I don’t know what amount causes toxicity, but I’d refrain from using them as part of your feed. Or is there something else? I have 5 birds so I did go with a 50-pound bag on the wheat but rather than the lentils I went with a 25-pound bag of whole peas ($10.30). Update: I also have a soy-free corn-free version of my homemade whole grain chicken feed! My homemade chicken feed is around 17 percent protein, which is in the target range for laying hens. 3 parts hard red winter wheat. If you are seeing undigested seeds in your chickens’ poop, I’d suggest adding grit to their diet. BOSS is typically found in the bird seed aisle at pet and feed stores, and I buy mine from a local farm and garden store. Thank you! Betty quick question, would this recipe work out if I excluded the corn? I’m having a hard time finding whole corn in bulk. In this feed, you will find enough calcium, nutrients, and healthy protein. The ingredients are all human grade and mostly organic, and the fact that they can feed the whole household makes buying 10- or 25-pound bags of grains more feasible. Feed this free choice, and they’ll take what they need each day. The real value to me is knowing exactly what goes into my feed. Thanks!! Good luck! Can be keep up to 3 months frozen. Yip-pee! Chicks need more protein as well, so increase the high-protein grains or add split peas to the mix. I had found this recipe before yours and I was going to use it: It said shelled for the baby chick version but not this version, I was going to use organic shelled sunflower seeds, do you think that is ok? You can find more exotic grains at places like Whole Foods Market, Sprouts Farmers Market, and in countless other natural food grocers and bulk food markets. Soy is one of the most genetically-modified foods in the world, and it’s included in almost everything we eat. If you want to spoil your chicks with a more complex recipe, check out our homemade chicken feed article. This may not be true for everyone, but on the west coast, a premium bag of soy-free, organic layer pellets averages $0.70 per pound. If money is no object, you could also add quinoa, spelt, wild rice, amaranth seeds, nyjer seeds, hemp seeds, or shelled peanuts as excellent protein sources. New and Improved Homemade Whole Grain Layer Feed recipe, Read more on Feeding Whole Grains to Chickens, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0071GWMA2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=stonfamifarm-20&linkId=4067751c80d8c75f77ede2645508c0d6. 3 parts hard red winter wheat At the end of the day, if you feed a balanced meal of grains, greens and garden pests — with a little treat here and there — numbers are not as important as a diverse diet. Shelled sunflower seeds are absolutely okay! Hello, I am wondering what the cost is to make your own organic feed? The feed is placed in through the top, so the chickens can access it through the connector opening. Thanks Samantha! This recipe makes 13.84 lbs, 16% protein. It is commonly used as animal fodder. I felt the benefits of a whole grain diet outweighed those of an organic (but processed) diet. Makes 8 1/2 pounds (fills 10-pound feeder), 4 cups oat groats4 cups black oil sunflower seeds4 cups hard red wheat berries2 cups soft white wheat berries2 cups kamut2 cups millet2 cups whole corn1 cup lentils1 cup sesame seeds1 cup flax seeds1/2 cup brewer’s yeast1/4 cup kelp granulesFree-choice oyster shellsFree-choice grit. Homemade Organic Chicken Feed. Oyster shells and grit are common ingredients found at any feed store or farm/livestock/poultry supplier. Update: Since this post was originally written, I’ve moved on to a new chicken coop that doesn’t have on-site storage, so I keep all of my grains and seeds in the garage. Also I was planning on premixing this feed and storing it in a plastic trashcan (new;not used) in my garage, would this be okay, or would it be better to store it the way you do? I went to an Asian market and bought whole dehydrated kelp. . I’m able to mix up a large batch all at one time. Whole grains store for a very long time in cool and dark locations. As with anything highly processed, soy has potentially harmful health effects ranging from vitamin deficiencies to hormone disruptions — especially when consumed in the crazy amounts that our culture does. The non-organic non-GMO feed that I am switching them from costs .25/chicken per day. And when your chicks are old enough, you should switch them to BOSS, as the higher oil content makes them more nutritious. gigglegiggle )  but this post and the one about summer loving salads, as well as a multitude of other  posts on your blog are really original and helpful. My flock loves their fermented feed and I loving giving it to them since I know it is nutritious and beneficial for them. 3 parts soft white wheat Kelp contains essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and salt that your chickens need. They’re also one of the more expensive ingredients in my feed, so I add them sparingly. They can eat smaller grains such as oats and wheat, and shelled sunflower seeds. Thanks so much for your site, I am loving it! Personally, I’d only use human or animal-grade kelp. Log in. It’s sold as a supplement for humans, horses, dogs and cats (the only difference being human grade vs. animal grade). The baby chick of course! My favorite part? In fact, depending on what you want to add to your chicken feed, it could be a lot more expensive. 