So, rather than let the birds go hungry and starve, I had no choice but to buy conventional grain. The kind young man who delivered it is a farmer too and we chatted about Round Up in the grain. He uses it and did not disagree when I said it is killing the world (at least North America), but he was not really intersted in that conversation. He just wanted to deliver the grain and get on with his day. The grain is a mix of a quarter of field peas, or feed peas, wheat, oats and barley and that is a good mix for the poultry and waterfowl. The ruminants do not get any grain at all. I got a truckload, ordered exactly a month ago on October 21st. All the grains were feed quality, meaning they are cleaned but not clean and chaff and other impurities are present The grain was augered into 4 one ton tote bags in the yard, the bags being attached to the forks of the skid steer for stability. Once full, the bags remain upright. Then I covered them with two tarps to help keep them dry, though over the winter, the bottom foot of grain will become damp and begin to mould when thawed.
I can no longer say my eggs will be organic, nor the birds, when eaten will be. If no organic feed is available in this area, then raising the birds becomes a whole different story and one that really deems a second thought. The birds are here to forage and keep the worms and insects down. They do that. Finally, the breeds I have acquired are excellent foragers and most can fly.
Secondary is the egg production. Here a dozen eggs sells for 2 dollars or 2.50 from the farmer. People do not pay for organic quality and do not care. Here, that it, they don't. So, the selling of the eggs does not pay for the feed, which came to $815.00 for this load. That will last until spring, but there is also the extras like oyster shells and grit that must be provided. About 50 birds were processed for food this year, all for the farm and bed and breakfast use only. I really do not want to use them for food if they are not organicially fed.
So, the options are: drive to Wetaskawin every 2 months and bring back a tote of organic feed. The cost will double with the fuel and the extra cost of the feed. Or, cut down the birds to maybe 5 geese, 10 ducks and a dozen chickens and buy less feed, but keep it organic.
I am likely going to do the last option. Once this grain is gone, the birds will be gone too, except for a small flock of a few. I am determined to remain organic. The small flock will only provide enough eggs for the farm and the foraging of insects will mean more mosquitos and flies in the yard, but oh well. A little glitch in the plan, this non organic grain, will not deter the overall focus for long. Onward we go….We farm!