How to formulate high-quality cheap chicken feeds at home

“Am a poultry farmer from Kisumu currently having 500 birds. I have followed all the guidelines from vaccination to feeding and they’ve been doing okay until last week when I realized a reduction in eggs, reduction in movement, and activity. The worst thing is that they have started to die and so far I have lost 15 birds. I’ve administered all the antibiotics recommended to me by the veterinarian with no change. Akhy please help am stressed up”


Poultry farming has become a lucrative business as it requires little starting capital and management skills. However, most have closed down in significant losses due to deaths caused by poor-quality feeds.

Animal feeds shops are mushrooming, providing products that are below standards—mixing up the feeds without having concern about the ratios or even the quality of the components. They know they might die, but as long as the farmer does not identify the relationship between the deaths and feeds, he knows they are safe.

Feeds Formulation

In this article, we are going to tackle the problem of “bad feeds.” Provide guidelines on cheap chicken feed formulation using available materials such as ground maize, wheat bran, wheat pollard, fish meal, soya meal, cotton seedcake, sunflower seedcake, and premixes.

It is good to note that the success of this formula purely depends on the accuracy and the quality of the materials. Test the feeds with a small number of animals before administering them gradually to the whole lot.

Sustainable production of eggs and meat depends on feeding as lack of water and feeds often reduces birds’ resistance to diseases and parasites, leading to deaths. The quality of feeds entirely depends on the quality and balance of the components, i.e., protein feeds, Energy feeds, minerals, and vitamins. These feeds are divided into three groups; Starter Feeds, Growers mash, and layers mash (kienyenji mash)

Energy feeds include;

Maize, white sorghum, millet, wheat, rice, and their by-products comprise about 75% responsible for dairy body maintenance.

Protein Feeds include;

Omena, Fish meal, Soya bean, Cotton seedcake, termites, insects, and worms comprise about 15-20% and are responsible for optimal growth, health, and production.

Minerals which include calcium and phosphorus in the ratio of 2:1 and aid in bone and egg formation

Vitamins like vitamins A and D usually come from fodder and green grass, whereas vitamin B may come from fresh cow dung, which is vital for the hatchability of the eggs.

Premixes Containing vitamins and minerals can also be purchased (check out expiry date)

Chick Mash Formulation (100kg) mix;
little chicks with their mother
  • Ground Maize-40kg
  • Wheat bran-10kg
  • Wheat Pollard-20kg
  • Soya bean meal/sunflower cake/cotton seedcake-18kg
  • Omena/ochong’a-9kg
  • Limestone-2kg
  • Common salt- 500gms
  • Methionine-500gms
  • Di-Calcium Phosphate -nil
  • Premix(mineral /vitamins)-nil
  • HCL Lysine-20gms
  • Coccidiostat-3gms
Growers Mash Formulation (100kg) mix;
  • Ground Maize -35kg
  • Wheat bran-10kg
  • Wheat Pollard -28kg
  • Soya bean meal/sunflower cake/cotton seedcake-15kg
  • Omena/ochong’a-7 kg
  • Limestone-4kg
  • Common salt-500gms
  • Methionine-nil
  • Di-Calcium Phosphate -nil
  • Premix(mineral /vitamins)- 300gms
  • HCL Lysine-nil
  • Coccidiostat-30gms
Layers Mash Formulation (100kg) mix;
  • Ground Maize 37kg
  • Wheat bran-4kg
  • Wheat Pollard-35kg
  • Soya bean meal/sunflower cake/cotton seedcake-9kg
  • Omena/ochong’a-8 kg
  • Limestone-6kg
  • Common salt-600gms
  • Methionine-20gms
  • Di-Calcium Phosphate -500gms
  • Premix(mineral /vitamins)-2kg
  • HCL Lysine -nil
  • Coccidiostat-nil

When it comes to commercial feeds, in most cases;

  • Chick mash contains high protein 19-20% fed to 1 day -8 weeks chicks
  • Growers mash contains medium protein 16-17% fed from 9 weeks up to the start of lay
  • Layers mash contains medium protein 15-17% offered to hens from the start of lay
Computing Category

On average, only 3 out of 10 feed brands in the market have the recommended 15-20% digestible crude protein. Out of these, two are adulterated.

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Where you Go Wrong as a farmer
  • The use of chick mash with di-calcium phosphate or premixes may lead to death.
  • Feeding layers mash to growing chicks before they start laying instead of growers mash or Growers mash to laying hens instead of layers mash is wrong. Even though they seem to have similar protein ratios, mineral ratios (Phosphorus and Calcium) are not the same. Layers mash has high calcium ratios and, if fed to chicks underage, can result in kidney damage, visceral gout, calcium deposits in the ureter, and death. Glower mash has low calcium and phosphorus, and this deficiency can cause the production of thin and soft-shelled eggs (with low hatchability), lameness, stiff legs, reduction in growth, leg bones appearing rubbery, and paralysis followed by death. These effects may also be experienced where the right feeds are fed to the right chicks but with poor calcium-phosphorus ratios and concentrations.
  • Feeding expired feeds. Do animal feeds expire? Yes, they do. Even though the energy and protein components of the feeds may not expire, the minerals and premixes may do if stored too long or under suboptimal conditions like high humidity and heat.
  • Feeding contaminated feeds. A product is only as good as its low materials. Most animal feeds vendors tend to use rotten maize and wheat with aflatoxin as it is cheap, readily available, and hard for the farmer to tell. Aflatoxin is associated with over 60% of the bird’s death at any stage, poor laying in layers, and poor feed-weight conversion rate in broilers.


Wangui, G. et al . (2010) Feeding indigenous chicken.Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organisation (KARLO)

INDEMNITY All technical advice and/or production guidelines given by FARMWORX.CO.KE or any of its personnel with reference to the use of the recommended products and services is based on the company’s best judgment. However, it must be expressly understood that FARMWORX.CO.KE does not assume responsibility for any advice given or for the results obtained as it depends on various agro-climate and soil conditions under which it is cultivated. and quality of matarials used which we do not have control of.

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4 responses to “How to formulate high-quality cheap chicken feeds at home”

  1. Emma wambui Avatar
    Emma wambui

    Very educative, i have learnt alot.

    1. Kelvin Wairimu Avatar

      Thank you.

  2. Simon mburu Avatar
    Simon mburu

    Am. Very glad to have you,umenifudicha vitunilikuwa nimetafuta mtu wakunielimicha nikakoza,
    Sasa nangoja njinsi ya chakula yangurue

  3. John Gitau Avatar
    John Gitau

    Good job Kelvin

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