3 weeks in the fridge. For your homemade feed, you can increase the lentils (or split peas) in my recipe, or add alfalfa meal. I spend about $20 per 50 lbs to make my own homemade feed. Lentils are very high in protein (at least 26 percent) and if your chickens take to them, it’s worth adding more to your feed. Are you BOSS in the shell or shelled? As a natural food co-op that delivers nationwide, Azure Standard carries bulk bags of hard-to-find items like kamut and kelp, and sometimes at a better price than Amazon. soy-free corn-free version of my homemade whole grain chicken feed, nutritional needs of different age groups, Chicken First Aid: How to Wrap a Sprained Wing, How to Plant Tomatoes in a Trench: A Gardener's Trick for Tall Plants, Homemade Soy-Free Corn-Free Chicken Feed With Whole Grains. 1 part split peas. Thank you so much for this. If you’re just starting your chickens on this diet, you should order small quantities first to see what they like before ordering bags in bulk (and by then you’ll probably figure out how quickly they go through their food). Since I only have 3 hens and limited storage, I bought 25-pound bags. Making your own feeds would cut down costs while increasing the profit margin of your poultry farming. Making homemade fermented chicken feed is cost effective, nutritious, and easy! Or just green things?? I’d add some kind of starter to get it going quicker. It promotes healthy growth, increases egg production, and darkens yolk color — an overall superior supplement. I seen them advertised as an organic fertilizer 100% natural for a quarter the price, would they be okay to give my chickens? I’m new to chickens and getting 10 new chicks in May. Hi i forgot to ask about kelp granules, i can only find them online and they are for humans and rather expensive. Soy-free, natural, and full of healthy whole grains and seeds, it's easy to customize so you can make the best feed possible for your own flock. One really easy way to feed your chickens and reduce the amount of chicken feed required is to raise them on pasture. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Also, keep in mind that chicks have a different feeding requirement than layers. Unless you go through a lot of feed quickly, I wouldn’t suggest keeping the grains in their original bags once opened, because weevils and rodents will think they’ve scored a buffet. Kelp Granules/Kelp Meal: chock a block with vitamins, minerals and amino acids, kelp is a an overall health booster for your flock, and a must have addition to any homemade chicken feed. I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. Oh yeah, one more question; what is considerd greens? Chicks do not need oyster shells (calcium), but they do need extra protein while they’re growing. how much would you suggest to incorporate into your feed? 1 part sesame seeds I also keep baled alfalfa on hand in case I am low on fresh greens (which isn’t often here in S. Cali). With a whole grain diet, I’ve noticed that my hens eat less and poop less (as opposed to the crumble diet they started on). Garden Betty independently selects products to feature on this site. Mine forage all day and get tons of garden treats, so the grains I buy last several months. It's food for your flock that you actually recognize! Plus, I too am in the Los Angeles area and couldn’t find an organic feed here. I imagine that people wanting to make their own feed at home are likely also the sort of chicken keepers that let their chickens forage for bugs and weeds, or give their chickens mealworm treats and kitchen scraps. It’s an ancient Egyptian grain that’s nutritionally superior to other wheat in terms of protein (18 percent), magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E. Millet (unhulled) is found in most bird seed, and in fact, the millet I buy is a mix of red and white millet sold at the store as “wild bird food.” It’s less expensive than human-grade hulled millet, but still rich in amino acids and iron. Best of all, your birds get all the nutrients they need to lay gorgeous, golden-yolked eggs all year lo… If you lack adequate space or keep a small flock, like I do, you can store the ingredients in airtight bins and mix as you go. Like humans, chickens need a diverse diet and sometimes they need a different diet in winter than they do in summer. Since real food comes out of my chickens, I want real food to go into them. Great post, been looking for this info! My ladies LOVED the first batch I made . We have looked at how to make homemade organic chicken feed and homemade fermented chicken feed, in previous post. I have looked everywhere for a homemade recipe that was simple and didn’t involve weird ingredients, supplements, freeze dried worms (yuck). Yes, since their gizzards grind everything up. I know that was a corny joke but it did at least give you a little chuckle. