Organic Bulk Feed Pricing - Suggestions Needed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hawkeyext, Nov 28, 2016.

  1. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 5, 2016
    New York
    Does anyone know of any organic bulk feed suppliers who will ship to NY? I currently get Blue Seal Organic layer pellets at $28 for a 50# bag. As we are expanding our flock greatly, and bringing in heritage breeds which lay less, so we need to bring the cost down.

    Any suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. RobertPlamondon

    RobertPlamondon Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2016
    Oregon
    Feed is awfully expensive to ship except in full truckloads or railcars, so you might want to scour the countryside for a local mill first. New York is a big state with a lot of agriculture: it must have plenty of feed mills.

    Also, if you're buying feed by the sack now, you should be able to get better prices simply by walking down the list of: by the sack, by the ton (in sacks), by the tote, and in bulk (loose).

    Robert
     
  3. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    In the feed industry "Bulk" is considered in multiple ton quantities delivered with a truck to the farm and stored in a bin. It is not bulk in the sense of buying non-packaged food items at the grocery store.
     
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    When you have thousands/ millions of chickens, bulk feed works great. For most of us, not so much. Buying 500 to 1000 lbs at once gets a good discount, but again, either order with friends to split the order, or have many birds. Feed needs to be properly stored, and still ages out in weeks, not months. I have 48 chickens, and buy 150 lbs at once, which I use up in a short enough time that it's still fresh. 200 lbs at once is my limit, and there's no discount there! I should get serious about combining an order with friends, but so far that hasn't happened. Mary
     
  5. RobertPlamondon

    RobertPlamondon Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2016
    Oregon
    This is why we looked into the old "mash-and-grain" system (though for us it's pellet-and-grain). Whole grains keep for ages (some feed tests used feed wheat 6-8 years old, but not moldy, and it worked okay). Ground grains, cracked grains, and chicken rations need to be used up in a month or two, depending on climate.

    So what we did was to buy grain by the ton and feed by the sack.

    • Whole grain keeps a long time and is a lot cheaper than pellets if bought by the ton: one-half to one-third the price of pellets or crumbles.
    • Most areas have suburban feed stores and more farmer-oriented stores. Usually there are 1-2 places that specialize in bulk sales. They'll have MUCH better bulk prices.
    • Whole wheat is suitable for all chickens of all ages. Whole corn looks too big but isn't, once the chicks are 6-8 weeks old. Whole oats and barley are also okay once the chicks are 6-8 weeks old.
    • If you figure on a minimum of 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day, that's 91.25 pounds per chicken per year. Round it up to 100 pounds, and a flock of 50 hens goes through about 5,000 pounds per year.
    • If you feed a 16% ration plus whole grain on the side, as much as they want of each, they'll eat 2/3 pellets/crumbles and 1/3 whole grain.
    • With a 20% ration, it's 50-50.

    So we went to a 20% ration.

    I forget how many chickens we had at the time: let's say it was 100 hens, or 10,000 pounds of total feed per year (=5 tons or 200 50 lb. sacks). Of this, 50% (2.5 tons, 100 sacks) was 20% pellets, and 50% (another 2.5 tons or 100 sacks) was whole grain.

    • Whole grain lasts a long time, so we bought it by the ton as needed, about once every five months.
    • Layer pellets don't last five months, so be bought it in smaller quantities, about a month's worth (8-9 sacks) at a time.
    • We filled up half our feeders with pellets and half with grain, and let the hens mix and match according to taste, with 24/7 access to both.
    • The ratio worked out about as advertised: about 50-50.

    I talk more about this method on my Web site, Plamondon.com, here: Save Money on Chicken Feed
     
  6. hawkeyext

    hawkeyext Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 5, 2016
    New York
    Thanks everyone. Here in southern NY the cheapest I can find is $27.72 for a 50# bag if getting 500lbs delivered. It's another .30 cheaper if I pick them up but I'm not sure it's worth the added cost.

    We have a little over 300 chickens. (333 to be exact) I estimate with each one needing 1.5lbs/week we would need about 500#s a week. They are free ranging so I'm hoping that will get that down a tad bit too. Maybe to 1.25/lbs a week or even 1?
     

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