Many chook gurus take their chicken feed very seriously- but why wouldn't you? As I have heard many a chicken enthusiast say, “if I want my eggs to taste natural, I need to feed my girls natural feed”. This being said, there is a significant cost disparity between commercial and organic chicken feed that implicitly begs the question, ‘is there a difference between the two?’ This is no easy question to answer, as the food science surrounding the production of chicken feed is highly sophisticated. Nevertheless, this short article will attempt to illuminate the key differences between organic and commercial chicken feed.
What Is Chicken Feed Even Made Out Of?
In order to understand how organic feed differs from commercial varieties, it’s important to understand what chicken feed is actually made out of in the first place. Most chicken feeds contain a complex combination of seeds and cereals, such as wheat, barley and oats, as well as protein sources, like soybean meal, canola meal and sunflower meal- just to scratch the surface. Basically this complex formula is designed to ensure that your chooks get an adequate combination of essential proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals to ensure they lead healthy and happy lives.
What Makes Organic Feed “Organic”?
To put it simply, organic grains and other protein sources are essentially grown through a more natural farming process, which does not utilise controversial agents such as pesticides, synthetic growth stimulants and so on. Some consumers feel uncomfortable when products are manufactured in a way that is quite removed from how these plants would naturally grow in the wild. As the process of growing organic ingredients is generally more time consuming and expensive, these types of organic chicken feeds normally come at a more premium price. This is in large part due to the extra expense it takes to manufacture such a product. To be sure that the chicken feed you are interested in is 100% organic, check for a ‘certified organic’ emblem that should be present on the packaging.
Is Organic Feed Better For My Chickens?
At this stage there seems to be no strong evidence to suggest that chickens who eat organic feed versus commercial feed live healthier or happier lives. This being said, a great deal of effort has been put into ensuring that chickens who eat commercial feed have all the basic nutrient requirements they need. Anecdotally, some chicken lovers have remarked that their girls seem zealous and perkier since they’ve switched to organic feed. However at this stage there does not seem to be any clear scientific evidence.
So What’s The Point?
One of the key benefits of buying organic chicken feed is that it is a more sustainable and green friendly approach to keeping chickens. Organic chicken feed doesn’t depend upon synthetic and environmentally costly chemicals to grow. This in turn helps improve the environment, which is ultimately a great benefit to all of us, including your chickens.
Whichever type of feed you decide to go with, you should be commended for making the world a more sustainable place by simply caring for chickens. Though there is no clear evidence at this stage to suggest organic chicken feed is better for you chickens, why not just switch over for a couple of weeks, just to see if there are any changes in mood or egg quality. Afterall- you know your chickens best. Another thing you can try is creating your own organic chicken feed at home. All of these sustainable approaches help improve our environment, which is an important issue for us all.