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This post updated from an article that originally appeared on June 29, 2012. I’ve seen them housed together on farms, but you probably need plenty of space to keep all the birds happy. Hi! You can use this same recipe, but replace the larger grains (like BOSS, kamut, corn) with shelled sunflower seeds, quinoa, corn meal, etc. Can I use popping corn for them as well or just corn meal? Also, I planned on grinding down most of the ingredients, does it need to be in an almost powdered form? Or, add a couple cups of alfalfa pellets to your feed during the times of year when greens are scarce. I am not sure if it is worth my time to make my own. I’d never heard of kamut before mixing my own feed, but now I make it for myself as well. I mix a new batch of feed two or three times a month. As long as they have enough acreage or consistently fresh pasture (e.g., a movable coop), chickens can self-regulate. This may not be true for everyone, but on the west coast, a premium bag of soy-free, organic layer pellets averages $0.70 per pound. Would you prefer to eat dusty bags of mash or healthy green fodder, … If you need a tasty treat (it includes beef fat so I’m sure your chickens will be in love) then keep this snack in mind. They do get to forage in the afternoons though, so I’m not sure how much they eat from their feeder vs. how much they find on pasture. PVC Chicken Feeder: We wanted a lot from our chicken feeder: it had to be easy to fill, hard to spill, safe from non-chicken life forms, weather resistant, easy to make, and inexpensive. I would love to hear any input you may have. So, you can just crack the grains, including the BOSS. This isn’t cheap chicken feed by any means, but it’s also not exorbitantly expensive considering the quality ingredients that go into it. An all-organic feed was originally not as important to me as a soy-free feed. I grow pasture for them along with black soldier fly larvae they are happy birds! I’ve recently started feeding my chickens triticale and rye (when the other grains are sold out) and they eat it all up! I know I will need to increase the protein, what is your suggestion for the easiest way to meet my chicks diet needs. This is especially important for whole grains that need to be broken down. Kamut is actually a brand of khorasan wheat, but these days the grain is simply known as kamut… the way kleenex is synonymous with tissue. chicks…will they eat whole grain already?Bridget. This is fabulous. Homemade chicken feed is easy to mix together, will last longer (since you’ll be using whole grains, not crushed), and is quite easy to increase and decrease supplements and minerals as you see fit. I just know the babies have different needs/concerns. If you want to feed this recipe to your chicks, I’d suggest using cracked corn or corn meal in place of whole corn (easier to eat). I cover the nutritional needs of different age groups in my post that helps you calculate protein for your own chicken feed.). Thanks again! You can also substitute striped sunflower seeds (the seeds that are typically packaged as human snacks), but they tend to be larger than BOSS with thicker shells. I can’t find the ancient grains where i live, i just have the basic red wheat, oats, flax, and rye. They may also start flinging grains all over the place (you’ll soon learn what they like and don’t like) or picking out certain grains first. . A customizable poultry feed for your backyard chickens that uses only healthy whole grains and seeds. 1 part millet If your chickens free range, they’ll probably pick up little stones on their own and won’t take as much from the free-choice grit. this is SO fabulous! I can’t wait to mix this up. I discovered this while butchering some young roosters! The rest of my ingredients come from local stores with a wide variety of bulk grains. You can lower the cost by going in with a fellow chicken-keeper on 50-pound bags of grains, or by using animal-grade ingredients instead of human-grade (which is what you’ll find in feed stores, and they’re perfectly acceptable). Their feathers are soft and shiny, their personalities as perky as ever… so I must be doing something right! Most of my grains are purchased from Azure Standard. I always add them to the feeder as-is (dried), but sometimes I’ll cook a cup of lentils and leave them in the coop overnight so the girls find a nice little treat in the morning! I’ll be reordering soon and might buy 50-pound bags of the oats and wheat, since I go through those more quickly. Homemade Layer Feed Stats. 