Switching to Organic Chicken Feed

Feeding Your Chickens Organic Feed

When I began raising chickens again three years ago, I was struck by how much even conventionally grown feed cost. Of course prices have gone up a considerable amount since then. With drought becoming more common, there is less feed and the price is higher. Investors speculate and buy grain, so the price goes up. What’s a homesteader to do?

If I had more land I would grow my own grain. I am taking steps to raise some feed for my chickens, but I just don’t have room on an acre to raise all that I need. In the meantime, I am working on ways to conserve feed and supplement as much as I can with kitchen scraps, garden goodies, and pasturing my poultry.

So you might wonder why on earth I would double my chicken feed budget by switching to organic feed. There are a lot of reasons, and organic feed is what I would have used all along if it had been locally available and a bit less expensive. Instead I tried to rationalize my decision to keep buying feed produced from a company I’m not particularly fond of, C*arg!ll.

Why Organic?

I have always believed that organic gardening and farming practices are better for the environment, better for our animals, and better for our own health. I’m not really trying to open this up for debate…it’s just what I believe. If you don’t feel the same way, that’s ok. I won’t try to persuade you. But I feel that the use of GMOs, pesticides and herbicides is degrading our environment and our well being. (There is a great deal of scientific evidence to support this too) So, for the health of my family, my poultry, and the planet as a whole, I decided to find a way to purchase organic feed.


Supporting My Local Community Too? Bonus!

I called around to see where I could purchase organic layer feed for my flock and guess what…our local feed store is now selling Nature’s Grown Organic chicken feed. How cool is that?! Of course, it does cost twice as much as the C*rg!ll stuff. But at least I will feel good about feeding this to my chickens, and then eating their eggs and meat. Another cool thing about all of this…the feed is made in Wisconsin, right across the cheddar curtain from me. ๐Ÿ˜‰


If you are interested in purchasing organic chicken feed, you might want to check out their website. They have a link to find out if their products are available near you….

Nature’s Grown Organic

I’m not receiving any advertising dollars from them, so this is not an affiliate link. I’m just looking forward to finding out how well my chickens and ducks like the feed. I’ll let you know if I see any difference in production.


Do you use organic feed? Have you noticed any changes in your flock health or productivity?


24 Comments on “Switching to Organic Chicken Feed

  1. Is it possible to switch a farm raised 30 days old broiler chicken to ordinary grain food of backyard chickens?
    What precautions should we take?
    Yesterday I put such a chicken from poultry shop with my pet chickens at home and fed it with their feed but it dies over night.
    I am curious about the subject and need expert opinion.before another try.

    1. Hi Irfan,
      It is possible to switch a broiler chicken to regular chicken feed from the high protein feed they have been eating. However, the switch should be made slowly over 2 or 3 weeks or so. Start out by giving the new chicken a small amount of grower rations or layer feed in with the high protein feed and slowly increase the new feed as you reduce the feed they are used to.
      It is possible that your new chicken tried to consume too much of the new feed because it was hungry for more protein. But my guess would be that it had a heart attack from the stress of moving to a new place. Broiler chickens are prone to heart problems because they gain weight too quickly for their heart and bones to keep up with. In the future, you might want to bring home a chicken when it is younger. I’m sorry to hear about your chicken’s death. I hope this helps prevent it from happening again.

  2. If chickens have been fed conventional feed how long does it take to cleanse there systems,and can they and there eggs be considered organic or just in transition?

    1. Hi Grant,
      If you are planning to sell eggs as ‘organic,’ I believe that the chickens are supposed to be raised organically their entire life. You would have to look into the organic labelling rules to be sure. I just remember reading that chickens that have been vaccinated or received certain medications can never be considered ‘organic.’

      If you are selling to friends or at a farmers market it is very cost prohibitive to be certified organic for small producers. I let people know that the eggs are not certified organic, but the chickens are fed organic feed and I can give them the name of the company where I purchase the feed or show them the label from the feed bags.

      If you are switching to organic feed for your own peace of mind, I can’t give you a definite time period for detoxing your chickens. I remember reading an article (sorry I can’t find it) where they were studying people who switched to organic food. With in a week, there was a significant reduction in the pesiticide residue detected in their urine and feces. So, IMHO, I would say that 1 week is long enough to cleanse their systems pretty well. You might want to feed them some dandelion leaves and ground dandelion roots to help them detox their systems too.

