Backyard Chickens / Nutrition

Homemade Soy-Free Corn-Free Chicken Feed With Whole Grains

A hen eating homemade soy-free corn-free chicken feed with whole grains

Update: Download the Garden Betty Chicken Feed Calculator to easily manage costs, calculate protein content, and formulate your feed on the fly!

I get a lot of emails about one of my most popular posts, Garden Betty’s Homemade Whole Grain Chicken Feed.

Since I started feeding my chickens a whole grain diet in December 2011 (when our first generation of hens were still pullets), they’ve been as happy and healthy as ever, and our most productive layers give us 6 to 7 eggs per week with no anomalies like shell-less eggs.

Two brown eggs and two blue eggs in a nest box

My homemade chicken feed has now been fed to three generations of hens, all with amazing results. Their feathers are soft and glossy, their wings strong and quick, their combs and wattles meaty and well-formed.

They are also the most active, affectionate, and sociable chickens, and they come bounding through the yard as soon as they see us approaching with their food. (We usually ferment their chicken feed.) I love their little personalities!

I’ve made small changes to my DIY chicken feed here and there, depending on what ingredients were in stock at my co-op. I still swear by a whole grain diet (considering how easy and accessible it is in my area), and it seems like many of you are looking to go this route as well.

If you’ve ever wanted to find out how to adapt my feed to baby chicks, or what kind of substitutions can be made to the original recipe, the comments on that page (which I actively monitor and respond to) are a great place to start!

In this post, I’m sharing how I updated my homemade chicken feed recipe with a version I’ve been successfully using for the last several years.

Two hens eating from a vertically mounted chicken feeder

Why a corn-free chicken feed may be a better feed for your flock

One of the most common questions I always get is: How do you make your chicken feed recipe corn-free?

Chicken-keepers want a corn-free feed for any number of reasons, the main one being that corn has little nutritional value compared to many other grains and seeds.

Field corn (the type of corn grown as livestock feed and processed into things like high fructose corn syrup) is also one of the most genetically modified crops in the world.

GMOs weren’t a concern for me as I used human-grade organic corn in my original recipe, but I ended up making a corn-free chicken feed because my original flock stopped eating corn, as well as lentils and kamut. (What can I say? They’re picky little ladies.)

Eliminating corn from the recipe wasn’t a big deal, but I did need to find a protein-rich replacement for the lentils and kamut.

Here’s what I’ve been using…

Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

High-protein ingredients for homemade corn-free chicken feed

Triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye, contains 17 percent protein and is an excellent source of energy. It used to be carried by my delivery co-op, Azure Standard (where I buy most of my other bulk grains), but has been hard to find in recent months.

I now source organic triticale from an Oregon supplier, but you can also find conventionally grown triticale from a Florida farm that specializes in pasture seed. Rolled triticale (which can be used interchangeably with triticale berries) is also offered on Amazon occasionally.

My other new ingredient, rye, contains 13 percent protein and something in it makes my chickens go crazy! They gobble the grains out of my hand like it’s candy.

Rye is fairly cheap and easy to find, though the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture suggests feeding rye only to laying hens at peak egg production. (You can substitute many other grains for it in the meantime.)

Container filled with rye berries

I also increased my sesame seed serving to 2 cups, and kept the rest of the recipe the same.

For many chicken-keepers, the easiest and cheapest source of (non-soy) protein is split peas and field peas, which I would wholeheartedly use if my chickens actually ate legumes. (They’re 50/50 on them, so I usually modify their feed every few months to keep things interesting.)

If your local supplier doesn’t carry soft white wheat berries, you can simply use 6 cups of the more common hard red wheat berries instead.

My updated corn-free chicken feed recipe is still within the 17 percent protein range for layers and still costs the same to feed them.

If you’re having difficulty finding any of the ingredients below, keep in mind that plenty of other grains, seeds, and legumes can be substituted and this recipe is not meant to be a rigid diet for your flock.

You should still be giving your girls a variety of healthy treats, such as fresh greens, dried mealworms, or dried black soldier fly larvae, and spring is the perfect time to let them loose in your garden to help turn over mulch and soil.

Two hens eating and scratching in dirt

Nutritional supplements for DIY corn-free chicken feed

For added vitamins and minerals, I use brewer’s yeast and kelp granules. Both can be found at well-stocked pet stores and feed stores, health food places, or even online.

