Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mixing Poultry Feed For YOUR Health

You are what you eat, and recently we have heard from more and more people who, for a wide variety of reasons, want to customize what their flock is eating. Perhaps it’s a desire to limit exposure to chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics or soy... or perhaps it is over concerns of GMO (genetically modified organisms) like GMO corn. Maybe you just have a desire to feed your flock in a purely organic manner - - or maybe you really haven’t given it any thought but you’re still reading just for the heck of it… 

Whatever your reasons, if you have a small flock, and not a lot of extra money to spend, mixing your own feed can present some challenges. All too often feed stores either don’t carry what you want, or if they do carry it, you have to buy a minimum of 50 lbs. (and that’s just for one of your multiple ingredients!)

Well – don’t give up just yet. If this is the rout you want to go to feed your flock, there are ways to do it within a budget!

Here are some ideas to start you out:

Create a feed co-op or club. Put an ad on Craig’s List and put flyers up at your local feed stores and at your local Farmer’s Market to find other people who want to mix their own feeds, too. You can also meet folks at local poultry swaps. By pooling your resources, you can buy the “ingredients” you want, and divvy them up proportionally between everyone in the group. Don't forget to check with folks who raise other livestock like horses, sheep, goats and cattle.

Local 4H Extension
Call your local 4H extension office and ask if they know where you can get what you are looking for. Very often they know of agricultural projects and local farms that may be growing organic grains.

Click Here to find your Local 4H Extension Office

Pound the Pavement
Take a drive. Wander your local farmlands and if you see certain crops growing that you're interested in, knock on the farmhouse door. Sure – the people might be a little surprised to see you, but they also might be very happy to sell you a little of what they have. You never know until you try!

The Internet
Find a poultry / livestock related forum (like Back Yard Chickens). Most states have their own “threads” on these forums – and this is a great place to find what you are looking for

BYC State Forums  
More Chicken Forums

Become the Supplier
And if you have a little extra cash and you have done your research and know what you are doing when it comes to mixing up feed – well heck – go ahead and buy all those 50 lb. bags, mix up a giant amount of feed, and sell it to others via Craig’s List, Local Farmer’s Market or on a forum. You know there are plenty of other people out there looking for this kind of feed if we’re writing about it here. Just check your state and local laws about selling this kind of product from your home. 

Can I Ferment My Organic Feed?
Yes! You certainly can, and we highly recommend fermenting your feed for the health of your chickens! See our Fermented Feed tab for more information.  

Happy Feeding!

Be sure to sign up for our Nu-Stock Giveaway (Ends 01/12/13)! Click HERE.

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