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Chicken Feed - Organic Vs Non-GMO  RSS feed

 
Jade Crowley
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Location: Southeastern Colorado
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Greetings! So we are going on the Dave Ramsey plan (for the 3rd time now) and we need to cut the bills down, one of the major expenses on we have is the chicken feed, right now I am part of a buying club and we are spending at least $100 a month on organic chicken feed, I have priced making my own and it would be more expensive so that is not an option. I am wondering if the organic is worth it or if I be ok switching them off to a non-gmo feed but not organic. I am also going to start the fodder system back up, but again that is $13-$16 a bag (non gmo barley) vs $33 a bag (organic barley). I am at a loss and I am really hoping to find the answers I am looking for here. Any input is very appreciated! I am also thinking about culling my flock down at the end of the summer, but I don't want to do that now because the bugs are coming out and I am counting on the birds to help keep the count down on them. Selling eggs also doesn't seem to be working very well because I am having problems finding people who want to pay $4 for a dozen eggs because around here people don't generally care about quality when they can go to wal-mart and get eggs for $2, and the people who do care already have a source they get eggs from. So anyway sorry for ranting I just don't know what to do! Thanks!
 
James Freyr
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Well, perhaps you might ask yourself what's important to you. My wife and I raise chickens and we buy organic ration for them because minimizing our exposure and intake of chemical traces is important to us. We eat chicken and eggs, and we've all heard the saying "you are what you eat" and it goes one step further, and if you're an omnivore, "you are what they eat". Eating healthy nourishing, nutrient dense food is at the top of the list of importance in our lives, everything else comes second beneath that. Human bodies make about 200 billion new cells every day, and it does that with the food we eat. Organics is not important to some and that's fine. Everybody has different priorities in life and I certainly don't want to tell people what to do. Hope this helps!
 
Andreas Schäfer
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I would say 100 USD for chickenfeed a month is a lot! How many chickens do you have? It seems you have either far more chickens than you need for your family, or you give them too much feed? I give my chickens every day some organic chickenfeed, but not too much. I also give them loads of greens and leftovers, and I try to let them freerange every day for some hours. I have three chickens and a rooster, I think I spend now about 100 euros per year on the chickenfeed (price is €27,50 for a 30kg bag).
 
Angelika Maier
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I wondered weather or not Aussie chicken feed non organic is GMO. I did not see organic around here. Otherwise I would go to a preferably organic bakerey to get day old bread to supplement.
 
Jade Crowley
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Location: Southeastern Colorado
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James - I feel the same way, I don't want to eat chemicals, I am so worried about chemicals I refuse to eat or drink from plastic, don't do makeup or anything like that, wont use normal beauty or cleaning products, I am beyond concerned about chemicals but I am wondering if I am at the point of letting perfect be the enemy of good on this. We have 28K in debt we need to pay off and we barely make more than that in a year. Its a tough decision.

Andreas - I have 30 chickens, 4 ducks and 2 peafowl. The peafowl are just for decoration really, a fellow homeschool mom gave me them for free so I took them, they don't eat much but they can't free range as they would end up dead or never come back. The chickens and ducks all free range but we just came out of winter so they had nothing to forage on since October or so. I feed them slightly less than 1/3 of a pound a day each, in summer I cut their feed in half because they have lots of bugs and weeds and grass to eat, but it still ends up being around $50-$60 a month in summer for feed for them. Like I said I am thinking we will have no choice but to cull down the flock at the end of the summer because I really don't need 30 chickens in the winter when they wont be laying much anyway. I do feed them all my kitchen scraps and feed less chicken feed when I do that. I think I can feed them 75% fodder and possibly save money that way but I have to get the fodder system up and running to test it out.

Angelika - I wish we had a bakery around here that was organic, but I have yet to find one. Here barley, milo and oats are not yet GMO so I would feed those instead of corn or soy because those are almost guaranteed to be GMO.
 
Burra Maluca
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With that much debt and that many chickens, producing eggs you can't sell, I think I would cull some now. 

The fewer mouths to feed, the further the bugs and grass and scraps will go, so the cost to keep each chicken will drop. 

The peafowl might be decorative, but do you really want them?  Or are they just white elephants?
 
James Freyr
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Jade- Yeah I totally get it and I do similar things like not drinking or eating from plastics, use non-toxic deodorant and sunscreen, and do house cleaning with vinegar and baking soda. I also have considered perfection and how it can be the enemy and I don't aim for it. I try to be realistic with my life and am about 95% good on eating organic and such. If I find myself being served a meal as a guest at someones house, I graciously eat it and thank even knowing it contains crap like GMO's. If I find myself dining out which is very rare, I use the harsh chemical soap in the mens room to wash my paws. If I tried to be perfect, I would go insane and become phobic in many areas and I don't want to waste brain space and thinking power over worrying. I've accepted that occasionally I will receive some chemical exposure. I wish I had advice for you regarding expenses and earnings but I am not a financial advisor and sort of wing it with my own finances. I am though curious as to how many pounds of feed $100 buys, like two 50lb bags? More, less? My wife and I pay 75 cents a pound for layer feed and fortunately for us her co-workers love the eggs and will pay $5/dozen. I bet there are some folks in your area that do care about quality food and will pay $4 or $5 a dozen for eggs if you can locate that demographic.

