Soy-free feed can be very difficult to find and it can feel like the only solution is to make your own feed mixes. That is definitely an option. We have never made our own soy-free feed for the chickens. There are many recipes out there, for example:
There are several major mills that mix up soy-free feed blends. The one we use is from Modesto Mills. We were lucky enough to find some in our relatively local farm store.
There is a great thread on BackyardChickens.com regarding soy-free feed and alternatives for chickens.:
Below is an article that describes a bit of why we want to avoid feeding our chickens soy.
Soybean is a major ingredient in livestock feeds, with chicken feed containing the highest proportions. Almost half of the beans processed for livestock feed are for chicken feed. That’s because soybeans contain 38% protein, an essential nutrient for poultry.
If soy is such a prevalent and industry accepted ingredient in regular and organic chicken feed, why should we be worried? Much of it depends on your personal nutritional beliefs or needs. I’ll share with you the major concerns held by many food conscious folks, so you can make an informed decision for yourself about what to feed your chickens.
Originating in China, soybeans have been consumed by humans for thousands of years. It’s only been in the last century that the way we eat soy has changed dramatically. Fermentation is how soy was first prepared for eating. It was a side dish that complimented the rest of the meal. Raw soy is not fit for consumption and can be considered toxic. Today’s soy is processed in variety of methods (not fermented) which denatures the proteins and increases levels of carcinogens.
Soy is a prevalent ingredient in almost all processed foods. Those with a soy allergen (it’s one of the top eight food allergens for humans) know this best. It’s in fast-foods, baby food, processed meat, breads, etc. Unless you are very conscious of everything you eat, it is easy to consume an unregulated amount of soy products every day.
Perhaps you are not allergic to soy, here are some other findings that may be important to you. Soy is not a complete protein (as commonly believed), lacking some important amino acids. Soy foods can cause deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D. Soy increases levels of estrogen (possibly simulating the growth of related tumors) and decreases levels of testosterone. It has been related to pre-mature sexual development in females, and delayed development in males. Animal studies show soy foods causes infertility in animals.
Because soy is a prolific food allergen, the FDA requires it to be listed clearly as an ingredient in processed foods. At this time the FDA does not require meat, raised on soy feeds, to be disclosed. People highly allergic to soy are affected by this.
Soybean is the human choice for animal feed, thus covertly making it another avenue into our daily consumption of it. Chickens receive the highest level of exposure, and it is retained in their meat and eggs.