Animal-grade supplements are more cost-effective than human-grade, so I recommend going that route if it’s available. You do not need to spend a lot of money to make quality feed!

If you’re not able to source these nutritional supplements for your homemade poultry feed, you can order Fertrell Poultry Nutri-Balancer from Azure Standard, Amazon, or your local feed store, or ask if they carry any other vitamin/mineral premix. (Just follow the directions on the package for proper serving sizes.)

It also might be a good idea to find other chicken-keepers to go in on an order with you, as a 10-pound bag of Nutri-Balancer would last forever unless you have a very large flock.

The girls still get grit and oyster shells in separate containers to peck as they please… but these days, I’ve also been washing and crushing up their eggshells to use in place of the oyster shells when I can’t make it to our local feed store.

With six hens now, there are plenty of eggshells to go around! (We even crush up eggshells to put in our tomato planting holes.)

For more recommendations, as well as information on how all of these grains are beneficial for your flock, check out my original homemade chicken feed recipe and its comments.

Happy formulating!

A baby pig feeder filled with whole grain corn-free chicken feed

Homemade Soy-Free Corn-Free Chicken Feed With Whole Grains

Makes 8 1/2 pounds (fills 10-pound feeder)


4 cups oat groats
4 cups black oil sunflower seeds
4 cups hard red wheat berries
2 cups soft white wheat berries
2 cups triticale berries
2 cups rye berries
2 cups millet
2 cups sesame seeds
1 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup brewer’s yeast
1/4 cup kelp granules
Free-choice oyster shells (or crushed eggshells)
Free-choice grit


Combine all of the ingredients, except the oyster shells and grit, in a small bucket. Pour the mixture into a feeder.

Put the oyster shells and grit in separate containers and offer them free-choice to your chickens to eat as they wish.

Yield: 8 1/2 pounds

Homemade Corn-Free Soy-Free Chicken Feed With Whole Grains

A hen eating homemade soy-free corn-free chicken feed with whole grains

Garden Betty's homemade whole grain chicken feed just got better. This new recipe is corn-free (as well as soy-free) and makes the perfect feed for your favorite layers.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 4 cups oat groats
  • 4 cups black oil sunflower seeds
  • 4 cups hard red wheat berries
  • 2 cups soft white wheat berries
  • 2 cups triticale berries
  • 2 cups rye berries
  • 2 cups millet
  • 2 cups sesame seeds
  • 1 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup brewer’s yeast
  • 1/4 cup kelp granules
  • Free-choice oyster shells (or crushed eggshells)
  • Free-choice grit


  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the oyster shells and grit, in a small bucket.
  2. Fill your feeder with the mixed-grain feed, or store the feed in a pet food container or a galvanized steel bucket with a lid.
  3. Offer the oyster shells and grit in separate small feeders for your chickens to eat as they wish.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

This post updated from an article that originally appeared on April 15, 2013.

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Kristen Eilerts
    March 20, 2023 at 9:32 am

    Can I feed this to chicks or do I need to do something special for them?

  • kay
    February 10, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    Yours is the only source I’ve been able to find that states that raw lentils are safe for chickens.

  • Patricia slayer
    January 31, 2023 at 1:41 pm

    Hi while my chickens molt can I still use this feed?

  • Irene
    January 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    What kind of brewer’s yeast do you use? Does it specifically need to for hens?

  • MeaganP
    September 22, 2022 at 6:37 am

    We used your calculator to make a variation of this recipe since there are a couple things we cannot get. My chickens are all from April and May hatches. They STILL are not laying. They’ve been on this feed since 10weeks or so and the couple chicken owners I know are saying it’s due to corn/soy free food. I know this isn’t true as I know people who do corn/soy free but they switched to it when their chickens were already laying. Does it just take a bit longer for these birds to lay?

  • Lauren
    August 17, 2022 at 4:38 am

    Hi we’ve recently got some chickens and currently feeding them a soy free feed from the a pet and farm shop. I’m definitely looking to swap to your recipe but I wanted to ask if you feed your ladies fresh fruit, veg and food scraps and if this would affect getting soy free eggs. Thank you Lauren.

