I feel like a chicken-feed revolutionary.
A homemade chicken-feed pioneer.
A poultry innovator!
I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with this technique.
I just hope it’s not old news and you all aren’t already doing it…
Measuring spoon set in the photo above is available here (affiliate). I’ve had this set for many years- it was a special gift from Karl and it’s one of my most treasured kitchen items!
There’s Got to Be a Better Way!
This technique was born fairly immediately after making my first batch of homemade chicken feed.
I mixed up a big batch of whole-grain feed, drizzled in some molasses and stirred it all up. There was still a lot of loose powder hanging around, and now I had clumps of molasses. “Coconut oil, I’ll try that!” So I got some, melted it and drizzled that in. Still powders everywhere. My worries were further confirmed when I saw my expensive, precious kelp and yeast powders at the bottom of the dish, being left behind by the flock.
Using molasses or oil as a binder for the powders in your feed is a great idea, but I think the technique falls short. Just mixing a spoonful of molasses into your big batch of feed and expecting it to pick up the small powder granules is simply madness!
My New and Improved Technique:
My improved technique is to stir the molasses and then the powders into a small amount of feed from the batch, essentially creating super-charged chicken vitamin bits. We then mix these powder-covered bits into the rest of the feed.
Stirring the molasses into a small amount of grain ensures that all the grains get evenly coated, that all of the clumps of molasses break up, and the powders have something they will definitely stick to. It is just a lot easier to control.
Having fewer grains with more molasses on each of them, rather than a lot of grains with a little molasses on each of them, ensures the powders stick to them a lot better.
Let me tell you more about exactly how I‘ve been doing this and give you some numbers…
1. My batch of feed makes just over 10 cups worth. I take 2 cups of the oats from my feed recipe and place them into a small mixing bowl (that I have now dedicated to making these bits).
2. Next, I drizzle about 2 tsp of molasses over the top of the small bowl of grains and use a spoon to mix it in well; this takes about 60 seconds until all the grains are evenly coated with the molasses.
When I was just mixing the molasses into the big batch of feed, it tended to make clumps that were hard to break up, and they seemed to disappear into the feed bucket- but this isn’t the case at all when mixing this small batch.
Do make sure the molasses isn’t cold, or it won’t mix well.
3. Then I sprinkle on 2-3 Tbs of kelp powder and mix that in until evenly distributed (affiliate). It all sticks wonderfully to the molasses-coated grains.
4. Last, I stir in the brewer’s yeast, and because it is a fine powder it sort of coats the grains (affiliate). Kind of like coating mexican wedding cookies or puppy chow in powdered sugar. But not as appetizing.
5. Then I stir this small batch of super-charged oats into the rest of the feed mix. I mix the rest of the feed first, and then lightly stir or fold these oat-vitamin-bits into it (so to not totally demolish them and knock all the powders off).
This seems like an easily adaptable technique. Play around with it and see what works for you.
If you don’t want to isolate out a particular grain from your feed, you could just take a couple cups worth of your mix and stir the molasses and powders into it, then return it to the rest of the feed.
I only used 3-4 Tbs powders, but this amount of grain and molasses could hold more if there were a lot of things you were adding.
2 cups grains + 1-2 tsp molasses + whatever powders you want
Spread the Word
I had a hard time trying to describe this in such a way that people will actually be able to find this information and use it. So, if you know someone who makes their own homemade chicken feed, please spread the word and pass this idea along to them!
And when you tell them about it, make sure and use the word “vittles.” As a population, I don’t think we use that word as much as we should.
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