When I first got hens, I didn’t understand how critical they would become to the entire system of my productive home. I just had that fresh-egg fantasy. You know the one: pastel-hued eggs in a Pinterest-worthy little wire basket. They would be laid by happy, fluffy hens and I would have omelets that were as ethical as they were delicious.
I’ve learned it’s more than just eggs. Way more. The chickens have become indispensable to my productive home and garden. They eat bugs and weeds and till soil. They generate the primary source of fertility for my vegetable garden. Their poop, composted with bedding and garden and kitchen scraps, saves me a ton of money on compost and fertilizer.
But three years ago, I was just thinking about enjoying the best, most ethical eggs possible. I started buying my chicken feed from a small, local, organic producer called Scratch and Peck Feeds and have been a very happy customer ever since.
As I’ve grown to observe the full role of the chickens in my garden, I think going with Scratch and Peck was one of the best decisions I could have made. My hens eat a diet free from GMOs or chemical herbicides or pesticides. The eggs we eat and the manure we compost for our vegetable garden reflects that. The input of high quality feed helps the whole cycle become healthier and stronger.
Meet Scratch and Peck
I reached out to the folks at Scratch and Peck Feeds and asked if they might want to come on board as a direct sponsor of NW Edible. I am beyond thrilled that they said yes, and I can share why I have been a customer of theirs for so long.
Scratch and Peck is a small family business, and shares the values that I and many of you do – organic production, support for local farmers and the importance of less processed foods (even for chickens!).
Here’s what you should know about Scratch and Peck Feed when you’re thinking about what to feed your flock:
- Every bag of feed is certified organic and independently verified as GMO-free by the Non GMO Project. Scratch and Peck was the first feed company in the United States to achieve GMO-free verification.
- All of Scratch and Peck’s feeds are soy and canola free. Some blends are also corn free.
- The grains and mashes used in the feed are not cooked, pelletized or reformed. Scratch and Peck’s feed is made with raw whole and cracked grains and peas. It looks like something you’d find in the bulk grain section of the health food store. Pelletized chicken feed, on the other hand, is a processed product where the grains and other feed ingredients are steamed, pulverized and run through an extrusion die. This is akin to how something like Corn Flakes are made.
- The bags used to package the feed are heavy paper and fully compostable, instead of the polypropylene used by most large feed companies. Let’s face it, unless you are opening an Etsy shop, no one really needs that many repurposed feed sack totes. I often use mine under bark as a natural weed block, or to cover up fallow beds in fall, like this (photo taken last November, long before Scratch and Peck became a sponsor):
- The grain used in Scratch and Peck’s feeds is grown locally by small farmers in the Pacific Northwest and milled in Bellingham, WA. I love that I support farmers in my backyard, not anonymous growers of giant soy and corn fields somewhere, when I purchase Scratch and Peck.
- Scratch and Peck’s chick starter is unmedicated. Scratch and Peck makes their feed for folks like me – involved small flock owners who are providing a healthy, clean, non-industrial environment for their chickens. They believe (and I agree) that in these conditions it is not necessary to preventatively feed animals anti-microbials.
- Scratch and Peck also makes feeds for turkeys, pigs and goats.
Time to make a tough decision.
Scratch and Peck is generously offering one lucky NW Edible reader their choice of either a Chick Starter Kit – which includes Chick Feed, Chick Grit and Diatomaceous Earth – or a 25-pound bag of Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed.
To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling me which prize you’ll pick if you win, and something you love about chickens that isn’t eggs. That’s it, one comment and you are entered to win.
Then, please check out the brand new redesign of the Scratch and Peck Website and make sure to like Scratch and Peck on Facebook or Twitter. (Say hi and tell ’em I sent you – they are very nice!).
Just in case you don’t win, between now and February 24th, Scratch and Peck is offering 10% off all products purchased on their website with the coupon code nogmos! (with the exclamation point).
Also, look, I’m gonna be frank about this: paying for shipping on something heavy like chicken feed can be prohibitively expensive. I get it. I strongly encourage folks to see if their local feed store is carrying Scratch and Peck. If they are, support your local feed store and buy there! If they aren’t, let them know you’d like to see the Scratch and Peck organic and GMO-free option available locally.