  • Erika
    August 16, 2022 at 7:56 am

    Hi! I’m so excited to try this recipe with my girls! I have a question- how many birds does your recipe feed and for how long? Thanks

  • Jocelyn Kessinger
    August 14, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Hi I was wondering if you could give a nutritional breakdown of this recipe? I am getting into making my own feed (also fermenting it) and using your spreadsheet I am finding that most combinations of ingredients that I have access to locally (Midwest) end up with a very high fat content. I am currently feeding all of my birds (chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese) Nutrena all flock feed so I am trying to get close to the protein and fat content in that feed. When I first started keeping chickens I lost a few hens to fatty liver (a necropsy was done) from over feeding scratch grains (before I knew better), so I am really cautious about feeding them too much fat. Is there something different about how the body processes the fat from whole grains vs pellets that would make high fat content ok? I am not against ordering ingredients online but part of my reason for doing this is to save some money on feed and a lot of the ingredients that I can’t get locally are the considerably more expensive ones. Thank you so much!

  • Heather
    June 29, 2022 at 11:38 am

    I would love to figure out how to make this gluten-free/adapt it. I know I’ve seen a recipe that did not give ratios but suggested (along with oat groats or similar):
    Split Peas
    Course ground Pinto Beans or Lima Beans or Black-eyed Peas
    Okra Seeds
    Sparingly Brown Rice and White Rice
    White Millet
    Any ancient grains

    Any thoughts on making your recipe so it is gluten-free?

    • jess
      March 7, 2023 at 2:22 pm

      any luck?

  • Carley peterson
    May 25, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    What would be the best black oil sunflower seed replacement? Organic non gmo seeds have gotten very expensive due to microgreens.

    • Linda Ly
      May 26, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      You can use any sunflower seeds available (striped sunflower seed is pretty common where I am, but any variety will work).

  • MeaganP
    April 21, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Can you use nutritional yeast instead of brewers?

    • Linda Ly
      April 27, 2022 at 2:36 pm

      Yes you can, they just have slightly different nutrient profiles.

  • ramona heitt
    April 3, 2022 at 4:04 pm

    I cannot find any type of triticale anywhere online or local in Oklahoma. 🙁 Is there an alternative? Thank you for this recipe!

    • Linda Ly
      April 27, 2022 at 3:06 pm

      You can substitute any seed or grain in its place, as long as the final protein content is similar.

  • Meagan
    March 18, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    I scrolled quite a bit but couldnt find what I was looking for and there isnt a search feature for the comments. This is going ot be our first year with chickens. My son is allergic to corn and soy thus the need for corn free soy free feed as he reacts to any animal products that have consumed them. Anyways how do I adjust this for Chicks? I do have. grain mill. SHould I mill it all down?

    • Stephanie
      February 24, 2023 at 10:54 am

      My son is also allergic to animal products with soy and corn. Did you end up milking it down?

      • Meagan
        March 24, 2023 at 12:08 pm

        I didnt this time but I will next time. Azure has a corn free soy free starter feed were doing for our chicks this spring. Next Ill just mill it a bit since thats all the Azure brand did.

  • Sara
    March 4, 2022 at 10:52 am

    How do I make this work as a starter feed for my baby chicks??? Also I have a son who has Celiacs and is super sensitive to wheat and gluten. How can I make this wheat-free as well?? Please help!! Thank you!

    • Nicole
      July 5, 2022 at 7:38 am

      I’m going into year 3 with chickens and in the case of an allergy, I recommend avoiding the wheat berries, and exchanging them with other seeds (hemp, flax, chia) or foods. My birds free range daily and I supplement with insects, which delivers a higher protein content. If chickens are not free ranging or at least have access to new grass and soil, they will suffer, and that is especially true if they are not given a diverse grain supplement. I encourage my flock to free range by limiting food until mid afternoon/early evening and also by not overfeeding, and they have done very well. Our yolks are beautiful golden yellow/orange.

      • Patricia slayer
        January 31, 2023 at 1:39 pm

        Hi while my chickens are molting can I still use this feed?

  • carley
    September 17, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    What would you use in replacement of Sesame Seeds?

  • Sarah Young
    September 11, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    How do you I figure out the weight of the ingredients? I need to adjust the protein % in the recipe and not sure how to do that using the calculator?

  • Chelsea Kissiah
    July 11, 2021 at 7:59 am

    Hi! This may seem like a ridiculous question, but my son has an allergy to sesame seeds. I wonder if I feed them to my chickens if it’ll affect him in any way while eating the eggs? Would there be a substitute for it just in case my paranoid self would want to omit that ingredient? Any advice from anyone would be helpful!

