The majority of the organic grains we feed to our animals come from a mill in Virginia, New Country Organics. We have tried a lot of different organic and non-GMO brands of feed but we just keep going back to New Country. It’s all soy-free, it smells fresh, and you can actually see the whole grains. All the other brands I’ve seen only come in extruded pellets or crumbles and they smell rancid to me. The feed looks and smells very similar to the grain I buy to make bread with. In areas of the pasture or garden where the chickens have been we see new plants sprouting and growing from any feed that they missed. That is how I know this feed is good. It is still alive!
There is one feed store about 30 minutes away, Rucker Horse and Pet, that sells this feed. It costs easily double what the conventional brands of feed cost ($38-$42 for 50 lbs) and they don’t always have it in stock so we often have to pre-order to make sure we can get what we need. In a typical month (if there is such a thing) we buy around 500 lbs of feed for our chickens, rabbits, and goats. In the spring, when we have an extra 100-200 broiler chickens to feed, we need 500 lbs of feed every week. The most economical way we have found to get that much feed to the farm is to order directly from the mill. We save almost $10 per bag that way and we do not have to drive to the feed store. The only bad thing is, it is shipped on a pallet by semi. Someone has to be there to accept the delivery and they can only give us a 48 hour window of when to expect the truck. We do not have a loading dock or a forklift. Heck, we don’t even have much of a driveway. The trucker has to pull over on the side of the road and drop the pallet at the edge of the driveway. Then we get to break apart the pallet and load it bag by bag, 40 bags, into the back of my van and drive it around to the feed shed.
Today was our annual Spring feed delivery. I got the call this morning that the truck would be in our area some time this afternoon or evening. Unfortunately, Amanda was working all and I hurt my back a few days ago. So we had to beg our family members to come help move 2000 lbs of feed. Between Amanda’s husband Daniel, who is on Spring Break this week, and our dad, who just retired last week, they were able to move all 2000 lbs in just under 30 minutes. We are so grateful for their help!
This load of feed will feed our flock of broiler chickens from now until we butcher in about 8-10 weeks. That is going to be all of our family’s chicken for the entire year, plus a few extra to sell to friends and extended family. The chicks are coming from a hatchery and should arrive one day this week. Again, we are not sure exactly which day. We just have to be ready to drop everything and run to the post office as soon as they call.