From cereals to snack bars, soy and corn can be found in the ingredient list of numerous foods we consume but did you know most of our meat products consume it as well? The great thing about raising all our livestock on pasture is the decrease in the amount of feed used. We do not keep our chickens or pigs on full feed and we know they are getting some of their nutrition from grass, bugs and seeds. That being said, our feed mix plays a large roll in their diet so we are continually analyzing what feed would be best for them. This year is a trial phase to see if we could raise our chickens and hogs on feed without soy and corn. We were currently buying all organic from a local feed mill but after looking over the labels and researching, we enlisted the help from Perry Milling, a local Kansas Mill, in creating a soy and corn fee mix. We even went as far as creating a gluten free mix for our chickens.
Why would we do this? If your an ingredient reader like me, you quickly realize soy and corn can quickly be spotted on various product ingredient lists. Most processed foods typically will contain one of if not both. I’m not saying either are necessarily bad for you but anything consumed in high amounts makes me question the health benefits. Like all things, consumed in moderation is probably fine but leaves the question, how much is too much? I don’t think anyone has great answer and the health benefits are controversial.
Another reason we are trying out a new feed mix devoid of those ingredients is the environmental impact of GMOs. The thought process behind GMOs is the seeds have been modified in a lab so they can sustain large amounts of herbicides in the field to reduce weeds and in turn produce more. When going non-GMO we are hoping to be buying grains that are not sustaining large amounts of chemicals to be produced. Soy and corn are the two biggest crops grown in America, so makes since they have been the most tested and modified over the years. By adding other ingredients to our feed mix we are hoping to support farmers who diversify their planting such as adding peas to crop rotation which can add nitrogen back into the soil naturally and act like ground cover, reducing erosion.
By eliminating a couple ingredients we are hoping to reduce some of the soy and corn in our diet as we consume plenty in other aspects of our food. Sourcing other ingredients will also help in some of the mass quantities of chemicals used and support farmers who grow more than one variety of crop. Here at Cackling Owl we believe in more than a mono system and farms can benefit from diversity. If you have sensitivities to certain foods or are looking for a more humanely nutritious food source, I encourage you to try out our chicken, pork and eggs!