What to Expect When Expecting... Mile Four Feed
This is for those that have bought our feed (thanks!) and provides a quick overview on your new chicken feed, what to expect, and how to best use!
We hope you and your girls love our feed, but if for any reason you’re not happy please reach out to us at: email@example.com
We want forever customers and as a small (4 person), growing company we want to improve and the best resource of ideas always comes from you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Luke - Founder/CEO - firstname.lastname@example.org
How To Transition Feed
You will want to transition your feed or it will upset your chickens' stomachs and you’ll have quite the mess on your hands… not to mention everywhere else.
We have created this quick guide for you - but basically you will want to give them increasingly more Mile Four feed over the span of a week.
If you bought our organic whole grain feed (our most popular) your orders could look a little different with each delivery.
This is because all of our grains are unprocessed and organic, so there will be variation in look and texture from order to order.
For 100% consistency in each order we recommend purchasing our feed in either Pellet or Mash form. These will use the exact same organic ingredients - just processed differently.
Reasons Whole Grain Feed Looks Different
Organic, non-GMO Grains
100% of grains are organic and non-GMO so they’re not sprayed with chemicals or raised from modified seeds that provide uniformity.
Grains may be a different color or size for a variety of reasons including if it's been wet or dry, hail, wind, bugs, and anything else mother nature can come up with.
Organic farming is challenging as the yields and consistency of grains vary wildly within a field let alone 30 miles away.
This is why folks started using chemicals and GMO in the first place - consistency and higher yields.
This is a longer version of saying - things should look different - this is natural.
Different Color Grains
Peas vary in size and color from bright yellow, dark green & sometimes even a deep purple. Link to image of several pea colors.
Despite the differences in color, there is no nutritional difference in these peas, so if one bag looks different to the next, there is no need to worry. Your girls will, ahem, gobble it up.
Small Batch Milling
Unlike big box producers that literally have assembly lines, we are a small company (4 people) that mills 2-4 times a month. This allows us to provide the freshest feed possible so your grains never sit on a shelf.
While fresh grains (yeah!) are the best; it leads to inconsistencies in each batch. This is something we’re acutely aware of and have implemented processes and continue to work on and will improve on forever.
Small Batch Sourcing
We are based and mill in Minnesota and source 100% of grains from US family farms that are within driving distance of us - mostly Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
Our core grains come from local family farms we’ve known our whole lives - hi Bockman, Mursu, Huntley families!
We started this company to help solve the age old problem of bringing grains to market without being middled to death by the likes of Cargill.
This has worked great and we would not exist without these family farms but as we grow we source from other families and this adds to the different size and color of grains.
There will be a variation in grain consistency from bag to bag in terms of whole grain to ‘powery-ness’.
We crack the peas so they should be in ½ or ¼ full pea depending on pea size. Barley and Poultry Meal are ½ to full sized. The remaining ingredients are a finer texture and this is what the ‘powdery’ part of the grain is - mostly fish meal, flax meal and kelp which you can see below.
Chickens Picking Larger Pieces and Leaving Powder
If your chickens are new to our whole grain feed they may eat the larger bits of grain - usually peas and barley first and ignore the powder.
This is natural and they’ll come back and finish the powdery part of the feed later.
Chickens are visual eaters and if they are used to eating mash or pellet it’s a change and as you transition to whole grains they’ll get used to it in a few days or weeks.
From the graphic above you can see the ‘powder’ is mostly:
- Flax Meal
- Fish Meal
These are vital ingredients your chickens need and once you see all the extra eggs, shiner coasts and higher activity level it will be worth it!
Power Clogging Feeder
Chickens are messy eaters and they’ll splash water in the feeder and sometimes that turns feed into a sludge which clogs the feeder.
- Separate feeder from waterer
- Raise feeder
- New feeder
Some folks do not like how powdery our whole grain feed is and we created pellet and mash grains specifically for this but we strongly recommend giving whole grain a few weeks for your chickens to adjust.
50%+ of our whole grain customers ferment and you can too! Fermenting is really simple and will cut your feed by 50%!
If you ferment the powder, it mixes better in the water.
Here is a free fermenting guide.
Whole Grain Feed Hitchhikers
As with some of the things above - whole grains are unprocessed and organic so sometimes there are a few of mother nature's hitchhikers you may find.
Cocklebur, also known as Xanthium, is a plant where the seeds are oval shaped & covered in spikes. As all grains are organic and non-GMO they are not sprayed with any chemicals to kill these plants. We sift through and sort grains to remove cockleburs but sometimes one may get through.
Due to the spikiness of the seed, your chickens will ignore them.
According to FeedStrategy.com, "no ill effects were noted at reasonable contamination levels," when chickens were exposed to cocklebur.
Mile Four feed is corn-free, but there is corn in our chicken scratch and if you find a kernel or two it's usually the batch after we mill scratch. We make scratch once a month to try to reduce this and after each scratch batch is milled we wash and clean all equipment and dry run augers but it's impossible to find every single kernel that may be hiding inside an auger.
If you find one or two kernels it's not indicative of a wider problem in our mill & definitely won't have a negative effect on your chicken's health.