For centuries backyard chicken keepers have been feeding their chickens organic feed.
It has only been within the past few decades that chicken feed manufacturers have decided to include additives to feed such as antibiotics and hormones.
Because of this, lots of backyard chicken keepers are becoming increasingly concerned about the content of their chicken feed.
Although organic feed is quite pricey compared to conventional chicken feed, you know exactly what is going into your birds when you feed them. Also, organically fed chickens tend to lay larger and tastier eggs.
If you are concerned about the feed you are giving your chickens, then read on below to learn everything you need to know about organic chicken feed…
Contents and Quick Navigation
- What Is Organic Chicken Feed?
- The Best 5 Organic Chicken Feeds
- What To Know Before Buying Organic Chicken Feed
- 5 Reasons To Feed Your Flock Organic Feed
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Organic Chicken Feed?
In order for chicken feed to be certified as organic, manufacturers must follow strict guidelines.
Organic chicken feed must be free of antibiotics, hormones, herbicides, synthetic fertilizer, GMO and pesticides.
While this may seem like a simple task for manufacturers, keep in mind that grain and seeds going into organic feed must be grown on certified organic land that is free of any pesticides.
This type of land and organic farmers are hard to come by as it is a more labor-intensive farming process. To make things harder, even micro ingredients such as minerals, amino acid methionine, salts and vitamins must be entirely organic.
There are many advantages of organic, too, and some of the most popular include the health benefits it provides for chickens as well as their humans.
Unfortunately though, because of all the extra work that goes into producing organic feed, it is more expensive than regular commercial feed.
Organic Vs Non Organic Chicken Feed
As the name suggests, organic chicken feed is, well, organic.
This means that organic feed must be produced using natural farming practices and is regulated by the law.
Conventional (non organic) feed on the other hand contains at least one ingredient that was not processed organically. This means that non organic feed can contain pesticides, synthetic fertilizer, herbicides or antibiotics.
A stark difference between organic and non-organic is their availability. You will often find that non-organic feeds are stocked in many local stores as they are more easily sourced.
Organic is definitely on the pricier side when compared to commercially manufactured chicken feed. It is important to keep in mind that in order for feed to be certified organic, manufacturers need to jump through a whole lot more hoops in order to obtain that certification.
The Best 5 Organic Chicken Feeds
|Editor’s Picks||Brand||Our Rating|
|Best Pellet||Manna Pro Non-GMO & Organic Layer Pellets||4.5|
|Best Whole Grain||Scratch and Peck Organic Mash Chicken Feed||4.4|
|Best Crumble||Kalmbach Feeds Organic Layer Crumbles||4.0|
|All Rounder||Mile Four Organic Chicken Feed Whole Grain||4.0|
|Most Affordable||Modesto Milling Organic Layer Crumbles||4.0|
Best Pellet: Manna Pro Non-GMO & Organic Layer Pellets
Manna Pro Non-GMO & Organic Layer Pellets are perfect for egg laying chickens. This feed comes in pellets rather than a crumble which means there will be less dust and waste. It is also enhanced with key vitamins which makes eggs’ shells stronger and their yolks darker and richer. Because this feed comes as a pellet there is also the option to ferment it if you are looking to reduce your costs.
- USDA Organic
- Great for layers
- Comes in pellets
- Molds easily in the wrong storage conditions
- Only comes in 5lb, 10lb, and 30lb sizes
Best Whole Grain: Scratch and Peck Organic Mash Chicken Feed
Scratch and Peck Organic Mash Chicken Feed is one of the most popular organic feeds. Not only is this feed organic and Non-GMO, it is also soy and corn free which is uncommon. This recipe is specially blended to help your chickens build strong bones and feathers. It can be fed to your chickens dry or fermented. Finally, because this feed is whole grain and not a crumble or pellet it should last longer.
- Corn free
- USDA certified
- Soy free
- Only comes in one size
- Synthetic vitamins
Best Crumble: Kalmbach Feeds Organic Layer Crumbles
Kalmbach Feeds Organic Layer Crumbles are perfect for your egg layers. This organic feed contains 17% protein, essential amino acids, omega-3 and vitamin D to help improve the quality of your chickens’ eggs. This feed also contains a blend of probiotics, and enzymes in order to help digestion as well as health and immune function. The only drawback with this feed is that because it is a crumble you will struggle to ferment it.
- USDA certified organic
- Organic layer feed
- Contains vitamin D and omega-3 for egg production
- Supports your chickens’ immune systems
- Not recommended for fermentation
- Only comes in 25lb bag sizes
- Can be dusty at times
All Rounder: Mile Four Organic Chicken Feed Whole Grain
Mile Four Organic Chicken Feed Whole Grain is available in 3 different blends: whole grain, pellet, or mash. Whole grain is suitable for those looking for an unprocessed feed. Pellets are ideal for those looking to reduce waste. Finally, mash is well suited for those looking to ferment their feed. All the grains are locally sourced here in the US and contain 16% protein for optimal egg laying.
