Monthly Archives: February 2014

Poultry Feed Comparison

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We try hard to make sure that the animals who share the farm with us are fed well and treated well. Our chickens and turkeys are always provided with access to pasture as soon as they are old enough to be safe, but, we do also supplement them with feed to make sure that they are getting all the nutrients they need.

In our area there are three 16% Protein Organic or Non-GMO options available to us via retail: Buxton Feed, Scratch and Peck Feed, and Rogue Poultry Feed. All are available in 40lb bags, which is what I compare in the chart below:

Brand Feed Source Feed Type Retail Price
Buxton Feed Non-GMO, Soy and Corn Free Layer Pellet $21
Scratch and Peck Certified Organic, Soy and Corn Free Layer Mash $27
Rogue (Grange Co-op) Certified Organic Layer Crumble $22

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Rogue’s organic feed is a crumble. Rogue’s feed ingredients are significantly different, and to be honest, not something we prefer to feed our animals because of the dependency on Corn and Soy (even organic, there are other reasons to avoid these). Rogue is the organic feed available for retail nearest us, though, so we wanted to give it a try! First 8 ingredients:
Ingredients
Organic Grains, Organic Corn, Organic Barley, Organic Soybean Meal, Monocalcium Phosphase, Vitamin Premix

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Buxton Feed prodices their feed as a pellet. They used to mill feed for Scratch and Peck, so they are intimately familiar with the ingredients used, and the two feeds are virtually identical ingredient lists.  We find that the pellet format results in a significant amount of feed dust in the bag, which our hens tend to leave behind in their feeders. First 8 ingredients:
Ingredients
Peas, wheat, barley, camelina meal, common vetch, cane molasses, Limestone, oyster shell

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Scratch and Peck produces their feed as a “mash”, in which basically the same ingredients that go into Buxton’s pellets are offered in their original form (the peas are cracked, as they’d be too big otherwise).  First 8 ingredients:
Ingredients
Organic Wheat, Organic Peas, Organic Barley, Organic Linseed Meal, Organic Camelina Meal, Limestone, Oyster Shell, Fish Meal

What they eat goes into the eggs that we eat!  Given the three choices above, which one would you rather eat?  On the farm, our choice is Scratch and Peck – if we picked out the limestone and oyster shell, it looks good enough to boil up for dinner.  You can see from the chart above that that choice comes with an increased price… we think it’s worth it.  We hope you agree!

Snowstorm 2014

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We had a lovely snowstorm this weekend, and for the first time, both Talina and Megan were home to enjoy it together with Archimedes. We even got to take the sled down the sheep hill! Once. Because Archimedes, it turns out, is not yet a fan of snow.

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As fun as the snow was, it made us doubly glad that Thaddeus was able to install frost-free pipes before it arrived: hauling 5 gallon buckets of water to the barn from the shop in a foot+ of snow is nobody’s idea of a good time…

Broomcaust 2014: The Beginning

Our friends Spencer and Leela came up for a bit of farm work and dinner this weekend, and we decided to take advantage of the lovely weather to begin our assault on Mt. Scotch Broom, up on top of the East hill.

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The crew headed off with Weed Wrenches in hand, up, up, up the hill.

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In 2012, we cleared all of the broom from the west side of this fence, but left the east side, which is not a fenced pasture area, alone.  This year we’d like to add those few acres to our pasture area, rather than continue to leave them for the blackberries to claim, but the first chore is to take advantage of the wet ground to pull a few hundred Scotch Broom plants!

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45 minutes of pulling complete: a nice bare patch behind us and a big pile of vanquished plants to haul down for burning.  Chore season is off to a good start!