1 part sesame seeds. © Garden Betty 2010-2020. Also i live in canada and in a northern community(remote) i most likely have to give my birds the alfalfa meal and the poultry nutri-balancer Sometimes it’s sold as a bundle of dried seaweed (like what you might find on the beach) and you can simply hang this in the run and let the chickens peck at it whenever they want. Flax and hemp seeds are both good for baby chicks because they have very high protein levels, and chicks need more protein than pullets and layers do (around 20-22% vs. 16-18% for the older girls). Otherwise, feed only hard red wheat, as it contains more protein (around 15 percent). If you check your chicken poop you can even see specks of flaxseeds in there! I have 4 chickens. 1 part hulled barley My chickens eat the whole thing in one swoop. This is a good number to know if you’re only feeding whole grains. This is the most natural diet chickens can eat. Free range and pasture raised chickens eat a lot of forage. Just mix them in as you normally would. #3 Mixed Layer Chicken Feed. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. Are you getting chickens soon? A trash can works for storage, so long as the lid is secure. I could actually get my cost down even more if I bought in greater quantities (50-lb bags instead of 25-lb bags). LOL. More than nine years ago, I started mixing my own soy-free, mostly organic, whole grain chicken feed, and it’s still the best feed I could possibly give my hens. Your ideas are SO helpful and the bin/bucket links are awesome. All oats — no matter how they’re processed — are nutritionally similar, so you can feed oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and quick oats interchangeably. You can also feed popcorn kernels, which are half the size and easier for smaller breeds to pick up. These ingredients are also easy to source, which is essential for rural homesteads. Can I use popping corn? Your email address will not be published. (If you do grind everything into a powder, it’s better to turn it into a wet mash – by adding a little water – so that the food isn’t wasted in the form of dust.). But it’s also an incomplete protein, an unnatural source of food, and a highly processed food. , linda, i have to hand it to you. I’m saving this, for the future chickens we’ll hopefully have, in my recipes folder (yes, right alongside the pie and lasagna recipes). free choice of granite grit. Or, you can look for dried seaweed in an Asian market. Start by gradually mixing in a little bit of whole grains into your chickens’ current feed to adapt their gizzards. 1 part kamut Layers need at least 16 percent protein and the rest is common sense — not too much fat, not too many carbs, and that last piece of chocolate cake is probably not a good idea. 3: Automatic Chicken Feeder . You can buy human-grade brewer’s yeast too, but you’ll end up paying double (at least). Adding supplementary ingredients. Other good sources of protein include triticale, field peas, and split peas (or any peas in general — many soy-free commercial feeds rely on peas to provide sufficient protein). i really look forward to your postings. If you want something cheaper, but still high in protein, I recommend triticale. Thank you so much. Now, after partaking daily of our homemade feed for 4 1/2 months, our ladies are laying incredibly well. I’ll probably make the switch permanent because of the better price I get for it. Awesome research, thanks for sharing! Grit is typically limestone or granite gravel that aids the gizzard in grinding food. (I’ve tried the entire lineup from the feed store.). 1 part hulled barley. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Very happy to help a fellow chicken keeper! Commercial poultry feed comes in crumble or pellet form, neither of which looks like real food to me. Just make sure your chickens have access to grit. One, how long does 8 1/2 lbs. Right now I’m feeding them an organic chick feed by Modesto mills. have a terrific summer, samantha. I put it in my food processer and ground it until it was pretty fine and then I sprinkle some on their food and mix it in. Is Homemade Chicken Feed Cheaper? (This is advantageous if you have a mixed flock of chicks, pullets, and/or layers with varying protein needs, or want to alter their diet in winter or summer. And it’s reasonably easy to make. It’s not any more work than refilling the feeder with bagged feed, and I have the option of changing up the mix every once in a while, rather than being stuck with the same 50-pound bag of commercial feed. From mice to bugs and grass to your prize tomatoes, chickens will peck at anything.Add in your table scraps and your chickens are probably getting a pretty balanced diet. 13. (But, I think they’re only necessary for chickens that never leave their coop, or who live in northern climates with snow.). I’ve edited the post above to include this information. Also, I’m getting chicks in just a couple days and was reading through the comments. 