Edited for grammar
 
Dan Grubbs
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Don't know if my story helps you, but here goes ...

I was buying certified organic chicken feed for $30 per 40lb bag. To me that was expensive especially in light that the non-certified regular chicken feed was $19 per 50lb bag. I happen to be talking to a farmer who lives about an hour away but delivers CSA shares to where I have my day job. I was asking him where he buys his feed and he told me he produces his own and sells 18% chicken feed to any customer he can find. He grows his own grains, grinds his own chicken feed and adds the mineral compound that Salatin recommends. He sells his chicken feed to me for $52 per 200lbs ($13 per 50lb bag). I immediately switched to his feed. He's not certified, but I know how he grows crops and produce and livestock and it's beyond organic.

The lesson here I think is not settling for the feed store or the farm store and getting very active in looking for a locally produced chicken feed (Amish, Mennonite, etc.). I was talking to everyone who would listen or respond to messages and eventually I found a good source that didn't gouge me. I can't believe my situation is that unique or "lucky." A lot of people have picked up feed grinders from auction sales and have put them back into working order. All it takes is finding one not too far from you.

Our town's feed store was shipping in chicken feed from about 300 miles away. I don't think that's smart for me to support that even if my local producer sold it to me for the same price. It's one thing to know whether it's non-GMO or certified organic, it's also important to know where the feed is coming from that made it to your feed store or farm store.

I guess I'm just saying to keep looking and not settle for what is in the stores.  In fact, I'm thinking of buying in large bulk wholesale from my source and selling retail to chicken fanciers and small producers in our metro area and clear a profit while still undercut the certified organic price.
 
Alfrun Unndis
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I ferment my feed which is supposed to increase available nutrition and therefore decrease consumption.  Also sprouting seeds increases bulk and some say nutrition too. Then there is sprouting and then fermenting. All  methods require a bit more time and planning (but not much) on the human’s part. There are many videos available on both methods (youtube of course). Folks use fermentation on store bought feed and if the feed has whole seeds try sprouting some. If the birds eat less and get the same nutrition you might be able to keep the organic and not pay more than gmo/pesticide stuff. Keep your principles and not pay high prices.
 
James Freyr
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Dan- I wish I knew of someone like that in my area. That's a *really* good price. I myself don't require or need anything to be certified organic as along as I know the farmers don't use toxic chemicals, but have been unable to find such a source for chicken feed. (on a side note, my wife and I did go to a non-certified organic farm and picked our own strawberries last week for about half the price of the certified pick-your-own farm across town) Most everything around here is certified. I get my chicken feed from my neighbor who raises way more chickens than I do and he buys feed a half-ton at a time from a certified mill in southern kentucky and sells it to me for what he pays (75 cents/lb), and the mill buys the grains from the local mennonites who have certified farms.
 
Jade Crowley
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Location: Southeastern Colorado
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Burra - I have thought about that a lot, but we have hoards of grasshoppers, like biblical type swarms in the summer and my birds are the only defense I have so I would hate to cull them and regret it when the grasshoppers are back in a month. But yes, culling is something that needs to happen, especially because some of my flock is pushing 3 years old now.

James - Yeah I made myself crazy aiming for perfect, I had to lay off and stop. I work at a trick riding school for the month of march and eat crap everyday because I have no choice, they serve "salad" daily which is usually a marshmallow and jello with whip creme concoction and the cookies are delicious but by the end of the 1st week I feel it, by the end of the month I am glad I have 11 months to recover before the next round, but the job is amazing so I can't turn in down. I try to eat a huge breakfast so that I can eat a small lunch and make through the day so I can go home and eat a good dinner.

I am getting 800 pounds for $220 which works out to $27.50 per 50# bag, so not a terrible price but its a lot of money in the winter when they eat at least a bag a week. I need to work harder on getting the eggs sold, the raw milk farm I get milk from sells them for $7.50 a dozen ( I only ask $4) so I know there is a market somewhere for them I just need to find it.

Dan - I never thought about that, we have a huge Amish community about an hour and a half away, I will see if I can dig up some info on them, I buy my hay from them because its the best hay hands down in the state, I will look into that!! Thanks for the suggestion!

Alfrun - I had been fermenting half of their daily feed ration, the peafowl don't like it but the chickens and ducks thought it was the best thing ever, is it ok to feed them all fermented feed? I assume it would be, and I just cut them down to only 1 feeding a day because the bugs are coming out and they can forage right now. The feed I get is kinda flaky for lack of a better term and they wasted a lot of it so I fermented it so that it would stick together and the little bits wouldn't get left behind in the feeders. I will get this going again first thing in the morning.

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the feedback and suggestions!
 
Alfrun Unndis
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is it ok to feed them all fermented feed?

I’m not sure what you meant so…
I only have chickens so I don’t know about fermented feed and other fowl.

I ferment all my feed and never feed unfermented feed. But I also give the chickens sprouts, scraps (kitchen and garden) and then they also forage.

I’ve considered raising larvae for the frozen months but larvae just smell really bad to me. Makes me wish I had a warm out building where I could hold my nose, they are so nutritious and delicious.

Good luck on your quest.
 
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