08 March 2008

42¢ a day

Two months ago we bought a 50 pound bag of chicken feed from Organics Unlimited. Their operation is big enough that they need a fork lift, but small enough that the plant manager helped us carry out one the bags from our recent order.

Every aspect of the operation is done on site, which is tucked into a Chester County farm area about 20 miles from our house. I'm not sure where they get all of the ingredients, but there was a very intense smell of roasted sunflower seeds when we pulled up to the plant. Sunflowers aren't local around here, so I'm guessing that not all of the ingredients can be supplied from the neighborhood farmers.

Each 50 pound bag costs about $25.00 and it can feed our three ladies for two winter months. That averages out to about 42¢ a day. The amount of feed we have to give them goes down considerably in the summer when they are on a much preferred grass and bug diet.


Anonymous said...

Chester County, eh? As in Chester County, PA? If so, not *that* far from my own scenic Hawk's Haven on the Berks/Lehigh line. I'll have to check it out, though my own six heritage-breed chickens get organic feed from (incredible but true) my local Agway, along with, of course, a chicken-spoiling lineup of fabulous extras from the kitchen. Thanks for sharing a great resource!

Kelly said...

You got it. We live right on the Downingtown, West Chester boarder. I'm not sure if our Agway has organic feed or not. The great part about Organics Unlimited is that it is locally owned. I don't know how close you are to Emmaus, but there is a lady out there that makes a really good mix of organic feed. Unfortunately she may have gone out of business, but it may be worth a shot to look her up if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

I'm very interested, Kelly! I live within half an hour of Emmaus. If you can give me her contact data, I'd be thrilled. Thanks!!!

Meg said...

Hey, Ben, this is the chicken lady's website:


Her name is Barb Shelley, and her contact info is all on there. If you click on the "Open Air Markets" tab, it brings up the farmers markets that she goes to. We've called her ahead of time and arranged to pick up bags of feed from her at the Emmaus Market, but she also sells stuff at the Phoenixvile Market, and her farm is located in Slatington--don't know if either of those places are closer to you than Emmaus is.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am considering growing wheat/field corn for my farmer friends (the ones giving me land... for free) as both have chickens on site. Any idea how many bushels of corn (I'd grind it) a dozen hens would eat in a winter?

Ball park is fine, it will be supplemental anyhow.


Kelly said...

Hey Rob,

6 Bushels.

1/2 cup per chicken each day X 12 chickens X 30 days in a month X 5 Wisconsin winter months ÷ 150 cups to a bushel = 6 bushels

You did say Ball Park;)

Something to consider when digesting my math, is our chickens are egg layers that dig around in a giant leaf pile. I don't know what that does to the equation, but it may need to be considered. Cheers

Anonymous said...

THANKS! I can manage 6-10 bushels I think.

These chickens are dual purpose and free range -though only one of the farms do the chickens actually venture out in the winter. The second farm the coop is just too warm! So winter needs may be higher due to lack of scratching, or lower due to lack of laying.

It is more of a gesture anyhow, and it gives me a great excuse to grow Hopi Blue corn!