      I hope this helps!

  3. I have been thinking about organic feed for my chickens lately. Since I try to buy as much as possible organic I sometime forget that “regular” means GMO’s and pesticides (grr!). I might try putting together my own mix (with all the free time I have lol). Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Mindy,
      I hope you are able to find feed that suits your chickens’ needs! They will be that much healthier for it ๐Ÿ™‚ I know what you mean about time…but I don’t think it will be too time consuming. Famous last words ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Planning for chickens in the springs. Was considering growing feed for them as we have some room for that but don’t know where to start. This gave me some things to consider. Definitely want to go organic for all the reasons you stated here. Thanks for sharing on the Friday Farmgirl Blog Hop!

  5. I live in northern Illinois as well, and planning on chickens next spring. Wondering where you purchase your organic feed? Thanks!

  6. I recently wrote about our switch to organic and the cost differences…it really is insane how expensive it is. One must keep in mind the benefits, though, because they really are priceless! I should figure out how to sprout our own organic wheat…Brilliant!

    1. Hi Melissa,
      You go girl! It is a pretty big hike in expenditures. I may be reducing the size of the flock to help save on the feed bill. We’ll see how many eggs I can sell at the new price.

      The sprouting idea is definitely on my mind too. I will be placing an order from our co-op soon…so I’ll have to look into the cost of organic wheat berries for sprouting ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I have been thinking about this too. For me its not so much the extra cost, but the extra effort to find the organic grain in the first place! We did manage to get organic chick starter crumbles this year and I was very pleased that they didn’t have the medication that the conventional starter contains. I want to do more about growing our own chicken feed (maybe not grain, but other high protein plants, and bugs – I’ve got some mealworms and wormfarm already), then I don’t have to rely to buying it from somewhere. Great to read about your experience and reasons for switching.

    1. Hi Liz,
      Our feed store does have the ‘grower feed’ which is recommended for a chick starter…in the organic. So I will be purchasing some soon, since I have 30 eggs in the incubator right now. Also glad to know that it isn’t medicated ๐Ÿ™‚

      The meal worms and worm farm are a great idea too! I have read that kale and other greens are an excellent addition to your feed. My chickens stick their beaks up at the kale, however! The ducks seem to like the greens from my garden much better.

      I’m also interested in learning a lot more about what I can grow to supplement the feed…sounds like an excellent topic for a blog post ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

    1. Hi M.O. Mum,
      I have read a little bit about what grains are good for chickens and it was a little confusing…but maybe that was just me ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had seen organic barley for sale on Craigslist and considered going to pick some up, but did a little research and the info I found said that barley isn’t very good for chickens. I really wondered about that. I would think that they could eat most any grain, other than uncooked soybeans.
      It is definitely a topic that I want to research some more, because I would also like to grow my own feed…at least some of it!

    1. Hi Deb,
      At our feed store the cost was $21.65 per 40 pound bag. I was paying $13.49 for a 50 pound bag for the conventional. You will want to check with your local feed suppliers to see what it costs in your area. I live in the Midwest, so it might be cheaper here. Best wishes!

  8. I do use organic feed, yes, for the same reasons you do — and the same reasons I garden organically, purchase organically when I can. There are only a couple of places nearby that carry it — I have to drive 20 miles to either one — but both are locally owned feed stores, so I feel like I’m contributing to our local economy as well as the health of my hens — and anyone who eats their eggs (or them, when the time comes…) Thanks for this, Lisa!

    1. Hi Meredith,
      That’s great! Yes, I really feel much better about the organic feed. I will feel better about eating the meat and eggs too ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for stopping by! Always good to hear from you!

  9. I switched to organic laying feed too though it is a bit more expensive. I have also been sprouting organic wheat for the chickens to supplement their feed.

    1. Hi Angela,
      I’ve been thinking about sprouting wheat too…I’m just not sure where I will do it! Our house is kind of small. Hmmmm, you’ve got my brain whirling ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. I have been sprouting the wheat in mason jars in the kitchen. I usually have about four of them going at time. I add 1/2 cup of organic wheat to each jar. It takes 3-4 days for it to sprout! The chickens love it!

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