Many chicken farmers prefer to make their own chicken food. Their reasons range from cost effectiveness to the desire to use a higher-quality, organic feed than what is available from most feed mills. Some chicken growers want to be able to customize their flocks' diets by regulating the percentages of proteins and other nutrients more closely than store-bought chicken feed allows. Depending on the type of chickens you keep and their living environment, the nutritional needs of the flock will vary. Take this into consideration and get your veterinarian's blessing when making chicken feed.
Combine 1 cup sesame seeds, 1 cup of flax seeds, a half-cup of brewer’s yeast and a quarter-cup of kelp granules to complete the premix recipe. Double these amounts to make larger batches. Store the premix in an airtight container. A 2½-cup batch is enough for a finished 10-pound batch of feed.
Whole Grains and Seeds
A chicken's diet naturally includes a variety of whole grains and seeds. Buy these types of grains in bulk and store them in individual airtight containers. At feeding time, mix 4 cups oat groats, 4 cups black oil sunflower seeds, 4 cups hard red wheat berries, 2 cups soft white wheat berries, 2 cups kamut, 2 cups millet, 2 cups whole corn and 1 cup lentils. Combine these ingredients with the premix recipe to make a batch that will fill a 10-pound feeder. Adjust the amounts for smaller or larger batches.
Growing Chicken Food
An easy way to make food for chickens is to simply grow plants that chickens enjoy eating, such as mulberries, kale, peas, clover, quinoa and grass. Feed plants to chickens by either providing them graze access or harvesting the plants for them. Grazing chickens will also hunt earthworms and other insects. Chickens will benefit from oyster shells and grit, both of which you can provide them as a free-choice supplement.
Customizing Chicken Feed
The diets of roosters and laying hens should be about 15 percent to 17 percent protein, whereas growing pullets and cockerels require feed that's about 22 percent protein. This recipe is 17 percent, protein. Increase the protein percentage by adding wild rice, amaranth seeds, peas, hemp seeds or shelled peanuts. To bring down protein levels, add rye, barley or buckwheat. Quantities do not need to be exact; they serve as a base recipe. When mixing chicken feed, use good balance between grains; avoid using a disproportionate amount of an individual grain.
- Alexandra Cristina Negoita/Demand Media