    Thanks so much!

  • Rachel
    March 31, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    When using the calculator how do I know before hand how much a cup of each grain/pea/ whatever weighs?

  • ingrid
    March 15, 2021 at 6:56 am

    Thank you so much Linda Ly for these amazing gifts of information and resources. I saw you comments on the original recipe for chick starter feed alterations. Do you currently have a go to recipe now that you have changed some of your grain preferences?

    • ingrid
      March 15, 2021 at 7:55 am

      Do you know anything about using Fertrell fish meal?

  • Ruby
    March 14, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Is there a gluten free version for this recipe?

  • Benjamin Boven
    November 20, 2020 at 10:19 am

    These recipes would be much more helpful with weights instead of cups. I like your recipe but I’m going to find a different blog that uses ounces or grams of ingredients because that’s how amounts are listed on the bags of food from Azure that I’m pricing out. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to price your recipe out because a cup of wheat weighs differently than a cup of the and I’m buying these bags by WEIGHT NOT CUPS. Also the amount of friggin’ pop ups even as I type this is INSANE. I’m gonna pass on your whole thing you got going here. Hope you sell some walgreens prescriptions for the Machine.

    • Troy Mitchell
      April 19, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      I actually modified the calculator to use basic units. So it could be 1 pound, tub or whatever unit you want. It works great now.

      • Mallory
        June 18, 2022 at 8:35 am

        Simple solution, thanks!

  • Lauren White
    October 10, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    What would you estimate the cost would be per month for your homemade feed? and how many chickens do you have? Do they free range as well? We have 5 chickens but no place for them to free-range. Right now It takes them about a month to go through a 50lb bag of organic layer crumbles that I get at Costco for $25. I just hate that it has the soy in it.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      November 15, 2020 at 2:21 am

      Hi Lauren, I buy all the ingredients in bulk so it’s hard for me to determine how much their feed costs per month (as I only bulk order once every few months). But in my original post at I calculated that the homemade feed runs around 69 cents per pound, and that’s still accurate (give or take a few cents depending on time of year and availability).

      I don’t think you can ever get as cheap as Costco’s prices, but it’s also not a fair comparison since the Costco feed is crumbles, and my recipe is whole grains and seeds (that are mostly human-grade, so you could use the same ingredients for yourself).

  • Linda Armstrong
    August 10, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Hi Linda – Have you ever created a recipe for meat chickens? Just wondering what would be different. And also what about chick starter? Thanks.

  • Shrub.
    April 2, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Hello! Do you know the vitamin/mineral content of this recipe? Our chickens free range, so I’m sure this would likely be balanced enough for them. I would just like to know how close to being completely balanced it is, as I don’t want them to miss out on any nutrients. More importantly, I ask for our blind rooster. He pretty much just eats feed, since he can’t see to forage and catch bugs. It’s super important to me that I provide him with all the nutrients he needs because of that. I want to add in some bugs and possibly dried greens for him since he can’t get them on his own. Do you know which bugs and greens would be best and how much? Would I also add the bugs and greens into the calculator for the overall protein content? I’m leaning towards probably not, since you don’t add in all the greens/bugs the free ranging chickens eat. I know this is layer feed, but would this work for roosters as well? I read somewhere that the excess calcium in layer feed for hens is damaging to a roosters body since they don’t need it. I know it’s a lot of questions but any advice you have would be great! Thank you!

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      April 30, 2020 at 4:12 am

      Hi, I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can.

      1) I do not know the exact vitamin/mineral content of this recipe. If you’re worried that your chickens or rooster might pick out grains and not get a balanced meal (even with all of their foraging), you can add Fertrell’s Nutri-Balancer supplement to the feed (per the amount they give in their package directions).

      2) As far as bugs, my flock normally goes for grubs, grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, fig beetles, worms… whatever they find in the yard. I have them “clean up” my garden at the beginning and end of every season, they’re exceptional at turning over compost and mulch. Occasionally, I toss out dried mealworms or dried black soldier fly larvae as a treat. I do NOT add bugs to their feed because I don’t want to overdo it on the protein.

