I like to avoid soy in our family’s diet, so it makes sense that I would want to avoid soy when feeding my chickens as well. Most commercial chicken feeds use soybeans as the main protein source. There are soy-free blends out there, but they are MUCH more expensive and I like knowing exactly what’s going into the chickens’ food.
So I make my own. With ingredients from the grocery store!
My regular feed consists of old-fashioned oats, split peas, cracked wheat, and flax seeds. And that’s all.
I also ferment the feed before giving it to the chickens. You can read about all the benefits of fermenting feed here.
This is what the feed looks like after fermenting and draining:
There are SO many benefits to fermenting animal feeds. I highly recommend that you check it out!
Now, back to the feed composition…
This is my homemade feed calculator. It allows me to figure out what the protein content is with different combinations of ingredients.
This spreadsheet is fully customizable – all you have to do is add rows to add other ingredients. You can find crude protein percentages for feed ingredients here. You could also do a Google search of “crude protein percentage (ingredient name)”
The total protein percentage is found by multiplying each ingredient’s protein content by the number of pounds being used in a 100 pound batch of feed. These totals are added up, and the total pounds of protein per 100 pounds is equal to the crude protein content in your feed.
Keep in mind that this is NOT a complete layer/grower/starter feed.
Oyster shell is required for calcium (for hard egg shells).
My chickens also get a lot of greens in the form of weeds from the garden, extra fruits and veggies, and wheatgrass, which I grow hydroponically as fodder. The chickens get plenty of vitamins and minerals from all of our kitchen scraps as well.
This is a vegetarian formula, but I also give the chickens meal worms and calf liver for animal protein. When The Mister and I start raising catfish or Tilapia, we may use fishmeal as a protein source.
Here’s a link to a downloadable version of my feed calculator.