If you can grow everything your chickens eat, you don’t have to purchase feed at all. And, if you mix feed from bulk ingredients, at least you know the composition of the feed. This is good for farmers who want to avoid soy or corn, for example, or use non-GMO versions of these grains.
What to Put in Your DIY Poultry Feed
Whether you grow some, all or none of it, the key questions are: What plants should you feed chickens, and in what proportions should it be mixed?
You will find many different poultry feed recipes online. In some ways, you’re going to have to customize your feed to the specifics of your geographical region: What’s available, what’s inexpensive, and what you can grow yourself will all factor into the final feed.
So you want to make a homemade starter/grower feed or a homemade layer feed, but you want to be able to mix and match some of the ingredients in a similar category. For example, you’d like to swap oats for wheat or fish meal for soybeans. How do you know how much protein the finished feed contains?
It’s easy to determine the percent protein of your finished feed using this chart. For a 100 pound recipe, just multiply the percent protein of each ingredient (as a decimal) by the pounds of that ingredient in your recipe. For example, if you add 30 pounds of oats you would multiply by 0.14 and come up with 4.2. Add up the resulting numbers for each ingredient, and you have the percent protein of that batch of chicken feed.
If the percent protein in a recipe is too low, maybe you should back off on the ingredients at the lower end of the chart and increase the ingredients at the upper end of the chart. For example, cut back on corn and increase your soybeans. Soon you’ll be making your own recipe using the ingredients on hand!
The below lists of ingredients of poultry feed:
Things to Add to Chicken Feed
- Aragonite or feeding limestone (for calcium, not absolutely necessary)
- Oyster shell (calcium, free feed)
- Crab meal (small amounts provide protein and minerals)
- Flaxseed (omega-3, feed whole to avoid rancidity)
- Broad-spectrum mineral supplement.
Calculations in making own poultry feed