Thursday, May 21, 2015

Whole Grain Poultry Feed

We have decided that our birds (chickens, turkeys, and ducks) should have better nutrition that what is offered in a bag of highly processed layer feed.  Even though we were feeding a high quality layer mix to our birds, the pellets just seemed a bit unnatural.  I have enjoyed researching and creating my own special blend of whole grains for my birds.

I have learned many likes and dislikes with my birds while experimenting with grains and mixes.  
I have learned that oat is everyone's least favorite grain.  But in contrast, milo is most definitely tops with the ducks.  I have adjusted the amounts to find the best mix for our birds while keeping the protein high enough and the nutrients balanced enough.  I wanted to incorporate as many different grains as possible to give a broad spectrum of nutrients and interest.
Saltbush Flats Whole Grain Poultry Feed

Saltbush Flats Whole Grain Poultry Feed
makes 60 pounds

15 pounds Whole Wheat
  6 pounds Whole Barley
  6 pounds Whole Corn
  6 pounds Whole Milo
  6 pounds Whole Oat
  6 pounds Whole Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  6 pounds Whole Flax
  5 pounds Lentil, Green Split Pea, Yellow Split Pea mix
  2 pounds Brown Rice
  2 pounds Whole Niger Seed

This is real whole food.
Nothing is steamed, ground, mashed, processed, rolled, etc.
Each ingredient is a whole intact grain, seed, or pea.

We feed a large flock of chickens, turkeys, and ducks here on the ranch.  We treat them well with plenty of room to roam and forage.  We were feeding them a good quality layer pellet, and they have done well on that feed.  But I just did not feel right giving them heavily processed grains and long list of artificial vitamins and minerals.

I have studied and checked prices and suppliers.  Even though mixing my own layer feed is a little more expensive than the processed pellets, we think it is worth it to give our birds a more natural diet from mostly local sources.

This mix looks amazing.  It is a beautiful feed.  You just want to put your hands it and run it through your fingers.  It feels like real food.  Did you ever have that urge to put your hands in a bag of processed pellets or crumbles?  I didn't either.

As I was mixing up this last batch, two hens, Golden Belle and Blue John Girl, were eagerly watching me hoping to be rewarded for their attentiveness by a tasty morsel or two.  And Chief (ranch horse) was not far away talking to me the entire time, too.  Chief thought that he needed to sample this grain mix, just to make sure it was fit for the birds, I am sure.  This feed passed Chief's taste test.  Well, at least I think so, because he quickly requested to taste it again.

This whole grain real feed is only part of their daily diet.  All our birds are free-range.  This means they have plenty of access to fresh grass and weeds, but more important, insects, worms, and their favorite - centipedes.  I also offer them fermented grains on a regular basis.  But that is not all.  I grow fodder for all our livestock.  Each morning the birds get a generous amount of fodder for their eating pleasure.  Oh, do they ever enjoy the fodder.

What do you feed your poultry?

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