UCP Episode 022: Feeding our Chickens Well – Discussion of Organic Farming & Chicken Feed with Wes Gibbs

Grain Harvesting - photo by Montana Flour Company

Grain Harvesting – photo by Montana Flour Company

You are what you eat.  This adage also rings true indirectly – you are what your chickens eat as well, if you eat your birds or their eggs.  Studies have shown that the quality of food that a chicken consumes has a direct connection to the quality of eggs produced.

Grain Processing - photo by Montana Flour Company

Grain Processing – photo by Montana Flour Company

Moreover, studies have also shown that chemicals, such as pesticides and herbicides sprayed on feeds, eaten by animals are then stored in the animal’s flesh and/or eggs.  It is interesting that in at least one study, pesticide residue was found to accumulate more significantly in eggs than chicken flesh.  If we then eat that animal or its bi-product (e.g. eggs, milk, etc.) those stored chemicals are transferred to us – we end up eating the chemicals.  Additionally, those chemicals can be particularly concentrated in meat and eggs based on the amount of chemically treated food the animals in question consume.

Grain Packaging - photo by Montana Flour Company

Grain Packaging – photo by Montana Flour & Grain Company

One of many reasons cited by backyard chicken owners for taking up this hobby is to gain greater control over their food sources and to eat healthier eggs and meat.  If that is one of the reasons that you are keeping your own backyard chickens then it is worth considering what sort of feed you are giving to your hens to eat.  The type of chicken feed you are using does affect the type of eggs you are getting.

Wes Gibbs - Manager of Big Sky Organic Feed

Wes Gibbs – Manager of Big Sky Organic Feed

On today’s show we are joined by Wes Gibbs who is the manager and maker of Big Sky Organic Feed.  Wes grew up on a farm and worked for many years as an agricultural extension agent in Montana.  He has a deep knowledge base and insight into this topic through working as an extension agent and also having done some farming.  Wes talks about his hands on experience and observations with organic, sustainable and conventional farming techniques.  He also discusses Big Sky Organic Feed and what sorts of chicken feeds they produce, how they produce those feeds and why.

MAIN SEGMENT:

  • Montana Flour&Grain LINK
  • Big Sky Organic Feed LINK
  • Indian study of pesticides transferred to chicken eggs and meat LINK
  • Belgium Study of pesticides found in home-produced eggs LINK
  • UCP Episode # 17 with Scott Brown of Phoenix Organic Feed that sells Big Sky Organic Feed EPISODE

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