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
We love the waste they eat! Food scraps are well loved by the crew!
scratch and peck layer is also served here so we’d choose that one. Thank you.
Cheryl hughey says
I would pick the layer feed as I love to do the best for my little fertilizer producers. I love watching them and find it relaxing.
Brook Hinton says
I would pick the starter kit! What do I love about chickens? The way they can shred a pile of yard/kitchen waste into gold for the garden in no time flat! They are truly amazing!
I would pick the chick starter because i plan to hatch more chicks this year. I love the many vocalisations chickens make!
I’d take the layer feed, I’m glad my chickens have reduced my string trimmer usage at the bottom of our yard. Not so glad they reduced the ability for the ferns to grow…
Terry Fest says
Chickens are simply the best addition we have added to our farm life via our daughter. She lives next door and is an organic /homemaker/farmer. Chickens were their first purchase. Something about watching them peck around, greet you and just represent everything good about life. I love the joy they spread by the happy nature, curious and busy posturing. They are challenged by our grandchildren chasing them and playing with them. They chase back. The fact that we get food from these affordable, ancient, valuable animals is just the golden egg. The joy of walking out the door at any time of the day and hunting for the egg is so simple yet so precious. Mostly, I love how they keep you in the moment and make you aware. The egg and meat itself is just the secret of it all.
Terry Fest says
Should you decide to gift us with a prize from your stock, I think the layer feed is what my daughter would use. I forgot to mention that above.
Danielle G says
LOL. My mom’s post above. I hope she remembers waxing poetic about my hens next time I call her for help cleaning the coop 😉 I hope this doesn’t sound awful because I truly love everything about our hens during their lives with us roaming the farm, but I really really also love the broth they provide at the end of their tenures. Layer or chick start — both will get used.
By the way, we get Scratch & Peck through Azure via our local organic food store. That is a great way to avoid shipping costs – find an Azure supplier! We get affordable organic whole grains for our hogs from Azure too.
I love to just watch my hens bumble around scratching and chasing bugs. Truly therapeutic! I would love to try the layer feed. We have too many predators around for chicks.
I would love the layer feed. We have high hopes of adopting chickens this year.
I would pick the feed! If i got even more baby chicks this year, I’d be in so much trouble! Haha 😉
Oops, and I forgot to say, the best thing about chickens are their hilarious (and sometimes exasperating) antics and personalities!! Oh, and teaching my little about where our happy food comes from and how much care and work it takes. 🙂
Shari B says
I would pick the feed as we are getting new chickens soon. Organic is the only way to go and if we only buy organic and the other GMO feed does not sale hopefully all will realize that organic is better and more and more farmers will be growing organic feed.
Carly B. says
I would pick the Chick Starter, as the local store carries layer and broiler feed but it is harder to find organic chick feed and I need to be prepared for the chicks I will be getting. One of my favorite things about my chickens is how they will come running to me when I get home since I let them roam the property. It is hilarious to see my flock running towards me, probably expecting foo.
I will pick the chick starter kit! We’re getting our first chicks at the end of February and I’m going to be so happy to start them out right!
Chickens are going to get me and the boys out in the yard…who can resist them, they’re just to fun. Our large yard has been a large mess for too many years and with Chicken Project 1.0 in the works, we are cleaning it up and preparing. Its even getting the boys away from the Xbox!
The Downtown Homestead says
I would pick the layer feed. I love that my hens eat all the slugs and grubs I can find when I am digging in the soil. I love that each of my 6 hens has a different personality. Our city requires them penned, so I can’t let them roam, but the deep litter system helps nourish my garden.
Kristina Cool says
I would choose the chick starter kit because I will be getting chicks this spring/summer!
Of course I am excited about the prospect of eggs, but I am also looking forward to plenty of chicken byproduct… poop!… for my garden.
I would choose the 25 lb of Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed.
I am most excited by the fact that all 11 of my chickens come running when they hear our side door open. And then they follow us around, patiently waiting for scraps or seeds.
Lisa Kingsley says
I would love to win the Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed. I love my chickens (aka “feather babies”) and want to feed them only the best. One of the things I love the most about my chickens is that they come running to me every time they see me. They probably think of me as the treat lady, but I like to think it’s because they love me back!
Scratch and Peck feed please.
I never knew that chickens could have such personalities until we got some. I love how, when I show up in the garden with a shovel, they know I’m going to dig and coming running. I love how, when I call them with a “Chick chick chick”, they know they are going to get scraps and come running. I love how they scrunch down when I’m about to pick them up. I love how they hide in the bushes.
Debbie D. says
If I won, I’d like the Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed. What I love about my chickens are the different personalities. They are so funny and unique. I just love getting a cup of tea, sitting in my swing on the deck and watching them run around the backyard.
I’ve had 3 hens for about a month and I have enjoyed it so much more than I expected. I love watching them from the dining table. Kicking up leaves cracks me up. And today I watched them chase a fat squirrel right up a tree. They make me laugh often. If selected I’d choose the layer feed. Thanks! And congrats on the new sponsor!
I would pick Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed. And I love the noises they make. So cute!
I would pick the 25 lb bag of feed. We’ve had our ladies for 3 years now and I can’t tell you how many laughs they have brought us. From their crazy raptoresque running around to their silly faces and noises. I literally smile daily looking at these ladies and can’t imagine going back to an empty yard.
I would choose the 25 lb of Naturally Free Chicken Layer Feed. I love watching chicken cluck around and they way they move, eat and run.