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Finding non-medicated chicken feed

non medicated chicken feed


I've asked at least 3 separate feed store clerks if I could get my chicken feed non-medicated. Without exception each of them gave me a look as if I was asking them to break a law of physics.

I stopped asking and just took what they had to offer, and then some friends of ours who have a pastured livestock operation invited us to join their bulk chicken feed purchase.

A place called Sunrise Farm sells non-medicated feed for just a little more than the feed store prices. Anna's got the details of the high quality chicken feed ingredients over on our Avian Aqua Miser blog.



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It is really Good to see this site is still up and running and that your homestead is still growing. I have lost my hopes of growing food or raising animals for the next couple of years due to living in a home where i cannot do such things and the military service i think i am going to have to serve after high school in a couple of months. But hopefully one day i can have my own homestead.

Jalen

Comment by Jalen Mon Apr 9 19:47:32 2012

I have a peice of barren land on the side of my home. I had piled a bunch of grass clippings and leaves there last season. It recieves only like 3 or 4 hrs of sunlight. I was interested in growing some tolerant herbs like dandelions, chicory, or nettles there just to experiment with it a little. Do you think i'd have to amend the soil much? My soil is georgia clay.

I was also curious about cover crops. I had tried clover there last year but it sprouted and then all died shortly after. Its just hard clay there recieving little sunlight, it might not be worth it.

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Comment by Anonymous Mon Apr 9 19:51:47 2012

Jalen --- I'm sorry to hear you're going to have to put your dream on hold! Hopefully you can keep researching and maybe find space for a potted plant here and there to experiment with.

Anonymous --- What is your long term goal for the plot of land? In such heavy shade, I'd probably stick to shade tolerant berries (like gooseberries or currants), or perhaps turn it into a chicken pasture. Mushrooms would also be a good use for that space since they thrive on damp, shady areas. If it was my only space to grow vegetables, I might try lettuce and leafy greens (after amending the soil with a few years of cover crops).

Plants like dandelions, chicory, and nettles will probably grow there with little or no amendment. They're often grown for the purpose of amending the soil, a bit like a cover crop might be. That said, I think I'd look through the free ebook Managing Cover Crops Profitably and choose a designated cover crop that does well in partial shade and heavy clay. Maybe annual ryegrass or oats? Legumes are good for adding nitrogen to soil, but what you need is a lot of organic matter, so I'd stick to non-legumes at least at first.

Comment by anna Mon Apr 9 20:15:22 2012
That is Megan C! Cool! Did you also see Gabel?
Comment by Maggie Mon Apr 9 20:40:57 2012
Maggie --- It sure is! Gable was napping, so we didn't disturb him, but we did see lots of cute lambs and goat kids, which I'll post about soon. :-)
Comment by anna Mon Apr 9 20:53:46 2012
It's kinda of crazy to think that it costs MORE to get the feed that doesn't have something else ADDED to it. Shouldn't the feed with additives cost more? Sheesh...
Comment by Everett Tue Apr 10 10:19:37 2012

"Anonymous --- What is your long term goal for the plot of land? In such heavy shade, I'd probably stick to shade tolerant berries (like gooseberries or currants), or perhaps turn it into a chicken pasture. Mushrooms would also be a good use for that space since they thrive on damp, shady areas. If it was my only space to grow vegetables, I might try lettuce and leafy greens (after amending the soil with a few years of cover crops).

Plants like dandelions, chicory, and nettles will probably grow there with little or no amendment. They're often grown for the purpose of amending the soil, a bit like a cover crop might be. That said, I think I'd look through the free ebook Managing Cover Crops Profitably and choose a designated cover crop that does well in partial shade and heavy clay. Maybe annual ryegrass or oats? Legumes are good for adding nitrogen to soil, but what you need is a lot of organic matter, so I'd stick to non-legumes at least at first."

Response: I have no long term goals at all for the space. I was really wanting to grow nettles for their fibers and dandelions for salad. I didn't feel i could grow any type of vegetable since i hardly have any compost made for that hard soil. Also do you feel to sow cover crops that you mentioned, the soil has to be prepared by tilling or spreading compost on top? OR could i just hoe away the already growing weeds there and spread the seeds on top of the clay?

