Soybean meal is an inexpensive, readily-available ingredient in most chicken feed, made up of waste products from vegetable oil processing.
Also present are phytoestrogens, which mimic estrogen and may lead to decreased egg quality and cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
Triticale, which is a hybrid of wheat and rye, provides an effective carbon neutral crop that can be grown using no-till farming practices.
Soy-Free Whole Grains
An antibiotic- and soy-free diet will significantly enhance your chicken’s immunity and health, as well as improving digestion – soy can bind to intestinal linings, creating inflammation. By providing soy-free feed instead, this inflammation is reduced, leading to higher energy levels and more nutritious eggs for you!
Soy is a staple ingredient in commercial chicken feeds, yet is foreign to their natural habitat. Farmers utilize soy as protein-rich feed because it’s cheap and easily processed into usable forms for use as protein sources in animal diets.
As a healthy replacement to soy meal, field or split peas are excellent sources of protein that grow locally in the Pacific Northwest. Fish meal, blood meal or poultry byproduct meal also serve as protein sources in chicken diets; we advise using 10% or less as protein sources.
There are some organic feeds that contain soy, but there are also plenty that are soy-free – such as New Country Organics Corn-Free Layer Feed! If you want an option without soy, take a look at it today.
This product boasts at least 17% protein and is free from corn or soy ingredients, as well as organic field peas, kelp meal and organic alfalfa meal.
Soybeans contain natural antinutrients called lectins which can lead to intestinal inflammation. Switching out soybeans for other sources may help decrease this inflammation and improve digestion.
Alternative protein sources like fish meal, meat and bone meal, blood meal and poultry byproduct meal have proven successful in soy-free chicken feed formulation. As each has unique amino acid patterns compared to soybean meal, it is crucial that soy-free diets be monitored carefully in terms of nutritional balance in order to ensure there are no deficiencies present.
Soy protein is one of the cheapest proteins on the market, making up a large portion of most chicken feed and helping birds flourish during their peak laying cycle. Unfortunately, soy proteins may trigger allergies in some individuals.
Researchers speculate that soy-derived isoflavones could transfer to egg yolks and disrupt women’s hormone levels, altering future generations’ DNA as well as leading to health issues including endocrine abnormalities, cancer risk increases and weaker immunity systems.
There are alternatives to soy protein for poultry feed, including Country Organics’ soy-free grower chicken feed made of non-GMO field peas, wheat, barley and oats plus flaxseed, alfalfa and kelp. Feed it from 30 days old up until their first egg lays; available by the pound. Additionally, many local farmers’ markets across Texas offer soy-free eggs in various forms as well.
Many small-scale poultry producers opt not to feed soy meal due to health concerns for both chickens and humans, yet finding suitable substitutes has proven challenging.
Soybean meal is an integral component of poultry feed (constituting approximately 30%), as well as being used as an additive in vegetable oils, frozen desserts, meat & dairy alternatives, breads and soups.
One of the primary drawbacks to feeding soy is its potential to cause inflammation in the GI tract, leading to poor digestion and nutrition absorption. Furthermore, soy contains plant estrogens that mimic hormone estrogen production within the body resulting in reduced egg production and poorer quality eggshells.
Mark has been conducting experiments to find an adequate alternative to soy for his chickens without compromising nutrition. Currently he’s using a non-soy grower feed made with organic wheat, kelp and flaxseed supplemented by organic alfalfa and grit which his flock appears to be responding positively to. According to him they’re growing well and laying regularly!