One entry per person. Contest open to addresses in the U.S. only. International readers, sorry but you are not eligible to win because of shipping costs. Contest open until Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 8 PM. One winner will chosen at random. Winner will be emailed and have 24 hours to respond to claim their prize.
Good luck, and a huge thank you to Scratch and Peck for helping to keep the lights on around here at NW Edible!0
Addie Schille says
I would pick Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed, because that’s what my flock loves to eat. I love how my flock helps turns my compost pile for me!
Layer feed, please. And, like everyone else, it’s hard to choose what I like best. The total package makes a content hen therapeutic.
Susan Hansen says
I would choose the starter kit.
I’m so very excited to get back into chickens and gardening this year after we move up to the property we’ve been building our “Fort” on. We call it our Fort because it’s reminiscent of when we were kids and built a fort to get away from the troubles of the world. Now as adults, we are lucky enough to have a place that we call The Fort!
I am really looking forward to hearing the girls (chickens) follow me around telling me all about their days. Makes me smile just thinking about it!
Kristen M. says
I would get the laying feed. My husband and I got our first hen a week ago! We were visiting a friend at her shop and she told us to start saving egg cartons for her. We made the comment that we were going to get some laying hens after we fixed up the old coop in the backyard. She told us that she new someone who was giving away a Buff Polish hen because she was being picked on by the others in her flock. After returning home, I stayed up late and reread all your chicken posts. They have been very helpful! We are looking into getting some more hens after we have finished with the coop.
Terra Vail says
I would choose the layer feed. I like watching my chickens. They have the funniest habits. My favorite is when one finds an especially good thing to eat and all the other chickens chase them to try and steal it.
Jen Bobodzhanov says
I would choose the chick starter. We are starting our own backyard flock this spring so our kids (and us)!can be more connected to each other and our land and our food 😉
Heather S says
I’d choose the Chick Starter feed!
Tiffany black says
I love to pet my chickens! And I love when they run to greet me!
Kelly O'Keefe says
I would choose the layer feed as my 6 hens would go nuts for it. I love staring into their beady little eye– I say “eye” because they seem to focus only one at a time.
i’d pick layer feed! i love watching chicken behavior and realizing that our chicken-related idioms are based on actual chicken society. cracks me up, especially when the hens run from a speck and i want to call them chickens. which, of course, they are.
angie lilly says
If I won, I would choose the 25-pound bag of Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed. 😀 I love chickens. I love how affectionate they are and all the gorgeous variety of feather patterns and sizes they have in their species. Truly gorgeous animals!
We love our social girls! They are so fun to watch as they run around the yard when they think they see something or one finds something and let’s the others know, so off they all run! They follow us around as we work, and they KNOW when you have the kitchen bucket in hand! Eggs are awesome, but we are so glad we have the girls, either way! Laying feed would be great!
I love watching my chickens do the chicken dance looking for bugs. Dust baths come in a close second. Never realized how entertaining they would be! I would choose the chick starter kit.
I love my chickens for all the ways they help make my garden/farm sustainable. The most amazing thing that I love about my birds is watching their life cycle; I have a Granddaddy rooster, his son, and hens that set and raise young. Two banty hens even shared one clutch of eggs and co-mothered the chicks. When they are elderly, they fill my stock pot with goodness that sustains my family. This generativity (is that a word?) fills me with a real sense of the cycle of life, and it’s preciousness, and this awareness spills out into the rest of my life, and helps influence the choices I make. And as a bonus, the eggs I sell seem to bring this same awareness and appreciation into the lives of my customers! Not a small feat for a bunch of 5 pound birds! (I’d enjoy the layer feed, or, more accurately, my “girls” would!)
Chicken feed :). What I love about hens is there ability to inspire and engage compassion, curiosity, and respect for life and where our food comes from. Thanks!
My hens would love the layer feed. During this cold weather, I like peeking into the hen house at night to see them all snuggled together.
My chickens have been eating Scratch n’ Peck Layer since I got them. It’s really the best. I know because when I was out of town for a month, my husband gave them some other brand (begins with P) and they looked horrible, had extra stinky watery poo and decreased egg production when I got home. I have friends who say the same.
What I love about chickens beside amazing eggs? The way they run to the backdoor every time I’m in the kitchen and all of their different songs, especially the “OooohmygoodnesslookIlaidanEGG ” song.