      3) As far as greens, almost anything is good in moderation. (Keep in mind I don’t live in an area that has a lot of wild plants with questionable toxicity levels. I just have normal weeds, garden greens, and kitchen scraps.) The chickens definitely do have their preferences sometimes, but they always love cabbage, kale, lettuce, the wilted tops from my root vegetables, dandelions, clover, sorrel… these last few are just weeds I pull from my yard.

      4) No, I do not calculate the bugs or greens into my overall protein content. It’s just impossible to do a nutritional analysis if they’re given free range, plus you really don’t know how much of each thing each chicken eats anyway. I approach it from a holistic view — the chickens will naturally eat or not eat what they want/need.

      5) I’ve never raised roosters so I can’t tell you if my layer feed recipe would be appropriate for your rooster. If you know how much protein he needs, you can use my feed calculator to formulate a different feed. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of farms keeping separate feeders for chickens vs. roosters? In any case, my recipe does not include calcium in the grains. I give oyster shells free choice (in a separate feeder) so my chickens can take what they need (and they do, in various amounts throughout the year).

  • Lisa
    March 28, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Hi, thankyou for all the information! I am on an elimination diet to find what I am allergic to so it recently became very important to know exactly what I was feeding my chickens. I decided to go with your recipe of soy and corn free and placed an order with azure. I am wondering how much of this would you give daily to just 2 laying hens? Since I am used to just throwing them pellets and not worrying about the cost if it is wasted

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      April 30, 2020 at 3:49 am

      Do your chickens forage for greens on their own as well? Or will this feed be their only food? You could start with 1 heaping cup and see how long it takes them to finish it, then give 1 more cup if they really chow down.

  • Krystal M French
    March 23, 2020 at 12:27 am

    Hi there, so I am getting ready to get a couple chickens next week and am trying to get all the ingredients needed, I was going to make the food without corn, but Azure doesn’t seem to have Triticale? Is there something else I can substitute instead? You also said you go to Winco, is it cheaper to get most of the bulk grains here?

  • Tammy Stuart
    September 17, 2019 at 2:32 am

    I have been feeding your recipe to my chickens. First of all they LOVE it. Unfortunately no one is laying very much. Can you give me some insight? Thank you, tammy

  • Nancy Jacques Barratt
    June 19, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    I am needing to recalculate my layer feed protein.

    I order quite a few things from Azure standard and they list the protein count and the serving size. So for instance
    Hard Red Wheat berries 1/4 cup contains 7g of protein
    Oat Groats 1/4 cup contains 7g protein
    Millet 1/2cup contains 11g protein
    Rye 1/4c contains 4g of protein
    Milo 1cup contains 21.7g of protein (the human grade milo lists that however they don’t list it for the feed milo – I am guessing it’s the same protein count as the human grade milo)

    Double checking: the “crude protein count” be based on the full 1 cup measurement correct?

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      August 4, 2019 at 11:44 pm

      The crude protein content (expressed as a percentage) is not the same value as the protein found on a nutritional label. Azure Standard shows the crude protein content for some of their grains, but often times this information is better found from the mill that processed the grains.

    • Katie
      July 5, 2023 at 1:02 pm

      Hey Nancy! I am here wondering how you ended up figuring this out too. My hens are loving the feed I am making, which has quite a few things from Azure as well, and I do use Garden Betty’s (thanks Linda!) calculator, but have had to rely on my husband’s excel expertise to get my own items added (such as azure’s chicken wheat and azure’s animal peas). I want to make sure I am getting it right, too. So far we have 2 active layers with beautiful eggs but we’ve had a couple soft eggs which I think is normal. So I do think they are doing okay (we supplement oyster). My biggest concern was that the azure chicken wheat is a range of protein, and the range was pretty wide. That gave me a bit of anxiety. Since it summer and they are free ranging and get bugs and also supplemental BOSS and grubs, I assume they are okay (we did have one sick hen and been dealing with her but I think it was bacterial), but the Type A in me wants to make sure the protein percentage in their diet is totally correct.

