Finding fresh & nutritious Commercial Feed

May 8, 2020
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522
196
KY
I'd be interested especially in hearing from any local Kentuckians about commercial chicken feed.
We get a 50# bag of Kalmbach 20% protein flock maker feed from Chewy.com. First bag was about a month old. Last 3 bags (one rec'd yesterday) were over 4 months old. Not acceptable. I've spoken to their customer service about 3 times, they say it ships from the warehouse and they can't control it. The last time they put a note on my file that said don't ship anything older than 2 months, max. Because it hasn't been fresh, we have been mixing it with Rural King's locally made Country Road layer crumbles. The girls like it, but it's only about 15-16% protein, not really enough for laying hens.

Kalmbach is the best mix of protein and nutrients, but I can't get a fresh bag. Rural King Country Road is very fresh, but not as high in protein & nutrients.

We give them a variety of extra stuff daily, including scrambled eggs with cheese twice a week, Quinoa, feed mash with Egg Maker, and meal worms (in moderation, high in fat) and more carefully selected goodies. But I need a reliable source of good FRESH feed.

So.....what do you all do (any Kentuckians our there?) for commercial feed?

I did put this question on the Kentucky group thread too.
 

Apis mellifera

Songster
Mar 14, 2017
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Sorry, Im not in Kentucky but I have a horse from Kentucky so that helps :). If you're ordering from Chewy take a look at the Hudson Feeds. A lot more bang for the buck when it comes to protein. High on the ingredients list is pork, so its a good source of animal protein. Far better than most feeds today that are just plant derived. The only other feed I found that had some animal proteins is Bluebonnet Game Bird 20%. It has some fish meal in the ingredients, not sure how much. Hudson Feeds does have a 28% multi flock starter.
 

Folly's place

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I think that shopping locally will be the only way to make sure you get fresh feed. You have no control when it's shipped to your door.
Complete feeds will have the proper mix of amino acids that your birds need, because the so common all vegetarian feeds are supplemented to meet that amino acid blend that the birds require. Animal proteins are more expensive, which is why so many feeds don't include them.
Check some of your local feed stores, and read labels to find something that has the 18% to 20% protein you are looking for. Here our best choice is Purina's Flock Raiser, always available within about one month of milling.
Mary
 

NatJ

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Mar 20, 2017
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Rural King's locally made Country Road layer crumbles. The girls like it, but it's only about 15-16% protein, not really enough for laying hens.
You could look for chick starter, or grower, or all-flock, or flock-raiser, or turkey starter, or gamebird starter. They all tend to have more protein than "layer" food. Just read the label so you know what you're getting (protein level, freshness, and for any of the "starters" you should also check whether it's medicated.)

None of the ones I named will have enough calcium for laying hens, but if they have a separate dish of oyster shell they will probably do just fine-- most hens are pretty good at knowing how much calcium they need.
 
May 8, 2020
238
522
196
KY
I think that shopping locally will be the only way to make sure you get fresh feed. You have no control when it's shipped to your door.
Complete feeds will have the proper mix of amino acids that your birds need, because the so common all vegetarian feeds are supplemented to meet that amino acid blend that the birds require. Animal proteins are more expensive, which is why so many feeds don't include them.
Check some of your local feed stores, and read labels to find something that has the 18% to 20% protein you are looking for. Here our best choice is Purina's Flock Raiser, always available within about one month of milling.
Mary
Thanks for the response. We have checked all the local feed stores. We started out getting Flock Raiser at Tractor Supply for the first year or so, but when we started looking at milling dates they were older than we wanted.
Isn't two or even three months+ old, too old, stale for chicken feed? We had read up on it and were trying to get feed no more than one month old.

That's why we started checking other options, Flock Raiser at our Tractor Supply was older. (In fact the workers there had no idea what we were talking about, in terms of mill date) Guess we'll go back there and check again.

Kalmbach is a really good, nutrient balanced 20% feed so we were happy to find it, but not locally, in Ohio. Had to be shipped.

We were told that Country Road from our Rural King in Winchester was made right across the street. Mill dates are always fresh. But it's only about 15% protein. So we've been mixing Kalmbach (20% but not fresh) with Country Road (15% but fresh).

Would LOVE to find a local feed store that has better options. There is another one I'm going to check again, but when I looked before they had the lower protein feed.

How important is 20% protein to you?
 
