Does your feed store measure up?
I visit my local feed store at least once a week without fail. I don’t have a lot of room or space to stock pile supplies, so it is a necessity that I make request trips—I don’t want to run out of anything important.
As a breeder, it would be a crisis if I ran out of feed or didn’t have bedding available, so as soon as I start to run low, I head out to my favorite feed store.
Chicken feed is probably my biggest expenditure. I buy Game Bird Conditioner for my adult silkies and Chick Starter for the babies. Game Bird feed means that it is made for turkeys or pheasants and has a higher protein content than most regular chicken feed. The ADM brand I prefer has 20% protein for birds 10 weeks and older, and it includes animal protein.
I think that animal protein is important for chickens. They are, after all, carnivores and in the wild, they would be eating worms and insects. I also like this brand because it is in pellet form. With pellets there is less waste and mess.
The Chick Starter is also high in protein. It is in crumble form. Pellets are hard for a chick to break apart and digest. I sometimes grind it up even smaller for newborns in my coffee grinder. I use to feed regular chick starter made by E.J. Houle’s Inc. for most of the year and then switch to Medicated Chick Starter in the summer months when it is more humid out. Medicated feed is used for controlling coccidiosis, which is more frequent in the summer.
I also regularly purchase oyster shell for the hens. It is a good source of calcium which they need for creating egg shells.
The comfort zone and more
I also purchase bedding for the silkies at the feed store. I buy two different kinds – pine shavings and flax bedding. I use the “small, fine” pine shavings because I compost all of my chicken bedding and put it in my garden. It makes wonderful fertilizer.
The flax bedding is a little more slippery, so I use it on top as a dressing over the pine shavings. Flax bedding is really nice for absorbing chicken poo or spills. It also leaves their feathers more shiny when they rub against it.
The feed store will also carry things you may need in an emergency such as Corid (for coccidiosis), Sulmet (for coddidiosis, pullorum, and acute fowl cholera) wormers, antibiotics such as Tylan, or vitamins. They also carry plenty of treats such as meal worms, cracked corn, and Boss sunflower seeds.
We’re a happy family
What I like most about my local feed store is the friendly atmosphere. You get to really know the people who work there. These folks are very knowledgeable and are happy to spend the time answering your questions. I find prices to be very competitive with the name brand larger stores.
It is truly a pleasurable experience to enter a feed store and have a feeling of going back in time when life was a little slower. My favorite feed store is Houle’s in Forest Lake, Minn., not far from my home.
Look for the grain elevators in any small town and you will find your local feed store.