We are excited to announce our upcoming field day for poultry growers interested in feeding food scraps to laying hens. We are in the process of wrapping up a year and a half of SARE funded research evaluating the efficacy and viability of feeding laying hens on a ration of compost made with locally available food scraps. We've been gathering data on productivity, egg nutrition, pathogens, and labor and cost requirements, while also looking at best management practices and scalable infrastructure. In addition to feeding operations, we will cover food scrap collection systems.
The event will be held October 21st from 10am-3pm and will include a tour of operations at Black Dirt Farm and Vermont Compost Company, as well as discussion on the practice and our findings. Download a poster for the event here >
Black Dirt Farm, in Stannard, operates a commercial food scrap collection route collecting 20 tons of discarded food weekly. Approximately 15 tons are delivered to other farms while 5 tons per week are brought back to the farm for blending into a compost mix and fed to laying hens. What the hens do not consume is composted and either spread on the farm or sold in bulk. A small percentage is removed from the composting process and made into worm castings for retail sales. We also raise broiler chickens, turkeys, make hay, and log with our draft horses. Vermont Compost Company, in Montpelier, has been a pioneer in the practice of feeding food scraps and compost to hens. VCC is a commercial compost producer specializing in potting mixes and specialty compost products. They receive food scraps from the Central Vermont Solid Waste District and integrate hens into their composting operations. It is estimated that Vermont's food scraps could feed over 500,000 laying hens. With Vermont's Universal Recycling Law now in place, there is an opportunity for poultry farmers to be an important part of this statewide infrastructure and recycling system, and benefit from this abundant resource.
Please share this event widely with anyone you know interested in poultry or organics management.