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Organic Chicken Feed
If you are raising poultry and you want completely organic eggs and meat then you will need to use an organic chicken feed. Like most organics it is more expensive than the conventional varieties, and may be harder to find. These challenges are worth overcoming to many small farmers and backyard hobbyists.
When it comes to organic feed you actually have a couple of options; buying commercially prepared, organic feed or making your own feed. There are drawbacks and benefits to both choices.
Commercial Organic Poultry Feeds
All Natural and Certified Organic feeds are not the same.
Certified Organic Chicken Feed
Certified organic feeds must be certified by the USDA and everything that goes in them must be certified as well. Organic chicken feed will not contain any of the following:
- Animal by products
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
- Pesticide treated grains
- Grains grown with chemical fertilizers
- Synthetic amino acids
For truly organically raised chickens, you must keep them on organic pasture as well.
All Natural Chicken Feed
All natural feed is not the same. It does not have the same requirements as certified organic feeds. For some people, all natural is acceptable because it is usually less expensive and often easier to get.
- All natural chicken feed does not contain:
- Coloring agents
The ingredients in all natural products might not be organically grown, however, and may have been treated with chemicals and pesticides.
Sources for Organic Feed
- Countryside Naturals has several 100 percent organic products from chicken feed to chicken scratch. You can buy your organic feed by the fifty pound bag and have it shipped. Prices are excellent but shipping may be expensive.
- The National Sustainable Agricultural Information Service has an interactive tool that allows you to add your location and the type of feed you are looking for and then pulls up various suppliers in your area.
- Lions Grip has a listing of organic feed suppliers by state.
You can also check with your local feed store. Many of them will order in organic feeds if you will buy enough of it. Since many people don't use organic feeds it is often not worth it to the local feed stores to carry them. Be sure that they know you want 100 percent certified organic and not all natural feed. Many store owners are not fully aware of the difference.
How to Make Organic Homemade Feed
Homemade Organic Chicken Feed
Another option is making your own chicken feed. This is very do-able, especially if you chickens and other poultry are on pasture as well. Chickens will eat a lot of grass and vegetation so pastured raised poultry generally won't need a lot of extra nutrients.
Some people feel that there are disadvantages to fish and soy meal in homemade feed. Some people feel that soy products, with their heavy concentration of phyto-estrogens are not healthy. Fish meal may be high in mercury. You will need to decide whether or not you will add these things to your flock's diet.
Homemade Poultry Feed Mix
In order for this mix to be organic every grain and every seed must be organic, too. You won't find organic kelp or oyster shell but that is o.k.
- 2 parts whole corn
- 3 parts soft white wheat
- 3 parts hard red winter wheat
- ½ part Diatomaceous Earth
- 1 part hulled barley
- 1 part oat groats
- 2 part sunflower seeds
- ½ part peanuts
- 3 parts millet
- 1 part wheat bran
- 1 part split peas
- 1 part lentils
- 1 part quinoa
- 1 part sesame seeds
- 1/2 part flax seeds
- 1/2 part kelp
Raising chickens on organic feed is one of the benefits of having your own chickens. You can produce organic eggs at a fraction of the price of those you can buy. If you are mixing your own feed it will be more fresh, and you will know what is in it.