“Having children changes everything.”
This saying constantly rang through my ears, especially in the years before my husband and I had children. While I was prepared for certain changes, I was not prepared for our philosophy of consumption to be radically altered.
So radically altered, that even our chickens felt the difference.
With the arrival of our first child, I realized that no longer were we meeting just our own needs with products and food. Now, God had given us the responsibility of caring for a new little life as well.
This idea changed everything…
Slowly, over the years, the environmental working group became my most visited website.
First to go was No More Tears shampoo, which gave me tears when I read the ingredients list. I was putting those toxins on the skin of my sweet newborn?!
Next came our food. We saw firsthand the horrendous farming practices along the I-5 corridor of California… No longer did eating out, or buying anything but local, organic food seem like such a treat!
And then, after plunging into backyard chickens to rid ourselves of scorpions, we began enjoying their eggs! That was, until we realized what we were feeding them. Handfuls of words we couldn't identify or pronounce. Eventually, that nagging concern led us to explore alternatives…
Tackling Homemade Chicken Feed
Eggs have always been a big staple in our home. And to ensure that we were consuming the most nutrient-dense eggs possible, we decided to give homemade and nutritious chicken feed a try.
Hoping for a cheaper alternative to the expensive chicken feed bags from our local food co-op, we scoured through recipes, local feed availability, and protein ratios. And finally, my husband developed a homemade mix!
Now, after partaking daily of our homemade feed for 4 1/2 months, our ladies are laying incredibly well. They are healthy, and we haven't lost any to sickness, even during our humid summer climate.
The biggest hurdle after figuring out ingredients and ratios was what to use for grinding the feed. Hesitantly, we used our Family Grain Mill, which has worked so well that we nicknamed it Old Faithful. 😉
Homemade Non-GMO & Organic Chicken Feed Mix
All ingredients are organic and non-GMO. Makes 25 pounds.
- 7-1/2 pounds corn
- 7-1/2 pounds peas green/split/cow peas
- 5 pounds wheat
- 2-1/2 pounds oats
- 2-1/2 pounds barley
- .20 ounce fish meal
- 1.0 ounce diatomaceous earth
- 0.05 ounce mineral salts
- 0.15 ounce kelp
- eggs shells ground up old from the week prior, as many as we save
- clabber yogurt, or whey (optional)
Grind corn and peas on a coarse setting.
Combine all ingredients (except cultured dairy or whey).
Mix with cultured dairy or soak in whey, if desired.
Use as chicken feed.
How We Feed
We feed two times a day, once in the morning and then again in the afternoon.
The afternoon feeding is mixed with approximately 2 to 3 cups of cultured dairy, or soaked in whey. Our milk lady sells us the skim milk left over after separating cream, or whey from cheesemaking. Thankfully she only charges $1 per gallon for what she considers “seconds milk”.
We grind only enough to last about 3 to 4 days, since after research my husband decided that this is best nutritionally. Ideally, it should be ground fresh but there's just not enough time in the day.
On average, depending upon slight price variations, we figure the cost of our chicken feed to be about $20 per 50 pounds (give or take a dollar). That includes the milk, but not included is the cost of gas to drive to the organic farm a couple of times a year to replenish our supplies.
By the grace of God, we have finally tackled the hurdle of chicken feed. I am now completely joyful at the eggs I watch my children devour every morning, knowing exactly what is in the feed that nourished the chickens as they produced them.
Do you make homemade chicken feed? What recipe do you follow? What advice would you give?
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