Learning at the Feed Store

Have I said lately how much I love my little town?  We have a chain type farm supply store but we also have a little farm supply store that, from what I understand, used to be owned by a couple but they sold it to a small chain but they still manage it.  They are so helpful!  They’re friendly and everyone who goes in there is treated like a friend.  I suppose everyone who goes in there might be their friends . . except for us since we are kinda new and aren’t really farmers at all.

Know what I learned in there yesterday?  Remember how little my baby chicks were when I first got them?  These are chickens for laying.  My chicks are about 9 or 10 weeks old now.  They’re still kinda small compared to a chicken you’d buy in the store to eat.  (I’m not eating mine!)  But if you get the tiny little chickens, same size as mine were when we first got them, and you get the kind that are for eating (meat birds), it only takes 6 weeks from hatching to butchering!  I think that’s amazing.

And, I learned that you can load up the live chickens, take them about 40 miles into Kansas and there’s a place there, with a USDA meat inspector always on site.  They do all the dirty work.  You go back the next day and get your chickens, wrapped, and frozen . . ready for the freezer.  I might could do that!  Not with the current birds.  They’re my friends!  But, just something to think about.

And, I learned all about this!  Please click to enlarge the picture.


This was on the side of a truck parked at the feed store.  Bull testing?  I wanted to know what it was but since it was a man, I was afraid a lady shouldn’t ask so I had Vince ask.  How interesting!  He takes bulls from all over the country and keeps them for a certain amount of time, feeds them a certain type feed . . kind of a test feed I guess, and weighs them and sees how they progress.  Bulls that grow nice and big are supposed to produce babies that do the same so if your bull scores high on the “bull test”, you can get more money for your baby cows!

And, the guy who does it was driving this nice, big, fancy smancy Dodge Ram pickup that he WON through Purina.  He kept meticulous records of how the bulls did eating all the Purina feed he fed them, sent the data in to Purina and won a new truck.  The people at the feed store were saying that in the past, Purina has always given a new truck to the bull tester AND a new truck to the feed store where he bought his feed.  Wouldn’t you know it . . this year they only gave a truck to the bull tester and not to the feed store!  Oh well . .

Anyway . . you might want to hang out at your local feed store.  See how much you can learn there?  <G>



  1. 1


    You are really enjoying living in Nevada, Mo…… From your description it is a friendly town. Full of interesting people.

    Glad to hear that soon you will be eating your own eggs.

  2. 2

    dawn says

    next thing you know Judy will be a “bull tester”. LOL too funny. interesting though. You have the most fun I tell ya………
    keep up the interesting stories. you are the first blog I read when I get up and online. always makes my day to see what adventures you get into.

    Dawn in MA

  3. 3

    Evelyn says

    Home fed, free range chickens are soooo much better than the growth hormone fed chicken that is pumped full of salt water to make it heavier at the store. 6 weeks is not a long time to have your freezer full of much healthier meat. My grandparents were chicken farmers in the 1920’s – they had a HUGE barn and each year they moved their laying chickens up 1 floor – when the chickens reached the top floor they were slaughtered. Also – with the laying chickens – I remember the stories of them vacinating all their chickens – I don’t know if people still do that now or not – or if it is just the big chicken farmers. By the time I came along they were retired and there the barn sits to this day (now my aunts) – empty and in pristine condition WITH the old Ford pick-up and John Deere tractor in there – not driven in over 40 years! Just some more questions to ask the feed store! Cheers! Evelyn

  4. 4


    Feed stores are great, I always love reading the notes tacked to the wall that people put up selling various items or offering services. If you decided to grow out chickens for your freezer, pick up an incubator and buy eggs instead of chicks, otherwise it’s not cost effective.

  5. 5

    Toni says

    My husband worked at the local hardware store when we first moved here. Talk about local color, he always came home with a new story! Small towns can be fun.

  6. 6


    A bull tester! Maybe we could hire him to check out one of your recent blog commenters ‘cuz I suspect he’s full of bull!

  7. 7


    I spent my teen years working on my Uncle’s fryer farm………2 barns full of 12-15,000 baby chicks in each barn. When they arrive at 1 day old, they take up maybe 1/10th of the barn, live under lights, eat food full of chemicals, drink and poop. After 6-8 weeks the barn was a sea of white birds, we would catch them, stuff them into crates that were stacked on a truck and off they went. I was making $12-$15 a night-1 night per barn–I was making some serious money!! Oh the smell–ammonia burnt lungs for days afterwards–eeeech.

    A bull tester–who thought up that job??? How awesome for him to win a brand new truck.

  8. 8


    CJ’s suggestion was smart! BUT I’d like to add that a broody hen is better than any incubator, so if The Girls turn out to like going broody at the drop of the hat, set one on some eggs.

    Of my 6 banties, 3 are broody at the moment. :o( Not laying, trying to set the 2-3 eggs the others lay, and growling at me every time I try to get them to move! They’re so funny. The only thing cuter than a baby chick is a broody hen.

  9. 9


    Sorry to tell you, but you are considered a farmer. Make sure you keep track of everything you spend on them (feed, equipment, etc), and tell your accountant at tax time! 🙂

    • 9.1


      We attended a “chicken raising seminar” and according to what we were told, since we don’t plan to sell eggs or anything, we’re not considered a farmer. This is a hobby for us.

  10. 10

    Linda says

    Sure wish my small town was as interesting as yours.
    Bull tester……….never heard of it before, see I learned something too.
    Not sure the IRS would consider you a farmer, as someone suggested, unless there’s a profit motive involved. Might involve a minimum amount of property as well….ask the accountant.

    • 10.1


      We’re not a farmer according to IRS rules . . we don’t intend to do it as a business. We don’t plan to sell eggs . . they’re for our own use.

  11. 11


    No bull testers in my neck of the woods but plenty of BULL **** throwers!!!!! Can’t wait until your chickens start laying and you get eggs. What age do yours have to be when they will start laying eggs?

    • 11.1


      They tell me they have to be 5 months old so I’m looking for eggs towards the end of July. I’m going to be gone quite a bit around that time . . they’ll probably lay their first eggs while I’m gone! 🙁

  12. 12


    Hey Judy, I was clearing off the coffee table (no room left for coffee!) — would you like all 2007 issues of Backyard Poultry? I’d be glad to mail them to you.

  13. 13

    Sandra (Sandy Gail) says

    When the hens get too old for egg laying you make chicken and dumplings out of them. Nothing like a tough old hen simmered all day for wonderful broth! Unless of course you can’t bear to eat your little friends 🙂

    • 13.1


      I’m betting that little gray one may be the first one to turn up in dumplings or gumbo! No, I don’t know that I could ever eat my own chickens.

  14. 14


    If you get 25-50 broilers, you will not get as attached to them as your 9 friends are for you right now. Broilers are different from layers.
    What a wonderful thing to bring them to be butchered. We used to do a day of butchering; 50-100 chickens. Set up assembly line-catch/kill/bleed/scald/pluck/singe/butcher/cool/pack/freeze. I would do all but the kill–Dad and Grandpa’s job. My brother and sisters would pick and choose among the stations, but we all had to do something until it was finished.
    Mom would set one aside to fry that day, although we wanted nothing to do with chickens for weeks after butchering day.
    We usually ate chicken only on Sundays.

  15. 15


    You need to get the most recent issue of Mother Earth, Judy. I think they’ve been reading your blog, and thought “Hmmm, what else would Judy like to know about chickens?” I thought of you as I read about them….loved the story about the bull tester, too. Here I live so close to you, and my grandparents were farmers who lived 5 miles outside of Nevada, and I NEVER knew this fact!