Our feed mixtures are carefully developed to ensure that a hen's every nutritional need is met in terms of nutrients, protein, electrolytes, sodium-balancing bi-carbonates, ground limestone for developing a strong egg shell, and much more.
Words by: Jesse Laflamme
You are what you eat, as they say.
We all know that a good diet is essential to good health. That’s one reason many of us eat eggs. And yet, too often, we don’t do a great job with our own nutrition, ill-advised temptations being abundant. At Pete and Gerry’s, our organic, Certified Humane, free range hens have it a little bit better. To begin with, their “treats” are finding insects in the grass. And when it comes to their main diet, they get the benefit of PhD nutritionists as their personal chefs, something few of us enjoy.
There are between 30 and 35 separate organic ingredients in our feed mix. And the mixture is adjusted continuously, based on the weather (cold or hot), the flock’s age and point in their laying cycle, general health, and a range of other factors. That’s why one of our feed advisors, Heritage Poultry Management Services, employs two full-time PhD animal nutritionists on their staff.
“People food is in the stone age compared to what these hens get for balanced nutrition,” says Les Morrison of Morrison Custom Feeds in Barnet, Vermont, another Pete and Gerry’s feed supplier. Feed mixtures are developed with a careful eye making sure that a hen's every nutritional need is met in terms of nutrients, protein, sodium-balancing bi-carbonates, ground limestone for developing a strong egg shell, electrolytes, and much more.
Contrast that to the giant factory farms making most of the eggs sold today, which use a “least cost formulation” for their feed. That means exactly what it sounds like — the cheapest possible feed that will give the hens enough calories to lay eggs that day. You can see and taste the result in the eggs.
There is a lot of science involved in our feed formulation, but one aspect of science that you won’t find in any of our feed is pharmaceuticals. But pharmaceuticals are something you will find in just about all the feed at factory farms, which make up 90% of the eggs sold in the U.S. According to Morrison, that’s just putting a Band-Aid on a problem that won’t actually fix it. “The way to keep birds healthy, besides feeding them properly, is to make sure their living environment is clean and not overcrowded” he says. “Good egg farmers are in their barns every day. They can see problems before they happen, sometimes just by listening to the birds” (quiet hen houses can be an indication of a virus starting to spread through the flock).
We don’t treat our Certified Humane free range hens prophylactically with drugs that are only going to decrease their resistance and then wind up in the eggs. We instead treat them with attentive care, give them plenty of freedom outside in the pasture and in the barn at night, and nourish them with organic feed.
Morrison concludes, after admitting to a weakness for potato chips in his own diet, that if he were to die and come back as a hen, he would hope to be a Pete and Gerry’s hen.
December 21, 2018
I see there is soy in the chickens' feed. Are there hazelnuts, peanuts or any derivatives of either in the feed?
December 22, 2018
Great question, Maya. There are no nuts of any kind or nut derivatives in our chicken feed.
December 08, 2018
I have IGg response to corn, not eggs and not soy. Yet, when I consume eggs where the hen has a diet *rich* in corn, I get sick. So, if you are to elaborate how much of the hens' diet is corn-as well as if the corn is organic vs GMO, I might be able to enjoy your eggs!
Looking forward to hearing from you!
November 15, 2018
I wish you had soy free eggs. Soy is present in most foods this days and as a cancer survivor I avoid soy at any cost even though it is highly rich in nutrients, protein and amino acids it can change hormone balance resulting in excessive production of estrogen, consequentely resulting in cancer and many other problems. The only way soy is safe to be consumed is as miso and it must be naturally fermented for at least 180 days, other then that should be avoided. Please consider selling SOY FREE eggs. Thank you
Hi Paul, although there are cheaper alternatives to corn and soy, they typically aren’t as effective and can decrease egg production and even egg size, which can pose problems both for our partner farmers and our consumers. Continuing to keep up with the latest research on soy and other feed sources is important to us, and we'll certainly be on the lookout for alternatives that fit our hens' and consumers' needs in the future.
November 11, 2018
Are there any trace of soy on the hens food supply?
November 12, 2018
Hi Faye, two of the primary ingredients in our chicken feed are organic soy and organic corn. The soy provides the hens with protein to supplement what they consume in the pasture, while the corn provides carbohydrates essential to their diets. Let us know if we can answer any follow-up questions!
October 14, 2018
What do you feed the hen exactly is any of the feed gmo
March 11, 2019
90%of corn is GMO even non GMO can become GMO from air born unless tested regularly which most are not.
October 15, 2018
Great question, Timmy! Our chicken feed is primarily made up of organic corn and soy, which provide the hens with carbohydrates and protein, both essential to their diets. All of the ingredients in our feed are USDA Certified Organic, which means they are free of GMOs and synthetic pesticides.
July 09, 2018
February 27, 2018