Organic feed vs Non organic. Is it really worth it?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by NotSuperWoman, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. NotSuperWoman

    NotSuperWoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2011
    My Humble Manor
    I was pricing cost of organic feed vs non organic. The only source I can find in my area (Oklahoma) is from Kansas, and it is $23.00 for a 50lb bag of 21%. Or $13.00 for a 50lb bag of 15%. Is the extra protein really necessary when I let my chickens out to forage in the back yard? And what is your opinion of organic? What ingredients should I look for?

  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:I assume you are talking about layer hens. They generally need around 16% or 17% protein, a little more in the summer, less in the winter when they are eating more feed anyways. They'll get by on 15%, but if they are young, high production layers it may fall a little short as a sole ration and production will suffer. 15% would be a better fit for older hens who are no longer growing and are laying more intermittently.

    As far as organic vs non-organic... It really depends upon your personal convictions. It's doubtful that you will see any difference in performance or health of your hens. The draw to organic is that some feel it is more "environmentally friendly", as organic grains are raised without synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers. There are some that feel that these chemicals can be passed on through the food chain (from grain, to hen, to egg, to you) so they opt for the organic feed.

    Which ingredients to look for? That opens up a whole 'nother can of worms. You can do some reading here and come up with 100 different opinions. Generally, if it is sold as a layer ration for chickens your birds will do fine on it as it will be formulated to provide the basic nutrition that a layer hen needs.
  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Quote:My opinion about organic is this: I'd love to use it for reasons of supporting organic farmers and processors, which might help have the effect of bringing the cost down. I'd love to feed it because I feel it is healthier. But I don't because it's just too expensive. Point of fact, if you keep a flock on organics and one on non-organic food, all things being equal, they'd probably look to be in the same good health.

    Most of the layer feed here is 18%. Any higher and it's chick starter, which ranges from 20-21%. Seems to me that 15% is too low, but 21% is too high for grown birds, though it certainly won't hurt them. Most people just leave them on the 21% chick food till they start laying, then switch to the lower protein layer, which includes extra calcium if it's layer food. Warning: Layer food with extra calcium will harm chicks!
  4. Illia

    Illia Crazy for Colors

    Oct 19, 2009
    Forks, WA
    Yeah, as much as I am a huge advocate of organic farming and all (am an "organic" farmer myself) - I'm WAY too poor at the moment to pay for organic feed, so, I do the normal stuff. I try my best to make up for it though by feeding my flock whatever comes out of the farm. In a year I hope I won't buy them any more feed.

    21% protein is really really high in my opinion, for any age, unless you're doing gamefowl or something.
  5. vjbakke

    vjbakke Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 21, 2011
    We get our organic feed through Azure standard. I do think the 15% is way too low and the 21% is too high. We feed a soy free layer pellet that is 16% protein. They also have starter and grower. For us we feed organic because we can fit it into our budget, if we had more birds feeding organic would be a lot more difficult.
  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    The bagged organic feed is expensive, especially if you are far from organic grain crops. We get it in bulk from a local organic mill. There are a lot of organic grains grown right here in our county, so transportation costs from the fields to the mill to here don't add up to much. Last year when grain prices were down we were getting 17% organic layer ration delivered from the mill (about 30 miles away) for less than $400 a ton. That is the equivalent of $10 a bag. This year grain prices are through the roof, but our last delivery was still only a little over $500 a ton or the equivalent of $12.50 a bag.
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    We garden organically. I supplement the hens diet with ranging, sweet corn, lettuce, etc. I don't know the true percentage, but everything helps. Organic grains here are simply not affordable and I would be out of the hen/egg business. We simply do not have a customer base to support $4.00+ a dozen, which is what I'd have to charge.

    We do buy high quality feed. That's the best we can do right now. Not entirely happy with our compromise position, but it what it is.

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