Bev T says
I would choose the layer feed. What I enjoy most about our chickens is just watching them when they are let out of their pen and seeing if they are going to visit the llamas or check out the cats. They definitely put a smile on our faces.
I’d take the layer feed as I have hens. Chickens make a landscape much more beautiful!
Thom Foote says
thanks for this contest. It is the only way I could afford this stuff. Granted it is organic and all of that but my god, $37+ for 25 lbs? This has got to be targeted at urban owners with 2 birds. this is ridiculous.
I would pick the starter feed (getting chicks later this spring). I love that chickens will do composting for me. Takes the drama out of trying to figure out ratios of green to brown, etc. =]
I would choose the 25# layer feed. I have 2 roosters and 25 pastured happy hens. We buy then organic non GMO no soy feed, but I love that these guys are PNW locals (I’m in Oregon, Portland metro area)
Two things I love about my chickens: watching them scamper off half jogging half bouncing along, it’s merry and comical and always makes me laugh; watching chickens is mesmerizing and just the best stress reliever ever. I also love the way they all run up to say hello in the early evening when I go out to gather eggs and throw them some scratch. They surround me like I’m the Pied Pipper, and we have a mass walk down to the coop, clucking all the way. Them, not me.
We have always fed our hens scratch and peck! I wouldn’t feed them anything else. You get what you pay for and my chickens have never been sick. Not to mention, what they eat goes directly into the egg – which is what we eat! And someday we will eat the chicken too. Having chickens adds another element of life to the garden. I live in Bremerton, and my chickens live 2 miles from the shipyard in an urban environment. They start conversations with my neighbors and people passing by. They have different personalities and are great at helping eat up garden and kitchen scraps, not to mention bugs! Our hens eat snails and slugs!
I would go for the layer feed. And I enjoy the sound of the hens just clucking away, especially when they announce they’ve laid an egg. They sound like they’ve won the lottery LOL
I would love to win the layer feed. I could watch my chickens all day, but their dust baths especially crack me up.
I would pick the feed because it’s cold right now and my hens are eating more food to stay warm!
I have one old hen who won’t stay in the coop. I have up trying so she’s been on her own for a year. She roosts in a tree as high as our house is tall (3 stories.) I have seen only one slug in our garden this year and she cleans up all the feed my kids spill. She will also chase the cat from her favorite outdoor sleeping spot, under the overhang of the house, to dust bathe.
Juli Morris says
I would love to win the 25# feed. My greedy girls love goodies! And this is super nice! Thanks for the giveaway!
Congratulations on another great sponsor! Excellent products! I love so many things about having chickens; I find them endlessly amusing and they eat slugs, slug eggs and snails! My neighbor (no chickens) has a big problem with slugs… Layer mash please.
I love looking out the window each morning to see 6 fluffy butts happily scouring the back yard for treats. Our chickens love Scratch and Peck, and we would love the #25lb bag of feed.
Crystal S says
Chick starter kit! I am getting my first ever chickens this spring.
I love how chickens look like little people with their hands tied behind their backs when they run. 🙂
I love Scratch and Peck! Would love to win a free bag of layer feed! I buy it locally from Naomi’s Organic Supply.
the thing I love most about my chickens is how they are integral to my organic homestead system. i just started letting them into the garden area to do their early spring “tilling”….then it started snowing….
I’m already a Scratch’n’Peck fan, and have been feeding my girls this delicious and life-affirming feed for several years. I buy from my food co-op or from a local feed store. I would love a bag of layer feed.
I love the way one chicken will just lose her mind, flap and fly for no obvious reason, then watch how many (usually not all) of the flock will decide to go along with the ride. This usually happens just after they’ve been released into wider yard from their protected coop.
Donna Barnett says
I would pick the 25 lb of Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed. I love it when my chickens come running to me when they hear me shaking the scratch can! Makes me feel loved! So fun…and they run so funny…always entertaining to watch! 😉
This feed sounds fantastic, I’d love to give it a shot. I definitely notice a difference in my girls with high quality food. No chicks for me this spring, I would love to try to the layer feed.
Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed
I like how surprisingly intelligent chickens are. I have had thirty – now five. Each has her own little curious personality, bold or timid
Ramona Mauser says
I love the funny antics of chickens. So entertaining!! I’d choose 25 lb of Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed if I were to win. Thanks for all of the great info!
