Friday, January 4, 2013

Organically Speaking: Adventures in Feed Shopping

I made the trip to pick up the organic, soy free layer mash that I will be switching the birds over to.  I have enough Purina left to fill the feeder probably one more time, so I will use that to mix in with the first fill so they can get used to their new feed.  It was a real cold day and I ended up waiting a bit while another customer finished his order.  I did not see the owner today, Vernon Burkholder, however, I believe it was probably his wife who was helping the other customer and myself.  She is but a small thing, but she had no problems lifting the 80lb bag of feed I purchased followed by the 50lb bag of scratch!

The farm sits on both sides of Mud Run Road, outside of Oley.  The house and main barn is on one side of the street and the newer building where they mix and bag the feed is just across from the house.  Although I saw no horse or buggy evidence, it is my observation based on attire that they are what my neighbor's refer to as 'WENGER" Mennonites.  This sect is the old order Mennonites common in our area.  They are friendly yet private folk, but many operate businesses out of their homes.  The woman answered her barn phone while I was there and started talking in PA Dutch (German dialect common in our area, not just with the plain folk....most old timers around here speak it.  Both my grandparents on my dad's side were fluent.  Neither he nor none of his brothers and sisters seemed to want to learn and as most native languages, was used to talk behind kid's backs by their parents!  I know some swear words and afew greetings/sayings...).
 Approaching the farm from Jefferson Street (coming from Oley)

Coming down Mud Run Road

 The sign is at their main barn on the left side of the street, the main warehouse is just across the street.

 Panorama Organics

I secured the bag of Organic, Soy Free Layer Mash that I went for.  $31 for 80 lbs ($2.58/lb).  Pricing had gone up from $29 recently as the price of peas went up.  Apparently, feed pricing will fluctuate much like most of the farm crops.  I never noticed that with Purina.  I paid about $17 for 50lbs ($2.94) for conventional layer feed.  So off the bat, I am saving money and going organic!  They will also reuse the feed bags as long as they are in good condition with no holes, etc.  They will clean them and repackage them.  50 lbs of organic scratch grains was $21.  I do not remember how much the Purina cost.  This might be a little higher than the conventional. 
This is where you pick up feeds and where they do the mixing.

The main difference in the feed is the use of animal (mainly fish and crab) proteins.  Purina boasts no animal proteins.  A) that means it's coming from soy...which, although I enjoy soy based foods, it's not a natural food for humans or animals.  It can only be digested when roasted.  Not only does soy boost female hormones, it also is almost always genetically modified these days.  No thanks.  B) Corn is almost always genetically modified as well.  Certified Organic means that no GMO's are allowed into the product.  From what I understand, these feeds have not been subject to the certification process, and knowing what I know about's extremely expensive to acquire that status.  As a consumer, we trust that he is providing his ingredients as advertised.  He has a very good reputation in the area, so that is good enough for me.  **You can find a phone number to call them, however, they do not have a web presence.  If you search them, you will most likely stumble upon threads from chicken sites with happy customer's reviewing their experiences and products.**

If I hear a sitar and smell some incense coming from the coop....I'll know the organic vibe has set in.  Namaste, little chickens!

5 days of Welsummer eggs!

As of yesterday, Grun has laid 5 eggs.  She took the day off today.  the top pic is all of her eggs to date.  The light one on the top right being her first egg.  They really have darkened nicely!  The bottom pic shows the same 5 eggs along side the Barred Rock's.  Now I really appreciate having a Welsummer in our flock!  Shame that their would have been 2 had we not accidentally gotten my arch enemy, Lila!  Well, if Grun ever goes broody on us, at least we know her offspring will be pure breds!  Or we could pick up an incubator and try a whole new experiment!!!!  :)

Peace out chicken lovers...