How did Hiland Naturals come about employing good sources of Non-GMO?
It’s getting easier for us to find sources for our Non-GMO Project Verified grains. People are becoming more knowledgeable and farmers are growing more of it so we actually have farmers calling us quite often letting us know that they have them available. Our strategy at Hiland is to work with local farmers whether that’s in PA at that mill, Ohio, Arkansas, and now Texas. We try to stay local for several reasons. We get to know the farmer and try and build a long-term relationship and work with them for several years, that way we know what we’re getting and trucking. It costs a lot to move the grains and if we can get it local to each of our mills that saves us money which in turn allows us to keep the prices down on the feed. Our number one goal is to buy it from farmers we know and we trust and then test clean because we test each load that comes into each milk and then just work with local farmers and build that relationship because thats really important to us.
What is the partnership that Hiland Naturals has with the Farmer Veteran Coalition?
The Farmer Veteran Coalition is a non-profit organization that looks to support veterans who are actively farming independent farmers. Our partnership with them allows us to offer a discount program for all of their members. If you are a member of the farmer veteran coalition you can receive 5% off of your feed order from Hiland Naturals. If you are not a member but you are a veteran that actively farms, this is a great opportunity! We can partner with you to help provide you with feed at a discounted price just for being a part of the Farmer Veteran Coalition. You can become a member by going to farmvetco.org. It’s free to join!
Why is the layer ration so powdery?
All of our feeds are mashed. We don’t want to add any extra ingredients which is necessary with binding agents for pellets and crumbles. There’s also a heating process the feed needs to go through for a pellet or a crumble so we try to avoid that and do nothing but a mash in all of our feeds.. If your chickens are coming from a pellet or a crumble it may take them a little bit to get used to a mash. A couple things to remember: lift your feeder up off of the ground and make sure it’s up off the ground so that they can’t scratch it out on the ground too much and force them to eat it. Make them clean up the fines because they are the nutrients and minerals in the feed. We do have a feed that is similar to a scratch. It’s our whole grain layer. A lot of our customers like this because it uses very coarse whole grains and has a cracked corn type of consistency.
Will you pelletize your feed? Do you see significant differences in waste?
Hiland Naturals has no plans at this time to pelletize the feed. To pelletize feed it takes heat and anytime we heat up grains we lose a lot of nutritional value. Plus all the customers like seeing all the different grains inside our feed. If you’re switching your birds from a pellet to a Hiland Naturals mash, we recommend that you get your feeders off the ground to about the back height of a hen. This will cut down on any waste.
Why is it every once and a while I have a very small egg from one of my hens?
There are a few factors that could cause this. But if you have a good balanced feed ration, the most common issue is going to be a fairy egg. The reproductive system may have had some kind of disturbance and so the hen starts creating the egg in it’s reproductive cycle without first developing a yolk. So what you get is a small egg that is pretty much yollk-less.
Why have I had two shell-less eggs this week?
There are a few things that can cause a soft or shell-less egg. The most common is a lot of salt in your hens diet. This can come from water that is going through a water softener or it could come from scraps or snacks that you’re feeding your chicken. The second thing is you could possibly have a chicken with a defective shell gland. Or even more unlikely would be that your chickens are coming down with infectious bronchitis. But those aren’t nearly as common as high salt content in their diet.