  • Tracy
    February 7, 2018 at 4:22 am

    I just wanted to give an update on the importance of looking at the fat % column when calculating our own feed. This never occurred to me to look at fat as an important factor as well. No more sunflower seed, sesame seeds, flax etc will be going into my chicken’s feed. I am so saddened to say that all I was looking at was the protein column to match the pellet form of chicken feed out there and not looking at the fat content. Needless to say I learned a very important sad lesson that I hope all of you consider when calculating your own feed. Please keep the fat content similar to the other chicken feeds out there, around 3%. My poor chickens were eating around 7-8%. My head chicken always got to eat first being the top chicken and most likely was filtering through the feed to get to the fatty seeds. Sadly one of my hens had surgery today only to find out that her sagging abdomen is because of massive amounts of fat in her body. Her stomach was so stretched from fat that the vet had to put sutures in her stomach and we hope that it hold without a hernia and also that she does not have a fatty liver syndrome…. I would like to say that making your own whole grain feed is great but at the end of the day we are not specialized in nutrition to know all of this. If I would have known sooner to look at the fat column of my feed this all could have been avoided. I feel like this is all of my own fault and hope everyone out here researches this component of the chicken calculator in the future.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      February 28, 2018 at 12:12 am

      So sorry to hear about your hen; I hope she recovers. This is such a good reminder to pay attention to our flock’s eating habits! And especially in winter, we have to make sure we give them plenty of opportunities for exercise and entertainment.

      • Tracy
        February 28, 2018 at 1:23 am

        Hi Linda, Thank you for the response. She has recovered nicely and I I now have them currently on a organic non gmo, no corn, no soy crumble to get things back on track for weight loss. She is a big bird, marans and yes I pay complete attention to my flock’s eating habits. I have a grandpa’s feeder and a webcam in my coop to watch everyone. This does not help though to see who was specifically eating and picking out specific pieces of the diet. My chickens are also free range in my yard so they have plenty of opportunities to roam around. They are around 4 so obviously their metabolism slows down. I would very much like to go back to making their own diet but I really do not know how I can get around picking out what they want. I suppose I could cut out all of the high fat choices. They did eat the lentils really well only a particular middle eastern orange small lentil. They did not like the larger lentils nor did they like the peas. Lentils are high in protein so I could probably keep the protein high and hopefully lower the fat… Any suggestions?

        • Linda from Garden Betty
          March 1, 2018 at 7:07 am

          Unfortunately, with a whole grain mix, there’s no way you can keep chickens from picking out their favorites. At the same time, it also helps you figure out what they DON’T like, so you can make adjustments as needed. I find that mine alter their diet naturally depending on the season, so they want more protein during molting season (I add various legumes for that, and sometimes hemp seeds or amaranth seeds) and more fat during winter (when I give them cracked corn as an occasional treat).

        • jpeters
          April 13, 2020 at 3:34 am

          Tracy, does this mean that their diet was previously NOT non-GMO feed? If so, that is more likely the reason for the fat bird. I am no veterinary dietitian, but I am an expert on human physiology and nutrition; and in humans at least, dietary fats aren’t a real contributor to body fat. Low-quality/high-glycemic carbs are what humans need to watch out for….and processed foods which strip the natural nutritional value from the raw materials. If their prior feed was low quality, that may have been the real issue. Likewise, GMO feed could have been creating any number of issues. I have no reason to believe a chicken metabolizes fats drastically differently from humans…but again, not a chicken dietitian.

          • ingrid
            March 15, 2021 at 7:08 am

            I was going to say the same thing. For many decades people have been told that dietary fat is to blame for body fat imbalances. But this is not the case for humans, as we can clearly see for multi millennia of traditional diets. In our modern food system it is really the quality of lipids “fats” sugars, and grains that have contributed to the health crisis we see today. Industrially processed vegetable oils for example are not the lipids our bodies are looking for, nor are industrially processed or GMO grains. I don’t know either how this translates to chickens in this case who are eating whole grains, but I would certainly look for dietary toxins and quality.

    • Pam
      May 5, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      I would reduce the high fat seeds to just one type per batch. And increase one or two of the grains to help compensate the volume. I’ve also read where it’s ok to give the birds a higher protein level for egg laying, like 35%. Fat birds have difficulty laying eggs.

  • MJ
    January 21, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    I use mixed sprout-able grains and sprout them for 5 to 7 days. It lasts a heck of a lot longer than feeding dry foods and they get more out of it. I don’t bother with the kelp and yeast, honestly would they find that naturally? No, but they get plenty of bugs in the summer and I have bushes with bird berries on in the winter so they get all they need and are super healthy. My fodder (sprouting) station crapped out on me so I must re-build come spring (ok ok I broke it) so I was looking into a dry seed mix. I’ll still try to sprout it if I can find a spot that is warm enough… kitchen window if my hubby doesn’t complain too much LOL, but for right now they are eating barly, shells, and old bread (found out I can’t eat wheat anymore so got lots of flour I don’t know what to do with.)

