paying 99 cents per pound
It will take some playing with. At the end of the concoction you should have the same amount as normal premix you would feed your chickens.
I know I am not specific with my measurements but I am not a big believer in a rigid fixed measurement. What works is always evolving and changing but this mix is what seems to work for my girls as far as keeping weight level, pullets growing, egg production and flock health.
It’s not the cheapest way to go but I sometimes cheap isn’t the first option. It’s the obsession with cheap food that got us in the position we are in. I am not going to get preachy but making the healthiest food for my family is the reason I started raising chickens.
Also in my closet nerd research I compared this concoction to premix brands like the coveted Scratch and Peck. this mix is almost the same but not corn. I only add a little corn during winter or for my little babies that I want to give a little help gaining weight. In that case you have to grind it.
I do cull chickens and they end up on the table but this fall is my first round of meat bird production and I am excited to see how this mix with evolve for them.
Bottom line is, don’t be scared of trying new things. As long as you are experimenting on full grown chickens and watching their behavior and condition everyday you can’t mess up too bad and will learn as you go. Honestly I am finding the more we move away from conventional the better we do.
*picture from Bing search