A mix of heritage chicken breeds, our flock is moving regularly around the farm, through the gardens and pastures. Usually following the cows, they are eating grass, clovers, bugs and field herbs and fertilizing as they go!
Supplementing their forage is a milk-soaked, certified Organic (inherently non-GMO) feed that is corn, soy, and canola free*. Instead of your typical corn and soy, the ration is a mix of wheat, barley, peas, sunflower seeds and flax meal, with the necessary minerals added. As far as we know, we are the only ones in the area raising chickens on a corn and soy free diet, and certainly the only ones soaking their feed with milk from our cows.
Why soak their feed? Chicken digestion is not so dissimilar to our own, and the soaking helps unlock minerals that are otherwise unavailable in dried grains, seeds and nuts. Adding the raw milk to the mixture provides an extra dose of calcium, vitamins and living immune-boosting nutrients.
I have raised chickens before, never able to soak the feed in milk, and the ones we are raising now are the healthiest I have ever raised. These full-bodied ladies have vibrant red combs and clean behinds – all signs of strong health. The feedback on the eggs has been amazing with folks saying they are the best eggs they’ve had. “After having your eggs, I can’t eat any other eggs!” exclaims a customer who receives three dozen a week from us. “I’ve never been really excited about eggs, but I couldn’t stop eating these right out of the pan,” says another. The eggs are large, rich in flavor, and yolks a sunset orange color. Eggs are a wonderful nutrient-dense food source, and we really believe in these.
*Why corn and soy free? Being corn and soy free does make raising chickens a little more challenging, and definitely more expensive. However, in making this choice we are trying to put the hens health first. Besides, we as humans have plenty of other ways to consume corn and soy.
“Soy is in everything. It’s an industrial food ingredient. If it comes in a box and it is supposed to be edible, then chances are high that soy is on the ingredient list. And the likelihood is that the soy is transgenic, genetically modified. . . 96% or more of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified. Americans eat more soy than traditional soy consuming cultures. We don’t want soy to be in everything.” Now replace the word ‘soy’ with ‘corn’. . . same story, with 88% of all corn grown being GMO.
Challenges with soy specifically: “Soy is high in phytic acid. Monogastric animals like chickens, pigs and humans don’t produce the enzyme phytase. Without phytase, phytic acid can block uptake of vitamins and minerals. Not only is this a waste, but it’s creating pollution problems. Soy is high in phytoestrogens and trypsin inhibitors. Trypsin is an enzyme that helps to break down many different proteins. Inhibition of trypsin contributes to allergies.” –from New Country Organics
We strive for exceptionally healthy chickens because that’s the only way we will get exceptionally high-quality eggs. We, along with most of our customers, eat eggs every day, providing the ongoing motivation to produce these in a way that best supports our health.