  • Tanya Ploss
    September 23, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I have been using a version of this recipe for my chickens for a while now and had to leave out kelp and brewers yeast now I have nutritional yeast, I have asked about we’re to find. Anyway I am now doing this for my goats. My question is the recipe calls for or the yeast witch I can only find nutritional yeast around here. I thought it all went together but read the forum saying you don’t ferment it with the other stuff so then how much would I add say per cup of feed

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      November 9, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      Yes, nutritional yeast can be substituted for brewers yeast. I do not ferment any feed that contains the yeasts (for reasons I explained in this post: ) and if you DO ferment, you don’t need to add brewers/nutritional yeast after the fact, as there are plenty of nutritional gains from the fermentation alone. If you did NOT ferment your feed, then the yeast can just be mixed in with the other grains and seeds per my recipe. (By the way, you mentioned feeding this to your goats, so I’ll assume you did your research on whether it’s an appropriate feed for them — I am unfamiliar in this area.)

  • Colby
    August 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Adding Fermentation element? I love your site and information. Thanks. I’m using your non-corn recipe for my 7 chickens. I took another step and am fermenting the mix. They LOVE it. They start squawking for it about 11:00a.m. every day now. I hope I’m not turning them into alcoholics. Two questions: The mixture smells like a fresh fermentation, but it does have a white layer across the top which I stir in. Can I assume that is yeast, not mold? And second question is should I mix in the kelp granules, too? I’ve just been adding them as I serve the fermented blend since they aren’t seeds. Would love your feedback.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      September 3, 2017 at 6:04 am

      The white film is harmless kahm yeast and can be stirred back in. I also go ahead and ferment the kelp granules as well. The only ingredient I DON’T ferment is the brewer’s yeast (which I explain in my fermented feed post here:

      • Tanya Ploss
        September 13, 2017 at 2:20 pm

        I have been using a version of this recipe for my chickens for a while now and had to leave out kelp and brewers yeast now I have nutritional yeast didnt know they were the same thing apparently niether did others I have asked about we’re to find. Anyway I am now doing this for my goats. My question is the recipe calls for or the yeast witch I now have I thought it all went together but read the forum saying you don’t ferment it with the other stuff so then how much would I add say per cup of feed

  • Kathryn Walters
    August 24, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Silly question .. but where it says wild rice … is that uncooked? I’ve seen some people saying they cook the rice but I originally thought uncooked.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      September 3, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Yes, all the ingredients are uncooked/raw.

      However… It is perfectly fine to feed your chickens cooked rice (or oats, split peas, etc.) if you have leftovers from your own meals!

  • Connie Nicholson
    August 23, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    i recently started mixing your recipe and my hens seem to love it! Their stools have mostly firmed up, they had watery stools often on Purina organic layer feed. Temps have cooled down also, however. Am still working up courage to try fermented feed. I think I need to get used to the recipe first.

    A couple of questions:

    Is there a reason you feed whole sunflower seeds? Cost, nutrition?

    Where did you buy the feeder that is in your photo on the recipe page?

    Thank you for your site and for the recipe!

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      September 3, 2017 at 5:50 am

      I feed black oil sunflower seeds because of the higher oil content (which is great for their feathers), and because they’re readily and cheaply available from my local feed store. You can substitute other sunflower seeds if you wish, and I sometimes even just toss a couple of spent sunflower seed heads into the chicken run for them to snack on. (Tip: Grow sunflowers near the coop each summer and as the seeds drop, your chickens can do plenty of nutritious foraging!)

      The feeder I have is this one:

  • Nancy Jacques Barratt
    July 30, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Unfortunately Azure no longer carries Triticale. I coordinate an organic feed drop here in AZ where we get better prices on HRW, Rye, Oats etc. through Montana Flour and Grain.

    • Linda from Garden Betty
      August 6, 2017 at 7:34 am

      I just received an order of triticale recently, so to my knowledge, Azure still carries it but they do sell out occasionally. However, it’s always good to know an alternate source for bulk grains!

      • Nancy Jacques Barratt
        August 8, 2017 at 4:00 am

        wow, I just searched for Triticale on the Azure site and the only item was rolled triticale flakes or something like that.

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