“What do you feed your chickens?” This is a very common question that we are asked. I don’t blame anyone for asking, I would too. The answer to this question depends on what type of chickens you are talking about. Right now I am going to talk about what we feed our pasture-raised broilers, a.k.a meat birds.
Meat birds have definite nutritional requirements. Unlike laying hens that need a high protein diet until around sixteen weeks of age, meat birds need a high protein diet their entire lives. Since our chickens are raised on pasture they consume lots of grasses and bugs. We also give them a feed that is mixed for us following our own recipe. Our chickens receive no vaccinations and are never given antibiotics. Our custom feed contains probiotics.
Here is our recipe. This will make 1000 lb.
305 lb. cracked corn
305 lb. ground corn
150 lb. soybean meal
50 lb. roasted soybeans
50 lb. rolled oats
50 lb. alfalfa pellets
25 lb. fishmeal
30 lb. Fertrell Poultry Nutri -Balancer
25 lb. Aragonite
10 lb. Kelp
2 gal. oil
Young broiler chicks on pasture.
Lucky for us we live close to a family owned mill that mixes our feed.
On our way to the mill we stop by a small, family farm and purchase our supplements. You cannot buy directly from Fertrell; you have to find a local distributor in your area. For us, our distributor is Yesterways Farm.
That’s me standing beside the sign.
Now, we head to the mill.
I know the picture is blurry but all I had to use for a camera was my phone. The sign says, Mauney’s Feed Mill, Inc. Mauney’s is located in a little town called New London, NC. It takes us about forty-five minutes, one way, but is well worth the drive. Kelly Vick owns the mill and has never seemed the least bit bothered by all of my many questions. Believe me. I am always full of questions and if I was ever bothersome Kelly has hidden it well. I remember calling one day with a list of questions and he kept me on the line while he used his cell phone to call someone else to get me the information I needed. Kelly, Darrell, Beth and Marco (the four people that make Mauney’s what it is) are always great to deal with.
Kelly (left) and Darrell (right). Beth wasn’t available and Marco didn’t want his picture made. I didn’t leave them out on purpose.
The first time I contacted the mill about having our feed mixed Kelly had me email him our recipe to make sure that he could get our ingredients. They keep our recipe on file which makes it as convenient as a phone call to schedule picking up a load of feed.
Not only do I like the fact that we are supporting a local family business, we are also supporting local farmers. Local farmers bring their crops out of the field to the mill to sell to Kelly. The crops are weighed and inspected before they are purchased. One of the most important things that has to be checked is moisture content. Crops are stored in concrete so the moisture level is crucial to make sure mold doesn’t occur.
Area where crops are inspected before unloaded.
A few of our feed ingredients, (fishmeal, Poultry Nutri-Balancer, Aragonite and Kelp. This is what we picked up at Yesterways Farm.) we supply ourselves. On “feed day”, we bring our supplements and a list of the amounts we need added. Marco always meets us and helps unload.
Supplements unloaded and ready to be added.
Since I had never seen how the feed is mixed Marco gave me the grand tour and I was able to watch him prepare our feed. His only request was that I didn’t get him in any of my pictures.
Adding one of our supplements.
Marco already had all of the ingredients that the mill supplies in the mixer. He weighed out the supplements and so graciously weighed what was left of each and wrote it on the bags for me. I need all the keep I can get when it comes to keeping things straight around here. He even got out the sewing machine they use on feed bags and stitched the bags closed for me. Of course I had to get a picture.
Handy dandy sewing machine.
Here is Marco stitching up one of the bags.
This is the only glimpse of Marco that you will see. Half an arm and half a leg. I told him he wouldn’t break my camera.
Check out this mixer!
Feed mixer. I couldn’t get a great picture of the whole thing but you get the idea that it is big.
Marco showed me the roller that they send oats through to get the rolled oats that goes into our feed.
With the mixing underway I thought that I would get out of the way.
I decided I would go inside the store and see if there was anything that I needed.
No small business, especially if it is related to farming, is complete without a resident cat or dog.
This is what the entrance to Mauney’s look like.
I just love old stores!
I decided I would take a seat in the sitting area that is a staple in an old store.
Sitting areas in old stores just says “Community”.
Within about thirty minutes my 1200lbs. of feed was bagged and loaded and I was ready to go.
When I got home, my always happy helpers unloaded it for me.
Our oldest son, Noah, unloading feed.
Here it is all neatly stacked.
Feed ready for our next batch of chicks.
If you are in the New London area of North Carolina I encourage you to check out Mauney’s. They sell pre-packaged feed as well as mix custom feeds. Like their business card says, “When it comes to FARMIN’, let us be your GARMIN”. Before you go to your closest “box” farm supply store give them a call. Even if it costs you a couple dollars more for something, you are supporting local families. None of the money you spend there supports CEOs or shareholders.
Here is the contact information for Mauney’s.
40225 Hwy 52 North
New London, NC 28127