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Where does chicken feed come from?

layer mash feed label

You buy chicken feed at your local feed store. You pay the premium and buy organic. But have you considered where that feed comes from? Well, you might be surprised. We’ve called most of the feed stores in Sonoma County, and as of fall ‘008 and spring ‘009, it is as we suspected, the chicken feed sold here is not from here.

Not even within 100 miles, an important radius for committed locavores. In general the feed comes from throughout North America, with corn from Nebraska, barley from Canada, soybeans from Iowa. Most of the feed you will find is aggregated and then mixed and bagged somewhere in the Midwest, with the exception of a few discussed in a later posts that source at least some ingredients in California.

Take this feed bag label as an example. Forgive the tear in the bag, but the first item is organic corn, with organic soybean meal, flaxseed,  barley, and peas. And then there’s a long list of vitamins and minerals, the ethyllenemenadiaonepyrmidinols, you know, the super tasty secret ingredients everyone loves.

This bag of feed comes from Brentwood, Missouri, certainly not within a hundred miles of Sonoma County, California.

The distance this feed has travelled is one issue, another is the quality of the feed. Despite the organic certification, this is not a preferred food for chickens. If you give them the choice of this high protein feed ration and grass, scratch-harvested seeds, bugs, worms, etc, there is no question, the chickens prefer the real food.

So, this is the problem, what’s the solution? We will be outlining our thoughts on that in upcoming posts. If you have ideas, suggestions, questions, whatever, please leave a note in the comments.

17 comments to Where does chicken feed come from?

  • laurence

    Thanks – this is an important item in my book,
    Did you finally locate a source for chicken feed.
    I’d be really interested to find out.

  • patty

    Our feed store in Graham Wa. carries this feed from Mo. and now I will be looking for a better feed. Azure Standand Coop carries a feed i will be looking into also.
    I give my chickens extra garlic and herbs to keep them healthy but the feed is their foundation and it needs to be good and nututious.

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  • N M

    ethyllenemenadiaonepyrmidinols don’t exist.

    I really hate how you and people like you seem to vilify substances that you simply don’t understand…I’m surprised you don’t eat oranges because of their citric acid content, and of course, the fact that “acid” is in the word clearly means that its a dangerous chemical.

    In all seriousness, don’t think that our highly efficient current food production system is the only thing that can contain potential toxins. Comfrey is known to cause liver damage when ingested. If you eat enough gingko nuts you can have seizures. Eat enough leaves of any of the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants) (while improbable, possible) and you’ll get sick to your stomach.

  • Cx

    Hello N M –

    You remind me that I should use a special font for when I’m telling a joke. I thought the word “ethyllenemenadiaonepyrmidinols” sounded ridiculous enough that it would be obvious that I was making the word up. But not everyone can see a joke for what it is, an attempt to induce laughter or amusement.

    Here’s my new word: “ethyllenemenadiaoneunobtainiumidinols.” If I had written that, do you think you might have gotten that joke?

    Sarcasm -> I LOVE it when people use the phrase “I hate how you and people like you….” It shows a surprising level of open-mindedness and critical thinking.

    Read better. Think harder. Get the joke. Be a nice person. It’s not that hard.

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