Dessere Littleton says
I would love to win the chick starter kit! We are just starting our backyard chicken journey in the spring. I can not wait! We want to make sure the feed is Non GMO or organic and this would be an awesome addition. Thank you!
I would love the layer food! My favorite thing about owning chickens is the entertainment they provide!
Peggy Mauro says
25 lb bag of Organic Soy-free, Corn Free Feed would be wonderful as I only have a handful left in the current feed bag. Picking one thing to say about my 3 girls is more difficult than I thought. I live alone with my 10 year old Border Collie, so when I greet my girlss in the morning, their cooing and seemingly “excited to see me appearance”, brings me so much joy. When I am on the phone, I walk outside to let the person on the other end hear their cackles and coos and it makes the world go round.
I would love chick starter. I am struggling with the decision to start layers as the barriers to entry are significant in Mukilteo, my chickens could never forage on the lawn, and my small planting areas will eventually limit the consumption of compost (I think).
Long ago I raised fryers for a season and found them to be utterly charming lawn art and incomparable in flavor.
I envision fresh eggs and beautiful, happy birds. Winning would push the decision off the stall point.
christina p says
My kids and I just love their sweet, low cooing sounds. I find it so soothing and grounding. Their purring gets me to realizing that we really are nurturing one another. I’d pick the chick feed, as we’re “expecting.” : )
Erica E says
My grandparents had a flock of second hand/rehomed waterfowl and chickens while I was growing up. A confetti mix of bantams, a turkey necked rooster, an indian runner/khaki campbell conglomerate flock (prolific egg layers + naturally great mothering = duck explosion), and some odd roosters or hens that friends would drop off. The home grown eggs were great, but my favorite thing about the chickens was the bug hunting. On top of feeling like a beast master (Worship me feathery followers!) I just loved flipping rocks and boards to witness the excited aftermath of furious scratching and bug nabbing.
As far as the feeds go I’d probably go with the layer feed. I have a tentative plan to bring up backyard ducks with the landlord, and more feed is always great.
Speaking of chickens, after reading this I’m somewhat tempted to make miniature prosthetic dino tails for all of my cousin’s chickens. http://www.popsci.com/article/science/chickens-wear-prosthetic-dinosaur-tails-science
Heather Snyder says
The chick starter feed. My first ever chickies are coming in march.
Crazy tomato lady says
I would be thrilled for the layer feed. My neighbor across the street has 7 hens, but they travel all around the neighborhood. My toddler and I feed them and they come when we call! They love our composted scraps, and we love to have them follow us around the yard and watch them take dirt baths. We don’t have cable, so they are our entertainment! They eat right out of our hands.
I LOVE their products! We have 4 chickens in our urban backyard and I think our most favorite thing about them has been watching them grow and seeing how each has such a distinct personality, they’re hilarious! And they’ve become so much more than just egg layers/composters for us. I’d love a bag of the layer feed for my girls!
I love how they chase each other around their run when I give them good treats like meat or tuna. There could be a whole pile on the ground, but a few will chase the others for it rather than getting their own. Silly girls.
Also, how they come over or jump onto me/the bowl when I take them treats.
Aw crap. I forgot to say which one: the layer feed 🙂 esp since we already feed them Scratch and Peck
Chicken Starter. I do not have chickens, but I am planning on getting some as soon as possible. I love the nostalgia of country life and simpler times that owning chickens invoke.
I love my girls personalities. I would choose the layer feed. Thought I had already commented on this post but couldn’t find it, so please excuse if I’ve done it twice…
I’d choose the layer feed!! We have chickens and heritage turkeys. Farm only for our family so feed is part of our life. Honestly the best part of haveing chickens is when they become stewers!! yeah yeah, I know thats harsh but they DO taste the best, slow cooked all day, umm they taste like candy!!
and the fact they eat all our leftovers is pretty awesome. thank you. we LOVE scratch and Peck already!!!
I’ve been using Scratch and Peck feeds since they first opened up here in Bellingham. I love it, but my chickens love it more! I would pick the feed, no new chicks for us this spring.
My favorite thing about our chickens is their personalities. When they come up the back sliding door and peek in, give a little squawk and say “hey”.
Congratulations on getting Scratch and Peck as a sponsor, they really are a great company!