Saturday, 5 January 2013
Feeding chickens organically for less
The nutritional prowess of a good egg is something to behold so securing top quality, consistent, sustainable egg production from our hens is a priority for us here at Little Home In The Country. Since completing my Organic Master Gardner Course and researching more on the topic of genetically modified grains, it became an urgent priority to source local organic feed for our chickens.
Enter: John at Gold Forest Grains
We already purchase our organic heritage wheat from him and LOVE it. It makes nutritious, delicious bread and baked goods and we love that we are buying directly from his certified organic farm just a few miles down the road. I emailed John a few months ago asking if he had any organic grains available for feeding our chickens and this tote was the result of that conversation:
That tote pictured above contains a metric tonne of screenings. It's collected when the wheat is "cleaned" and screened in preparation for sale. Below is a peek at what it looks like inside the tote.
We also invested in a used 5HP feed mill (a few hundred dollars) to grind up the grains a bit to make more of the nutrition available to the hens. That ensures the highest nutritional bang for our feed buck. This Farm King mill is a workhorse that so far runs perfectly. Thanks also to John for referring us to this beauty that he found listed on kijiji.
Pictured below is the ground grain in the hen house hopper - quite fine compared to the original picture in the tote. Our hens love it and are eating 1/3 the quantity of it compared to the previous grain feed we were using AND they are laying double the eggs to boot! We have also made available a hopper of oyster shell for grit until Spring when our land defrosts and the snow melts.
If you keep chickens, I encourage you to find out who grows organic grain near you. See if you can purchase some wheat screenings for your hens. John apparently also uses screenings to feed his meat birds with equally excellent results.
I love how networking in our community can net such wonderful results. We'll be saving a good chunk of money on feed costs plus we no longer have to drive our suburban and trailer to pick up feed every few months, saving both fuel and time.
Thank you to John @ Gold Forest Grains.