May 8, 2020
238
522
196
KY
Sorry, Im not in Kentucky but I have a horse from Kentucky so that helps :). If you're ordering from Chewy take a look at the Hudson Feeds. A lot more bang for the buck when it comes to protein. High on the ingredients list is pork, so its a good source of animal protein. Far better than most feeds today that are just plant derived. The only other feed I found that had some animal proteins is Bluebonnet Game Bird 20%. It has some fish meal in the ingredients, not sure how much. Hudson Feeds does have a 28% multi flock starter.
😍 🥰 "...have a horse from KY..." Love that! what kind of horse? Neighbors around here have KY Mountain Horses and TN Walkers, both gaited.

...and thanks for those suggestions, I will check into Hudson Feeds, BlueBonnet Game Bird.
 
Last edited:
May 8, 2020
238
522
196
KY
You could look for chick starter, or grower, or all-flock, or flock-raiser, or turkey starter, or gamebird starter. They all tend to have more protein than "layer" food. Just read the label so you know what you're getting (protein level, freshness, and for any of the "starters" you should also check whether it's medicated.)

None of the ones I named will have enough calcium for laying hens, but if they have a separate dish of oyster shell they will probably do just fine-- most hens are pretty good at knowing how much calcium they need.
Thanks for the tips! We started them on Chick Starter, then moved to Flock Raiser for the first (almost) year. That's when we noticed the old mill dates and started looking for something else.

Yes, definitely, we've kept a bowl of Oyster Shell near their feed since before they started laying. They eat it very quickly so I replenish almost daily. We have 12 excellent layers even though they're just beginning to molt (one Easter Egger did a full tail molt starting in August and hasn't laid an egg since). We typically get 9,10,11,12 eggs daily.

Just looking for the combo of higher protein + freshness. Guess we'll give Flock Raiser another look as well as Turkey or other feeds we hadn't thought about. The Kalmbach feed is All Flock and 20% protein, just wish we could get it fresh.
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
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Iowa
I'm not in Kentucky, but as far as feed has gone even with my 4 month old bags of Kalmbach my birds have done better on then some of the more "fresh" bags of other brands. On Kalmbach I've had no health issues and everyone has never looked better. I empty all bags as soon as they arrive in metal trash bins when I get it so I can check for mold on the bottom, but as long as there is no mold and it smells good I feed it to them. If you look at the dry goods food you buy from the grocery store for yourself, most of the time that food is months old by the time you buy it. Don't even get me started on any "organic" human or pet foods. They often can be even older because they don't always grow it in the US with the strict regulations on organic growing. So the mill date might be "fresh" but that doesn't mean the ingredients used at the time of milling were fresh. I stopped caring so much about the mill date as much as actually opening the bags up to inspect the quality from top to bottom when I kept getting supposedly "fresh" bags of Purina that were disgusting.
 
May 8, 2020
238
522
196
KY
I'm not in Kentucky, but as far as feed has gone even with my 4 month old bags of Kalmbach my birds have done better on then some of the more "fresh" bags of other brands. On Kalmbach I've had no health issues and everyone has never looked better. I empty all bags as soon as they arrive in metal trash bins when I get it so I can check for mold on the bottom, but as long as there is no mold and it smells good I feed it to them. If you look at the dry goods food you buy from the grocery store for yourself, most of the time that food is months old by the time you buy it. Don't even get me started on any "organic" human or pet foods. They often can be even older because they don't always grow it in the US with the strict regulations on organic growing. So the mill date might be "fresh" but that doesn't mean the ingredients used at the time of milling were fresh. I stopped caring so much about the mill date as much as actually opening the bags up to inspect the quality from top to bottom when I kept getting supposedly "fresh" bags of Purina that were disgusting.
Great information and personal experience. Maybe Mill Date isn't as crucial as I thought. Although I did get that info from BYC, to make sure it's not older than about 2 months. Maybe that was personal preference.
So where do you get your Kalmbach feed? Online or locally?
 

HollowOfWisps

Previously AstroDuck
Aug 28, 2020
1,563
3,277
336
Iowa
Great information and personal experience. Maybe Mill Date isn't as crucial as I thought. Although I did get that info from BYC, to make sure it's not older than about 2 months. Maybe that was personal preference.
So where do you get your Kalmbach feed? Online or locally?
I started out being picky with mill dates because of what I saw on here too, but when I also saw there were other members buying fresher bags of feed with the same issues just like I was I realized I needed to base my decision on my birds health and actually inspecting the bags myself. That's actually how I found Kalmbach when I was searching for new brand after the Purina fiasco. I buy mine from chewy or if we drive to the next state over. They have a feed store that carries it there so I'll pick it up when I'm in the area. I also have been looking at a more locally milled brand mainly because it's local, but since I also have ducks and there was no niacin analysis I haven't tried it yet. I'm not against switching feed if I see better results, but I guess at the end of the day for me if I see quality feed when I open the bag and my birds do well on it that's the feed I buy.
 

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