Garden Betty’s Chicken Feed Calculator For Determining Your Protein Content

Garden Betty's chicken feed calculator for determining your protein content

If you’ve been following either of my recipes for homemade chicken feed (here and here), you may have wondered how to calculate the protein content of your feed should you decide to mix things up. Perhaps you want to try some other grains and seeds for your flock, or you need to formulate a higher-protein feed for baby chicks.

I personally use a spreadsheet to calculate my figures and manage my costs, and now this spreadsheet available to you!

Garden Betty's chicken feed calculator

Garden Betty’s Chicken Feed Calculator is available as an Excel (.xlsx) download, so you can save the spreadsheet to your computer, create a custom recipe, and edit the information as needed. I’ve included a list of common grains, seeds, legumes, and other ingredients that typically make up a poultry feed, along with their crude protein content and crude fat content. After entering the quantity and weight of each ingredient you use, the total protein will update automatically, allowing you to formulate your feed on the fly. (Weight is the most accurate measure for whole grains, so I recommend investing in a kitchen scale if you haven’t already. This is the one I use.)

The amount of protein you should aim for depends on the age of your chickens:

Chick starter (1 to 8 weeks): 20 to 22 percent protein

Grower (8 to 18 weeks): 16 to 17 percent protein

Layer (18 weeks plus, or after the first egg): 16 to 17 percent protein, plus free-choice oyster shells (for calcium)

While the recommended ranges are ideal for feeding, they don’t take into account other greens, weeds, seeds, bugs, and treats that your chickens may eat throughout the day, especially if they free-range. So don’t get too hung up on the number if you’re feeding other things besides grains; a diverse diet is more important than a strict percentage.

I’ve also included a column to calculate the cost of your ingredients; simply input the price per pound, and the spreadsheet will update with the total cost of your feed. This is especially useful for figuring out if it’s cost-effective to buy certain ingredients.

Keep in mind that the spreadsheet offers a simplistic view of your flock’s nutritional needs. It only determines the protein level of your feed, and doesn’t consider the other crucial components of a diet, such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Try to use a wide variety of grains, seeds, and legumes (as well as a steady supply of greens and kitchen scraps) to round out your chickens’ feed. (If you want to learn more, the University of Kentucky Poultry Extension offers excellent information on poultry nutrition.)

The protein and fat content shown for each ingredient are based on nutrition information sourced from my own ingredient labels and cooperative extension sites. They are not identical across producers (sometimes differing by several points depending on the varieties and growing conditions), so if you want the most accurate calculation for your custom feed, use the nutrition information from your own packaging.

If you’re adding new ingredients to the spreadsheet but don’t know their nutritional values, a reliable source to check is Self’s Nutrition Data. Enter the name of your ingredient in the search box, select the appropriate result, change the serving size to 100 grams, and use the figures shown under “Total Fat” and “Protein.” An ingredient listing 1g of fat and 15g of protein will have 1 percent fat and 15 percent protein, for example.

To download the chicken feed calculator, enter your email address in the form below. (Your email will not be given or sold to third parties.) Check your inbox and click on the link provided to confirm your address. Once confirmed, you’ll be emailed a link with instructions to download the file.

Happy mixing!

If you’re unable to view the form above, click here to be redirected.

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November 17 2014      72 comments     Linda Ly

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  • Keri

    I entered my email and confirmed it, but haven’t received a link to download the calculator, about how long does it usually take to send? Just wondering:)

    • Depending on your email provider, it might take up to 10 minutes to arrive in your inbox. I’ll look into this and force send it to you in case it got tangled up in a spam catcher. You should see it shortly!

  • help

    I cant figure out how to download the spreadsheet there arent any links to click on

  • Taylor

    I tried to make my own excel spreadsheet before finding this. THANK YOU for doing all of the hard work for me!

    • You’re welcome, I hope you find it useful!

  • Pingback: The Story of Bug (and the Homemade Diet I Feed My Dogs) | Garden Betty()

  • diegartenfrau

    Is it possible to change the protein value? I don’t seem to be able to change it to a different protein amount.

    • Yes, you can change the protein value of any of the ingredients. Simple replace it with your own numbers. The protein value at the bottom of the spreadsheet, however, will change automatically as you devise your recipe. Ensure that you have actually downloaded the spreadsheet to your hard drive before you play around with it, as I do not allow changes to be made online.

  • Nancy Jacques Barratt

    I am working on your spreadsheet for us. The column (D) with this title confuses me: Total Weight Per Feed (lbs.). I am unsure what this is supposed to be.
    Never mind, I see that is one of the calculated fields. I got the following through Azure Standard and it seems the protein levels on their nutrition labels don’t match up with yours??
    For instance:
    Kamut protein = 7g/25 lb bag
    Hard red wheat protein = 6g/50lb bag
    Rye Berries protein = 5g/50lb bag
    Triticale protein = 5g/50lb bag
    Flax Seeds protein =2g/25lb bag
    BOSS from local feed store protein = 9% 40lb bag

    • I determine the % by calculating how many grams of protein there are in 100 grams of that particular grain. (For example, 15 grams of protein in 100 grams of grains equals 15% protein.) So check the label for the serving size associated with the protein content shown.

  • Momtoafew

    Thank you so much for this! 🙂