10. This will likely vary in your area, but the formula for figuring out how much your homemade chicken layer feed will cost will be the same. For easy formulating, download Garden Betty’s Chicken Feed Calculator to manage costs, calculate protein content, and custom mix your feed on the fly. Oats are also a good (and cheap) source of energy. If so, what types would be best? Feed stores sometimes label the unhulled white millet as “proso millet” (not to be confused with spray millet, which is a long and thin seed head). I can get a 50 lb. However, I don’t remember how large a hemp seed is – a chick can handle a small grain or seed, similar to an oat groat. I am thinking about three chickens also. Homemade chicken feed for layers: 3 parts soft white wheat. Plus groats, flax, milo, millet, kamut, triticale, sesame seeds, brewer’s yeast, and kelp granules. Your little chickies are very lucky! Mine don’t particularly care for lentils or any legumes, for that matter, so I only add a small portion to my feed. As it turned out, my homemade poultry feed is almost all organic, thanks to bulk purchases from Azure Standard and my local supermarket. Alright, I’ve gotten most of my ingredients but had one other question…would Nutritional Yeast be ok in lue of Brewer’s Yeast? Fermented chicken feed helps you get the most out of your feed bags while still providing nutritious food for your flock. My hens free-range most of the day, so additional supplements aren’t needed. You purchase mealworms by the poundage from local or online retailers. PS I tired to share a link to an album I made on facebook so you could see my baby chicks, but it would not let me share it here. Dried beans contain a compound that is toxic to chickens (and most birds in general). We tried a … Allow at … The best way to consume flaxseeds is to grind it up, say in a coffee grinder :). The first step of course was getting the right egg laying chicken breed and then we built them these diy easy clean chicken nesting boxes. I have come across fermented feed for chickens and other livestock. We just got an Azure buying group together! I was also planning on substituting quinoa for the kamut, my ladies didn’t seem to like it as much. Oats are rich in protein (around 16 percent), B vitamins, calcium and fiber. Try looking for kelp meal or kelp powder, if that helps. Chickens don’t have teeth, so they swallow a small amount of grit and store them in their gizzards to grind up food. 41. Annoying little vermin like mice and weevils have a way of getting into all that food if it isn’t, so be sure you close it tightly! I plan to feed whole grain, but I’m wondering what you feed them as little chicks…will they eat whole grain already? BOSS is high in protein (averaging 17 percent), rich in minerals and vitamins, and the high oil content gives feathers a beautiful gloss. On the other hand, whole grains (which you can pick and choose) retain all of their nutrients. Joan Salmonowicz tells readers what to feed chickens, how to mix your own chicken feed, including buying mixed ration feed in bulk, feed ratios, and common supplements. Thanks! Homemade+ DIY chicken feed recipes Although bags of layer mash, grain or pellets can be easier, making your own homemade chicken feed can be rewarding and offers higher nutrition. 1 part amaranth seeds Serving size for each chicken is 1/4 lb., which makes this recipe enough for 112 servings, almost 3 weeks’ worth for my 5 girls. BOSS does contain a lot of oil though, so I’d crack them as needed to prevent rancidity. I get my BOSS at WinCo in the bulk seed aisle ($0.96/lb), but it’s normally sold in the bird aisle at pet and feed stores. I honestly don’t know the difference between kelp as a health supplement and kelp as a garden fertilizer. But if you supplement their diet with pasture, scratch, mealworms, and kitchen scraps, all that food will increase (or decrease) the amount of protein they take in each day, so don’t get too hung up on the number. If you’re looking for one more “weed” to grow for your chickens, consider azola. Mealworms are another food that can be grown right in your living room and no one would even know it. (how many more banana nut bread recipes do i need? Linda, What came first the chicken or the egg? Could I substitute with fresh fruits/veggies? Hi Linda, Supplements are important in a chicken’s diet too! I’ve also added a few other containers — that I like just as much, if not more than my first containers — which are all linked in my sources at the end of this post. Commercial chick starters are