I admit that although I try and raise my chickens as holistically and naturally as possible, I haven't been feeding them organic feed. They get Nutrena Layer Crumble into which I mix a bunch of other good stuff, including DE and probiotic powder, to make their Breakfast of Champion Layers. It does get a bit costly to purchase all the additives and then time-consuming to mix them into the feed, but I think it gives the bagged feed a nice boost.
All my chickens are healthy and happy and good layers, but organic feed is certainly something I have tossed around in my mind more than a few times over the years, although never really pursued it. That is, until now.
One of our local feed stores now carries the Nature's Best line of organic horse feed and said they could order some chicken feed for me if I wanted (find a Local Dealer near you).
So I started to research organic feed a bit and have decided to give it a try. After all, the healthier our chickens, the more nutritious their eggs. Organic farming uses natural methods such as crop rotation and vinegar, instead of traditional pesticides, herbicides or fungicides which really appeals to me.
In conjunction with my new-found decision, I would like to introduce you to our newest sponsor Nature's Best Organic Feeds. I am very excited to have them sponsor our blog since I know a lot of you DO feed your chickens organic feeds and Nature's Best is now available around the country at many feed stores.
Nature's Best is the brand of feed that Martha Stewart feeds her horses, donkeys, chickens and geese. I feel confident that she can afford to feed her animals the VERY best - and the fact that she has chosen Nature's Best Organic Feeds speaks volumes for the company.
~photo courtesy of marthastewart.com~
Nature's Best Organic Feeds graciously agreed to donate a bag of their organic chicken feed to my girls to try. The feed contains a mix of organic corn, wheat, oats and other grains, as well as Diatomaceous Earth, limestone and Probiotics, plus vitamins and minerals.
It is a bit more expensive than non-organic feeds but since it already has DE and probiotic powder in it, that will save me a bit of money since I won't have to purchase and add those supplements myself. Organic feed may look the same as non-organic feed, but is less likely to contain pesticide residue and is also higher in complete amino acids and antioxidants.
All incoming organic ingredients are tested for GMO’s and if they get a positive reading, Nature's Organics will reject those grains. This insures the customer is getting certified organic ingredients. No other process in the feed industry like organic certification traces the grains all the way back to farm and has paperwork to prove it. Nature's Organics will provide any of their customers with their Feed Mill Organic Certification and the Organic Certification for the Organic Feeds.
They proudly identify each bag of organic bag feeds with the USDA Organic symbol.
Nature's Best Organic Feed is part of Kreamer Feed, Inc., a family business located in Pennsylvania started by George Robinson in 1947 and now run by his children. They carry a full line of chicken feeds, for all stages of your chickens' life, including Starter, Grower/Developer, and Layer feeds, as well as Scratch Feed, Barley, Flax Seed, Oyster Shell and Granite Grit.
They have been making organic feeds for over 20 years and have extensive experience in manufacturing these products. They have their own poultry farms of organic broilers, organic turkeys and organic layers and the rations they recommend have been proven “down on the farm” before they ever sell these feeds to anyone else.
Nature's Best Organic Feeds recently sent me a bag of their layer pellets to try. I was eager to see the girls' thoughts on not only switching feed brands but switching from crumble to pellets.
The bag arrived and I opened it up, interested to see the difference in feel, smell and appearance from non-organic feeds. The difference was immediately visible. I could see little specks of all different color and texture grains. The feed smelled very fresh and almost like something I would pour into a bowl, cover with milk and eat myself. Almost....not quite, but almost !
But the real taste test was yet to come...the girls had to give it a try. I set up two identical feeders side by side, filled each with a different feed and let the girls at them. As you can see, it was pretty much a split decision ! I was actually very surprised that they would immediately take to a brand new feed - as well as the pellets, since they are used to crumble. But they dove right in. The ducks especially seemed to prefer the Nature's Best feed - I wonder if it contains some ingredients that they particularly like ?
In the end, about the same amount of both feeds was left. Although Praline couldn't resist going back for one more mouthful of the Nature's Best Organic Feed !
I love that the feed is organic since we're eating the girls' eggs and the more healthy they are, the better for our health also. I also love that the feed already contains DE and probiotic powder which would eliminate the need for me to add it separately. And the girls have spoken -well sort of !
The decision to feed organic feed or not is certainly a personal one for each chicken keeper. We each need to weigh the cost/convenience factor against the GMO/pesticide factor and decide what works for us, our flocks and our families. Nature's Best Organic Feeds certainly makes the decision alot easier.
Check out Nature's Best Organic Feeds for yourself. Their website has alot more information, including a complete ingredient list and list of distributors. Ask your local feed store if they can order some for you if they don't regularly carry it.
If you already feed organic feed or have been thinking about it.... and please consider Nature's Best Organic Feeds and tell them we sent you !