Knowing the ingredients to a feed is a good start to knowing if a feed is nutritious. At New Country Organics we use only North American grains, and we carefully source all of our ingredients to make sure that they’re as wholesome for the planet as they are for the animals we’re feeding. You may have wondered, though, why we chose this or that ingredient over another. These questions arise often enough that we thought it might be nice to give everyone a brief overview of why we love the ingredients we use.
Alfalfa is our primary source of forage – fibrous leafy greens – for our feeds. It’s richer than grasses in protein, calcium, and several micronutrients while still being fibrous enough to aid in digestion. It’s also a great way to give extra color to egg yolks without sacrificing vitamins or minerals.
These are known by a variety of names including: Cowpea, ladypea, zipperpea, and southern pea. Despite all these names, they aren’t true garden peas, but are instead a legume from the same family as garden peas and in the same species as black-eyed peas – a kind of bean! As such, they’re more protein dense and have a lower sugar content than garden peas while still being delicious and nutritious. They also come in a broad variety of colors. Some are the bright green you would see in a garden pea, but the vast majority of these legumes are yellow. You may also see them in shades of brown, red, or even purple and blue!
Wheat is considered very tasty by most livestock, and comes with a hefty load of carbs to give your animals the energy they need to grow and play. This grain is digested super quickly and has very balanced amino acids – the building blocks of proteins – which makes it a favorite for boosting energy content in feeds.
There are also a few kinds of wheat, so we’ll stick to the basics of red, white, and durum. Durum wheat is a different species of wheat from both red and white, and it’s the hardest of all wheats. It’s also a little bit lower in gluten despite its high protein content, and as a result it’s very popular as a pasta flour because it lacks some of the springiness that more glutenous wheats lend to breads. However, because of this lack of bread-bounciness, it also lacks presence in the market, making it a bit pricey. The two most common kinds in the market are red wheat and white wheat and they come in two types – hard, and soft wheats. Red wheat and hard wheat both have higher protein contents than white and soft wheats, so a hard red wheat will have the highest protein content of all wheats. This is the kind that we offer to you!
Barley, much like wheat, is very tasty and carbohydrate rich, as well as having an amino acid profile with strengths where corn’s has weaknesses. It digests more slowly than wheat, which is great for keeping animals from eating too quickly and getting indigestion. It’s also been shown to improve milk production in cows and have anti-inflammatory effects in numerous animals.
Oats are considered the tastiest grain of all by many livestock. It’s also the highest in fiber of all the grains while still being super digestible. This, among a few other reasons, is why it’s been shown to be the least likely to cause tummy troubles of all the grains, which makes it a great choice to balance out a high-grain feed.
Corn is the most energy dense grain of all grains, which makes it fantastic for keeping animals warm in winter or playful and active in summer. It has a very low fiber content, making it easy and quick for all those carbs to get into an animal’s system. Being yellow itself, it also gives a nice yellow color to egg yolks.
Milo, also known as sorghum milo, is a wonderful plant. It’s very drought resistant for a grain, which makes it appealing to grow instead of corn, leading to greater biodiversity. It’s been shown to have comparable nutritional value to corn as well, though being digested more slowly than corn it can help keep blood sugar level while still providing a high energy value. The only reason we don’t use more of this lovely grain is because it contains enough tannins that some animals find it bitter, and those tannins have been known to chelate some minerals, which makes them unavailable to the body. Most of our milo has reduced tannin levels, so we formulate with those picky eaters in the flock and herd in mind, as well as to maintain the best possible nutrition in our feeds.
This high fiber, high protein, high fat seed meal is an all-around powerhouse. It’s packed with healthy vitamins and minerals, and has a tasty, almost sweet, nutty smell that all varieties of livestock seem to love.
This seed oil is heart healthy and high in poly-unsaturated fats like omega-3 oil, as well as being satisfying and delicious. It works to make your animals coats and feathers shiny and strong.
Flax seed Oil
Flax seed is known for being incredibly rich in omega-3 oil, as well as generally one of the healthiest oils out there. From heart to hoof, this oil keeps your animals strong, sleek, and shiny.
Flax seed itself, much like flax oil, is rich in omega-3 oil, but it’s also even more rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Much like sunflower meal, this seed meal is dense in fat, fiber, and protein. It’s especially low in lectins, which are a broad category of carbohydrate binding proteins. Some of them are produced naturally in an animal’s body for a variety of purposes, but others, like the ricin found in soybeans, have been shown to cause severe gastrointestinal upset. We use sesame meal as a primary ingredient in our lectin light feed.
Fish meal has the most balanced amino acid profile of any of our feed ingredients, while also being super nutrient dense. We love it for our omnivore species because it packs a huge protein punch while being tasty and delivering iron, calcium, phosphorus, and numerous other essential nutrients.
Crab meal has many similarities to fish meal in its amino acid profile, protein content, and healthy fats. One major difference, however, is just how much calcium is in this yummy seafood meal! Crabs make their shells from calcium carbonate, which is the same material eggshells are made out of. Using crab meal in a feed gives it an extra boost of calcium for those hardworking hens.
Kelp is flat out amazing. Its salty taste makes it superbly palatable, and it’s exquisitely rich in nutrients – especially iodine, which can otherwise be hard to get from non-mineral sources. Further, it’s very easy to grow and harvest, helps foster ocean life, and is just all-around good for the whole planet. We love it so much, in fact, that all of our house-blend minerals have a kelp base!