- Certified Organic and Non-GMO
- Zero imported grains
- Corn free
- Available in whole grain, pellet, or mash
- Contains soy
- Only comes in 25lb bag sizes
Most Affordable: Modesto Milling Organic Layer Crumbles
Modesto Milling Organic Layer Crumbles is one of the best non-GMO chicken feeds out there for your money. This feed is designed for both chickens and ducks. It contains 17% protein and is corn and soy-free in addition to being Certified Organic and non-GMO. This high protein content feed is ideal for egg layers that are 20 weeks old or older.
- Certified Organic
- Soy free
- Corn free
- Perfect for egg layers
- Crumble can turn to dust easily
- Only 2 bag sizes available (25lb and 50lb)
- Not fermentable
What To Know Before Buying Organic Chicken Feed
When shopping for organic chicken feed, especially for first timers, it can get a bit confusing deciding what is best for your flock.
Most of the time people will buy the most popular feed with the most attractive packaging!
The best organic feed is affordable and well balanced for proper nutrient absorption and digestion.
It should have the necessary vitamins and minerals to support your chickens’ growth and development stage. Seeds and grains especially are a great source of fibers and are necessary for proper digestion.
Most feeds will come in a variety of options such as pellet, crumble or grain.
Our favorite is whole grain as it is easy to ferment.
If you do not ferment whole grain then you may find that your picky eaters will pick out certain ingredients of the feed and leave the others. This can be less cost efficient as the rest of the feed goes to waste. Similarly, crumble feed is known to dust easily.
This not only wastes the feed, but also increases moisture absorption which can make feed go bad more quickly. If you are not going to ferment the feed then pellets are a good option.
You will also need to consider the weight and bagging options.
Those who have a larger backyard flock may have to buy multiple bags which can get quite pricey if a manufacturer only sells 10lb bags. Meanwhile smaller flock keepers who can only buy 50lb bags will have their feed go bad quicker.
You should check with the manufacturer to see what size bags they offer.
Lastly, it is important to consider the nutritional needs of your flock. If you are buying feed for layers then you should opt for feed higher in calcium rather than a feed made for meat producers which is higher in protein.
5 Reasons To Feed Your Flock Organic Feed
- Peace of Mind: The most popular reason for using organic feed is the peace of mind it brings backyard flock keepers. Organic feed is free from the added hormones, antibiotics, and steroids that are often found in conventional feed.
- Chicken Health Benefits: Organic feed must be certified as organic meaning that it is free from antibiotics, vaccines, or growth hormones. Chickens fed organically compared to commercially manufactured chicken feed have a stronger and more reactive immune system.
- Environmentally Friendly: Organic is more environmentally friendly than conventional feed. This is because it does not contribute to runoff like normal fertilizer does and it is also not grown with any herbicides which can leach into groundwater. This runoff from conventional feed can negatively impact the purity of water sheds and reservoirs as a result of rainwater or irrigation. Also, those who buy their organic feed locally eliminate the need for transportation which stops the need for plastic feed bags and the fuel used for transportation.
- Improved Egg Laying: What you feed your flock will impact their overall health and wellbeing. Because your chickens are not consuming feed made with added chemicals or toxins, your birds will be less likely to have diet related health issues down the line which can affect their egg laying. Also eggs from organically fed chickens are bigger and taste better.
- Health Benefits: A common health concern in the agriculture industry is overexposure to pesticides. This is because eating pesticides can lead to multiple health issues. You can avoid these issues entirely by feeding your chickens organic.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is organic chicken feed?
Organic chicken feed will cost you around $50 for a 50lb bag.
So that comes out to around $1 per 1lb.
Meanwhile conventionally manufactured chicken feed will cost you around $15 for a 50lb bag.
So that comes out to around $0.3 per 1lb.
Organic chicken feed ingredients list
Common organic chicken feed ingredients are:
- Whole corn
- Seeds (e.g. sunflower, sesame)
For many first-time chicken keepers, deciding what to feed your chickens is a difficult task.
One of the first questions to ask is whether to use organic chicken feed over traditional, non-organic commercial feed.
The first steps for anyone considering a more organic route for their backyard chickens’ diet should consider free ranging their birds as some of the most organic and nutritious components of their diet can be acquired from your own backyard!
Any backyard chicken flock can make the switch to organic chicken feed.
Does your flock eat organic feed? Let us know in the comments section below…
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