Twin Creeks Farms- Wesley Stephens and Bethany Stephens

  (Council, North Carolina)
Providing layers, natural beef, pork, & fresh chicken
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We are finally making our own feed.

After struggling to find feed that is free of animal by products locally, we have started to make our own. We have a hammer mill that was purchased by my great-grandfather in the early 50's but was idle for close to 50 years. We were able to get it in tip-top shape with only a little cleaning and oiling. We can now formulate our own custom rations at a significantly lower cost. This development also allows us to support our local economy more. We grow some of our own corn but we currently don't have enough production and storage capacity to meet all of our needs, so we have to buy a large portion of our corn. We can now purchase it from fellow farmers in our community instead of having to use corn that is hauled long distances and the money stays in our local economy. If any of our customers are interested in buying feed from us or having a custom formulation made, we will be glad to supply it. 

Our recommendations for feeding laying flocks.

We have had a lot of questions about what our customers should feed their laying hens after they purchase pullets from us, and here are our recommendations. We use a good quality starter feed of approximately 20% protein until chickens reach about 16-18 weeks of age and switch them to a layer ration with oyster shells offered free choice. There are many quality brands available, and the brand you choose will probably depend on which feed dealer is most convenient. Since starter/grower and layer feeds are complete rations which are scientifically formulated to meet the dietary requirements of poultry, we advise against the use of scratch feed, as it effectively "dilutes" the nutrients present in a complete feed. Nutritional deficiencies can manifest themselves in many ways, often with very detrimental results.

Questions have also arisen about the feeding of vegetable scraps, and we have found this to be a good practice. When birds are free-ranged, we recommend offering feed, especially to laying hens. In an area with plenty of natural forage, it is quite possible for chickens  to perform very well without supplemental feed, but if there is any doubt about whether or not your chickens can obtain enough nutrition from nature, feed should be offered. Regular feeding in the same place also keeps chickens roosting there and makes management much easier.

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