We provide three kinds of kelp from Thorvin, our favorite organic kelp provider: Nature’s kelp, Kelp for Animals, and Foliar Kelp. Kelp for Animals is the highest quality kelp we can find. It’s grown in Iceland and incredibly dense in a variety of essential micronutrients. Nature’s Kelp is a finer grind of Icelandic kelp so that you can more easily blend the kelp into feeds or minerals, as well as being slightly less nutrient dense. This slight difference in nutrition allows us to bring it to you at a reduced cost, while still being a quality product. Foliar kelp, meanwhile, has been naturally treated to become water soluble, allowing it to seep into the soil and nourish your plants.
Diatomaceous earth, also known as shellflour, fossil flour, and silicon dioxide among other names, is wonderful for keeping feeds fresh without the use of artificial preservatives or deterrents. It keeps pests out by dehydrating them to death upon contact, and prevents mold growth by absorbing more than twice its weight in water. As a bonus, it’s 100% safe to eat and may help with bone development in growing animals.
Garlic is a truly wonderful plant. Not only is it oh-so-very tasty, it also has been shown to have numerous positive effects on digestion and health. These include fewer stomach upsets, fly repelling abilities, and better nutrient utilization.
Probiotics are helpful microbes that are eaten in a ration to eventually end up in the gut. These have been shown in numerous studies to improve everything from muscle gain to general happiness, and can help keep tummy troubles from happening. Because there are so many helpful bacteria, yeasts, and products there-from that we use in our various feeds, we’ve just written the full list of them and how they may appear on our labels down below.
active dry yeast, saccharmomyces cerevisiae yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae fraction, brewers dried yeast, b. bifidum, b. longum, bacillus subtilis, dried bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried bacillus licheniformis fermentation product, bifidobacterium animalis, bifidobacterium thermophilum fermentation product dehydrated, dried aspergillus niger fermentation extract, dried aspergillus oryzae fermentation extract, dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried trichoderma longibrachiatum fermentation extract, enterococcus faecium fermentation product dehydrated enterococcus thermophilus, l. bulgaricus, l. delbruekii, l. fermentum, dried lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, l. plantarum, lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, lactobacillus acidophilus, dried lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, lactobacillus casei fermentation product dehydrated, dried lactobacillus casei fermentation product, l. casei, lactocuccus lactus.
Vitamins, as we all know, are pretty important. They’re organic compounds distinct from other nutrients that are essential for cell function. In other words, they have at least one carbon atom, aren’t proteins, fats, fiber, etc., and help keep you healthy. In a future article, we’ll do a quick overview of a couple of the functions of each vitamin in this list, but for this short summary we’ll just write out the list of all the vitamins you might see on one of our labels below.
Biotin, choline chloride, cobalt carbonate, d-calcium pantothenic acid, d-pantothenic acid, folic acid, menadione dimethylpyrimidinol bisulfiteniacin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, riboflavin, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin a supplement, vitamin b12 supplement, vitamin d3 supplement, vitamin e supplement, vitamin k supplement.
Minerals, much like vitamins, are super important. They are inorganic substances or compounds that may or may not be essential to cell function. For the purposes of animal feed and nutrition, you could also say these are elements, rocks, or molecules made from rocks that living things need to stay happy and healthy. We’ll also do a short overview of a couple of things each of our minerals do, at some point, and why there are different forms of the same mineral. For now, here’s the list of the minerals you might find on one of our labels.
Calcium iodate, choline chloride, cobalt carbonate, cobalt glucoheptonate, copper lysine complex, copper sulfate, crushed limestone, monocalcium phosphate, dicalcium phosphate, dolomite, ferrous sulfate monohydrate, ferrous sulfate, limestone, high calcium lime, high calcium limestone, powdered lime, powdered limestone, hydrated sodium calcium aluminosilicate, iron sulfate, magnesium oxide, manganese carbonate, manganese methionine complex, manganese oxide, manganese sulfate, potassium chloride, silicon dioxide sodium bicarbonate, sodium calcium aluminosilicate, sodium selenite, sulfur, sea salt, salt, ancient sea salt with natural trace minerals, zinc carbonate, zinc methionine complex, zinc sulfate.
Ingredients That Don’t Quite Fit
These are usually ingredients that come with the probiotic, mineral, or vitamin supplements that we use in our feeds, but also includes organic sugar, which is sometimes used in our custom-made feeds. The vast majority of them are ingredients used in growing the microbes for probiotics and come packaged with them in teensy tiny amounts from our suppliers, but there are a few notable exceptions. All of these appear in very, very small quantities, often less than a pound per two-thousand pounds of feed, and usually because they’ve been mostly eaten by the microbes that grew on them. Because this list is short, we decided to expand upon these here.
- Dl Methionine
- This essential amino acid is hard for poultry to get enough of, and poultry feed is the only place you’ll see this ingredient. It comes in a ration nutrient balancer made specially just for poultry.
- Grain Products/Grain Byproducts/Cereal Grain Products
- Various kinds of grains (such as wheat) that are used in varying amounts to grow microbes.
- A kind of white clay used to help microbes stay healthy in one of our probiotic mixes.
- Organic Mineral Powder
- A blend of minerals to help grow microbes.
- Organic Sugar Cane Molasses
- Sugar for microbes
- Organic Cane Sugar
- Sugar for microbes and an ingredient in our custom feeds for large farms.
- Organic Wheat Middlings
- High protein food for microbes
- Reed-Sedge Peat
- Helps keep microbes healthy and moist as they grow
- Sea Salt
- Microbes need salt too, sometimes, as it turns out. The primary salt we use in our feeds is the “ancient sea salt with trace minerals.”
- Vegetable Oil
- From non-soy sources (we checked with our supplier) and also only food for microbes.
- Yeast Growth Media
- You guessed it, it’s for growing microbes.