We have three, and they are all similar in nutrition. Why change what works? They look different, though. Here’s one we invented:
Corn, Soy, and GMO-Free Natural Environments™
At Union Point Custom Feeds our mission is to provide farmers with unique solutions to the challenges of raising healthy animals in a sustainable manner. It’s easy to get birds to eat their “ice cream,” the grains and seeds. What’s hard to provide in a practical form is a palatable protein they will eat eagerly. And protein is the fuel needed for laying eggs and growing birds.
Birds have an instinctive drive to seek out food that matches the birds’ favorite shapes, sizes and colors. You’ve seen them attack a feed of mash or scratch grains. They peck out their favorite bits and sweep the less favored powdery ingredients like fish meal and camelina meal out of the way. When we owners realize they throw a lot of the most important and costly ingredients on the ground it is frustrating. Protein meals, vitamins and minerals and supplements like brewers’ yeast and kelp just don’t look like feed to birds, so they often end up left over in the bottom of the feeder. And that’s the expensive part, too. It’s a waste of money, and the birds end up not getting what they need. Powdery ingredients can be fed as a wet mash or fermented in a multi-step process, but that’s a solution with its own problems.
One answer is to feed a complete feed pellet, our Union Point Custom Feeds Corn, Soy, and GMO-Free Layer pellets, and that’s a very practical solution for many flock raisers, one we often recommend for its simplicity, its value and its guarantee that the birds are getting all they need. We have built our feeds to meet this need for years. Birds like them, they are waste-free, and it’s a practical, nutritionally dense solution that has built our reputation and pleased owners and birds alike for years.
Another answer to feed a combination product like our Natural Environments™ feed, a combination of high protein pellets, grains and seeds with a light basting of high Omega 3 vegetable oil. This has the advantage of providing the fun and beauty of the whole grains (pleasing to both owner and bird) with the protein meal in a pellet form that ensures the birds will eat it and not waste it. Protein meals are just too expensive to end up on the ground. Whole beans have anti-nutritional factors that rule them out. Peas would seem to be the perfect solution -- right size, shape, and color -- but research and on-farm trials have been disappointing. Birds can’t be counted on to eat enough of them unless they are disguised in pellet form. We have the best of both worlds with a pellet and whole seed combination.
We call it Natural Environments™ because we find all these ingredients growing here in the Pacific Northwest. Northwest grown wheat, flax seed, triticale, green, yellow and maple peas, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, milo, millet, sorghum and other native seeds are all things a chicken might find foraging in her local Natural Environment™. Natural Environments™ was developed as we were making feed for our own birds. We combined a specially formulated high protein pellet with our tremendously popular Sustainable Scratch™ and fed our research flock. The result was a feed that satisfied the nutritional needs of the birds and additionally pleased both humans and the hens’ appetite for fun, adventure, and satisfying food.
Mrs. Clucker’s 18% Layer Pellets with Pumpkin
It looks like a more traditional layer feed. It’s the same ingredients, but in a pelleted form. Imagine Natural Environments made into a pellet. Not so cute, but super efficient and a little less expensive because it is not as complicated a process.
Mrs. Clucker’s Layer Bits
The third one is just a variation of #2. Some of our people tell us their Bantams, Seramas and other little birds do better with a smaller pellet, so we make those, too. The ingredients are the same, we just set the knives on the pellet mill really close to the die and make really small pellets. Unlike a crumble, though, they are not dusty.