around 20% protein. What are you paying? (Azure does carry the latter two, but I found them cheaper at WinCo.). thanks tons! Make this chicken treat. It’s easy to mix up, and doesn’t take several hours to make, either. . I’ve read that brewer’s yeast generally contains more B vitamins than nutritional yeast does, but this may depend on the different brands. Feeding lower-protein grains like rye, barley, buckwheat, and sorghum (milo) in small amounts will balance the higher-protein (and usually higher-cost) grains. Hi, wow, I am so excited to start with my chickens. Today I would like to give you my basic recipe for homemade baby chick feed, you can always add other ingredients but these are the key elements.. Hi i was wondering can beans be interchangeable with the split peas and lentils they all are pretty high in protein. Black oil sunflower seeds (often called BOSS) are like candy to chickens. Apple and pear scraps (as well as green scraps like the outer leaves of cabbage that you sometimes discard) are what I call kitchen scraps. Can I use shelled organic sunflower seeds instead? I am worried about food because I don’t want to use conventional, but am afraid I won’t be able to find all the ingredients. You can replace the kamut with any high-protein ingredient. And who knows, your chickens might not like a particular grain, so there will be a fair amount of trial and error as you create a recipe that’s more suited to your flock. I noticed that you do not include a supplement such as Fertrell’s Poultry Nurti-Balancer but did include kelp and brewer’s yeast . Even if you decide not to make your own, you can use this recipe as a base for choosing a good commercial feed as you’ll know what ingredients are included and why. So in a sense you (chickens and other animals) will just poop it out whole. You are what you eat. corn meal, etc. Hi i was curious how much you buy of each ingredient in your list and how long it lasts just to give me a general idea of how much i should order. You can add your supplementary ingredients to your homemade chicken feed, such as kelp, garlic, or oregano right before you feed your hens. 1/2 part flax seeds 1 part lentils Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram. I’m not familiar with portion sizes for alfalfa meal, but if you can find a bale of alfalfa from a feed store or ranch, you can leave that out for your chickens to peck at. When I refer to greens, I usually mean green things, like lettuce, kale, collards, broccoli, etc. Try not to make your feed too heavy on any particular grain. In LA, commercial organic feed is about $0.70/lb (though I don’t live near a feed store that carries it) and this recipe costs me $0.69/lb (but is easy to source locally), so it’s only marginally cheaper. Just stumbled upon your site- really loving it!! Get MORE EGGS and healthier happier chickens at less cost then store bought. I would rather feed my soon to be laying 5 girls Azola. And finally, my husband developed a homemade mix! Because of its cheapness, availability, and high amount of protein, soy is a large part of a commercial chicken’s diet. Quinoa is rather expensive but is a great substitute. Yes, you can ferment whole grains and seeds – it simply turns into a wet mash. Homemade chicken feed I prefer to make a large batches of up to 200 pounds at a time, that way I don’t run out during the winter and I’m not forced to buy commercial feed. They go rancid FAST because of the high oil content. The reason I add brewer’s yeast is because it’s an excellent source of B-complex vitamins. You can mix protein supplements below with any of the regular feed options and you’ll get the ultimate homemade chicken feed. (A pro-soy study found that soy protein transferred to the egg yolks and tissues of commercial chickens — even commercial “organic” chickens — fed a predominantly soy diet.). I haven’t gotten them yet but doing all the prep right now. My homemade chicken feed actually costs the same as the commercial poultry feed at my local feed store. This recipe lasts my three chickens about two weeks. Homemade Chicken Broth is really very easy to make in your own kitchen, and the difference it makes in bringing a good soup to an off-the-charts delicious soup is incredible. I was told that uncooked lentils were a no-no…do you cook your lentils before giving them to the girls? Homemade chicken feed is not as expensive or complicated as you may have thought or been told. Increase the amount of whole grains in their feed each week, until eventually you’re only feeding them whole grains. Thank you . While choosing the right homestead poultry feed goes a long way in promoting health in your flock, adding supplements to your flock’s diet can increase longevity, productivity, and overall health. Good to know! This basic 5-ingredient recipe is packed full of the nutrients your birds need.
2020 homemade chicken feed