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Monday, March 31, 2014

Homemade Poultry Feed


I found a recipe for chicken feed on The Elliot Homestead. We have both chickens and turkeys, though, and they need a higher protein content to provide proper health for the turkeys and good egg production for our chickens. So, I modified her recipe, and came up with this, which our poultry are doing extremely well on and love. I, too, order from Azure Standard to get the best prices. I've tried to write this recipe with terms that will help you search Azure Standard, too. I buy these ingredients in bulk, and keep them in sealed containers to mix up in 100 pound batches (our feed bin holds that much). The kelp granules are available in bulk, organic, at Azure Standard for less than I've found it anywhere else. Including other packaging available at Azure. So, search for the best price per ounce or per pound, even when you are able to get them through a co-op or bulk retailer like Azure Standard.

Our poultry are able to range on our property year round, so they are able to find something to eat, whether it's seeds, greens, bugs, or what not, all year, though in the winter the pickings are pretty slim. We also give them all kitchen scraps that we cannot use in stock and that isn't harmful to them (or will flavor their eggs in a way we don't want, such as onions). The things that can't be used in stock and the things that can't be given to the poultry go into our compost, so we have miniscule waste here. This is one of the things we love about our chickens, too, they turn what would be garbage into eggs. I also like that we are feeding them with things that would be okay for us to eat, too. If our younger children got into their feed and ate it, it would do them no harm.

Anyway, I don't have the exact pricing in front of me, but we worked it out, and this was just slightly less expensive (by a dollar or so, total) than the layer feed (which is less expensive than the higher protein feed we need for the turkeys) at the feed store with all the agricultural byproducts, soy, GMOs, and possibly arsenic. But it's organic and non-GMO. The protein level is sufficient for our turkeys, while not being too much for our chickens. We feed poults in confinement with their mothers with a higher protein feed so they are protected, but also so the chickens don't get into their feed. We also offer calcium in various forms as a free choice when we bring out table and kitchen scraps to them, and they get calcium from the insects and small reptiles they eat.

28 pounds whole oats with hulls, animal grade
24 pounds whole barley, animal grade
19 pounds split peas (green or yellow)
11 pounds corn (I may leave this out in the late spring and through the summer, as they forage enough to get the sugars on their own - we were using blue corn until we ran out, because it's higher in protein, but haven't found an organic, bulk source since before January)
11 pounds lentils
4 pounds flax seeds
2 pounds raw, brown sesame seeds with hulls
1 pound kelp granules
3.2 ounces olive oil

Mix it all up in a large tub. That's it. Our older boys make a batch of this every two to three weeks. Our poultry eat more in the winter, both because there isn't as much to forage, and because they need more fuel to heat themselves. This is normal.

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