Bulk Feed Questions MN/WI ?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by WiseChicks, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. WiseChicks

    WiseChicks Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Hudson, WI
    I am looking to buy bulk feed, but have no idea where to find it. We go through a 50lb bag in 4 days, and quite frankly I am sick of going to Fleet Farm that often!

    I have found a supplier for 55gal plastic drums, which is what I'd like to use for storage.

    So, my questions are:

    1. Where do you buy bulk? (pref organic, but...)

    2. Do they deliver to you or do you have to have a way to transport a ton of feed?

    3. does it come loose or bagged?

    4. If they deliver, and if it is loose, could they fill it right into the barrels?

    Sorry if they are idiot questions, I tried doing some searches, and found a lot of threads talking about feed, but nothing really answered these questions.


    Katie (who can't wait for spring when the flock can free-range and the feed bill plummets!)
  2. Western Chick

    Western Chick Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Western MN
    Why do you want to buy bulk?

    A 55 gal drum full is not considered bulk. Elevators generally sell by the ton, you'd need a lot of barrels for that. Also, you don't want to get too much at a time because it can go bad...get eated by rodents...etc.

    Unfortunately buying in bulk won't save you a whole lot unless you're growing some of the ingredients yourself.

    I have my local elevator mix my goat ration, I get a half a ton at a time which lasts me about a month. I asked about having it delivered (a whopping 5 miles) and they said it would be cheaper to bag it. So every month I head over there, load up my 15 bags and drag it into the barn.

    I'm able to get a good grower ration from my local elevator. I pay less for that then I do for Fleet Farm, I still buy by the bag. All the other feeds and sources are higher than good ol' FF. You might just consider going once a week and buying two bags at a time.

    Really, unless you think you can come up with some feed ration that is better than what is typically offered or you need some kind of specialty feed you are much better off buying what is available and storing it in the bag.
  3. WiseChicks

    WiseChicks Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Hudson, WI
    Oh, no, I didn't mean one 55 gal drum I meant many. (I can get as many as I want. I would set them on boards on concrete blocks with a dispenser shoot at the bottom for gravity dispensing. I already do the same thing with the drums for rainwater barrels)

    I want to buy in bulk with delivery because I have 4 blown discs in my spine. To go to FF or other places selling by the bag, regardless of if it is once a week, twice a week, or once a month; I have to lift and/or carry the bags from the pallet into the cart, then from the cart to my van, then from my van to the barn. At 50lb a bag, I can usually only manage 4 bags at a time, maybe 6, but the likelyhood of paralyzing back spasms and missed work days increases with each bag I haul. It is most often the case on feed buying day that I end up in bed on the heating pad taking oxycontin and waiting for the pain to subside.
  4. You will NOT be popular with any of the bulk truck drivers if you have them distribute one ton in 55 gallon barrels!!!!! In fact many trucks may not be able to drop their augers low enough to fill a barrel.

    Look around your community for a bulk feed bin (Craigslist, auctions, free ad paper) that can easily be filled by the feed supplier and that will protect your feed investment from weather, livestock, pests, and vermin.

    Check with your feed supplier on their definition of "bulk" in some cases you may have to buy multiple tons before they will deliver bulk.

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
  5. Western Chick

    Western Chick Songster

    Apr 17, 2008
    Western MN
    Well, I agree that the barrels are not a good choice for storing feed. Filling them will be difficult, you'll need a pretty good sized opening to get the feed to flow out the bottom and I don't know how you would cover them tight enough to keep mice and insects out.

    I also don't think buying in bulk is a good idea. It may seem handy to have feed in an easy to dispense grain bin but you're really not using enough feed to make that practical. Having the feed sitting in the bin for months on end is a real liability as far as the quality of the feed and exposure to insects and rodents goes.

    I wanted to do this for my goat feed because I hated the idea of loading and unloading the 20 bags at a crack. We have the bin, a two ton gravity flow bin in good condition sitting unused right by my goat barn. Even with everything set up and ready to go, my husband (the practical one with lots of livestock feeding experience) as well as the guy at the elevator convinced me that it was not a good idea.

    The folks at Fleet Farm will usually be happy to load the bags in your car for you. Our FF also has little wagon-like carts that sit much lower and have no sides meant for carting feed bags. They make it much easier to do the lifting. If you can't get the guys in the store to load the feed for you, consider going to a smaller local farm store or feed elevator. We have a great little one in town called The Country Store. I go in, tell the guy what I need and by the time I've paid for it another guy has alrerady loaded it into the car. Our local feed elevator is the same. You may pay more for feed at these places but usually the added service is worth it.

    Sometimes it's intimidating going to the small local places, especially if you're not used to using them or unsure about what they offer but I guarantee once you build a relationship with them you will appreciate their personal service and experience they provide. They will go out of their way to make sure you're getting exactly what you need.
  6. Some of the feed mills around here will bag up orders for you...Minimum of 500 pounds at a time. Usually into 50# bags.
    you could check into something like that...Where you get in bags and then poor into the barrells yourself. around here they will not deliver with out a 1 ton minimum order. And then it has to go into a grain bin (or at least that's what I call it)..But it's delievered right into the bin from the truck.
    The feed mills are cheaper, but if you have to go to 'stores'
    FLEET FARM is by far cheaper than FARM AND FLEET or at least around here.
    You can have specialty mixes made to your liking though at feed mills, that's one plus. I also just back the truck up and they will load the bags for me. So it's one less handling of the bags that I have to do. Is there someone close that could help you when you got home as so you're not lifting all the bags yourself???
  7. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing 9 Years

    Oct 16, 2008
    I am not in favor of 55 gal bbls for feed despensing. If you are dipping feed out, they are too deep
    If you can rig them for bottom dispensing, you might run into "bridging"..

    At Fleet/Farm I make the guys load my trailor for me.. they are paid to do it and do not mind doing it.. I do not even try to help because anymore ,,I am more in the way than a help..

    go talk to your local feed mill. they can answer all your questions better than we can.. every mill has their own policies.. all we can do is pass on our own experiences.. that is no help to you..

    My gut response is get rid of the livestock if it is causing you that much pain and missing work..
  8. thedeacon

    thedeacon Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Contact your youth church group, boy scouts, 4-H or school and perhaps a couple kids would help you once a month carrying and dumping the bags into your containers. Who's knows, they might even become interested in raising chicks themselves or come by more often to help and socialize.
  9. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    You can buy an entire pallet ( I think the total weight comes to a ton) at Fleet Farm. My husband and I thought about doing it, but decided against it.
  10. spookyevilone

    spookyevilone Crazy Quail Lady

    Oct 5, 2008

    use the Anoka Ramsey Feed & Garden center, when I don't mix my own. They have organics at decent prices and they always load for me. I don't know about delivery, it's a mom'n'pop, but they could probably help you.

    Where do you get the barrels? I'm looking for about 4 food grade plastic barrels with tops.

    PS: Are you coming over Thursday? Can't do it tonight, I have class.

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