Thanks

Comment by Anonymous Tue Apr 10 13:07:18 2012

One of the ways in which the bio-industry is really screwing us all in the long run is the preventive use of drugs in animal feed.

Such (and other) misuse is linked to emerging resistance against antibiotics. This has been known since the 1950s.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Apr 10 14:11:52 2012

Everett --- I know! I think it's all about economies of scale. Medicated feed is what the majority wants, so it's easy to ship big masses of it to the feed stores for not much cash. You have to go to a specialty place to get non-medicated, so the extra labor involved in smaller orders costs more.

Anonymous --- If dandelions and nettles are your long term goals for the space, you might get away with not improving the soil at all. They'll slowly feed the soil for you.

For cover crops, you'll want to make sure all the perennials are dead. One easy way to do that is to lay down a very simple kill mulch --- cardboard with anything on top to hold it down (even rocks). In a few months, you can peel back the cardboard and toss the cover crop seeds directly on top of the bare ground.

Roland --- I know. It's a bit obscene that they sell medicated chicken feed to the general public. After all, if you keep your chickens in ethical conditions (which most backyard people would, if only so they don't have to smell manure), you don't need it!

Comment by anna Tue Apr 10 19:41:34 2012

We live in the Shenandoah Valley, therefore we are also lucky enough to live within the range of Sunrise! :) However we have always bought feed from Countryside, which is Organic and soy free. But it is quite a bit more expensive. I would love to hear you weigh in, Anna.

Also, I am surprised to hear that you couldn't get unmedicated feed. We can get it here through Rockingham Co-op and at the local feed store. Now it is making me wonder if it isn't really unmedicated... Oy!

Comment by Emily Tue Apr 10 20:11:52 2012
I did it, again! Please fix it!
Comment by Emily Tue Apr 10 20:44:19 2012

Emily --- Your feed is probably unmedicated unless you see a chemical expressly listed on the tag. I'm pretty sure medications have to be labelled in an easy to see fashion, so you shouldn't even have to search through the list of unreadable ingredients to pick it out --- it should be in bold above the ingredient list.

It's all about where you live when it comes to chicken feed options. We live in a rural, conservative area and are probably the only ones in the county who want non-medicated feed, so it's just not available. If we drove to the big city, we might have better luck, but we try to go there only once a month or less and haven't explored all of the options.

I'd love non-soy feed, and organic would be nice too, but there's a limit to how much I'm willing to pay for a non-local product. Now, if a farmer down the road started raising pigeon peas and mixing his own organic chicken feed, we'd pay top dollar for that!

Comment by anna Tue Apr 10 20:58:27 2012
Emily --- Fixed!
Comment by anna Tue Apr 10 21:01:29 2012
:)

Thank you for fixing it! I am a dunce.

We too live in a conservative rural area, but maybe not as conservative as I thought!

I LOVE your point about paying so much for feed that is so Incredibly not local.

We just ordered your waterers, I cannot wait! Along with everything else I am brooding some ducklings and they are making me crazy with their drinking habits! I am constantly reminded of your picture of the man dealing with the gross, pooled filled waterer. Don't worry that get lots and lots of time to splash around in deep water.

Also, I read somewhere that some type of berry or fruit was close to nutritionally complete for poultry? I cant remember the fruit or where I read it. Could it be gooseberry?

Thank you as always for your fabulous content.

Comment by Emily Tue Apr 10 22:46:41 2012

Emily --- You are not a dunce!

Thank so much for trying out our waterers! As long as you have water for them to play in (and it sounds like you do), your ducks should do great with our waterers. I've heard from several customers that our waterers made their duck care much easier.

(That's my father in the ad. :-) )

Not sure about a nutritionally complete berry for poultry. The trick is to get one that's high enough in protein. I've heard lots of good things about mulberries for chickens but am not sure if it would count as a complete food source. All of that said, chickens love fruit, so it's not a deal breaker if they're not getting complete nutrition from them --- they can eat the bugs that are attracted to the fruit and probably come out ahead!

Comment by anna Wed Apr 11 15:45:17 2012