Benefits of Kelp Meal

Chock full of important vitamins and minerals, kelp meal provides livestock with mineral and trace elements that have been depleted from our soils.  When we provide kelp meal to our chickens, pigs, and other livestock we reap the rewards.  Kelp meal helps prevent disease and promote improved health, such as providing a source of prebiotic fiber.

Feeding chickens kelp meal may help them deal with heat stress and improve egg quality.  When providing kelp meal to growing livestock they can develop stronger immune systems.   In addition, lactating livestock consuming kelp meal can maintain milk production. 

Kelp meal, which is dried seaweed, ground into a meal form, can also be beneficial in gardening. This organic fertilizer can be applied to your garden beds without adding harmful chemicals. Kelp provides nutrients to your garden plants, helping them grow stronger, which will aid in resisting pests and disease.

Feeding kelp meal can help build stronger immunity in your herd or flock. Modesto Milling believes in providing high quality, organic ingredients that will benefit the health of livestock and owners alike. Modesto Milling Kelp Meal is available in both 50 and 10# bags.

Here is a link for more information on Tasco Kelp Meal

Unraveling Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC)

Ever been confused by the recommendation of keeping the non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) under 10-12% for metabolic issues with a horse? It can be overwhelming to try to find the right type of feed to fit the criteria. However, the 10% does not really tell the whole story about NSC content in the feed. This is because it is a percentage, not an absolute amount. To really know how much NSC is in a feed you need to know the amount of feed you are going to feed as well as the percentage of NSC in the feed. 

A feed that has a low feeding rate, even though it has a slightly higher NSC, can be perfectly adequate for a metabolically challenged horse. Keep in mind that NSC is the sum of starch and sugar in a feed.

Let’s take for example the Modesto Milling Horse Supplement Pellet. The NSC content is 14%, which is considered low starch, but not as low as the 10% recommended. Although this may be slightly above the recommended level for horses with metabolic issues, since it has a very low feeding rate (1 lb/day) it would not be a problem, especially if you split the 1 lb recommended feeding into 2 meals of 1/2 lb each. You see, in 1 lb of Modesto Supplement Pellet with 14% NSC there is only 2.2 oz starch (16 oz x 0.14 = 2.2 oz). If you feed ½ lb of the Modesto Supplement Pellet 2x day that will be only 1.1 oz starch per feeding (8 oz x 0.14 = 1.1), which is a very small amount if you consider the overall size of the horse and the total amount of food a horse is consuming (probably more than 20 lbs).

The 10% NSC recommendation comes from the amount of starch that will not cause a significant glycemic response in the horse.

Physiologically, 1.1 oz of starch fed to a 1,100 lb horse would hardly result in any more of a glycemic response than the hay would. To put this into perspective, the levels of starch in a meal found in research that will result in a moderate rise in blood glucose are >1 g starch per kilogram body weight or > 100g starch/100 kg BW. To convert to pounds, that would be 3.5 oz starch per 220 lbs body weight or 17.5 oz starch per 1100 lb horse. Clearly, 1.1 oz of NSC in a ½ lb of Modesto Milling Supplement Pellet is well below the 17.5 oz of starch threshold defined in research and for this reason we can be confident that it will not result in a glycemic response over what meal of hay would.

Delighted Homesteaders it is Almost Chick Season!

As the days are getting longer and the colder months are almost behind us, we can look forward to our favorite time of year, chick season. Whether you are checking online to see what breeds to add to your flock or getting prepared for your first set of chicks, it is beginning to feel like spring and baby chicks are right around the corner.

If you are new to raising chicks, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Provide young chicks a draft free brooder for warmth and protection
  • Clean your brooder before chicks are brought home
  • Cover the brooder floor with pinewood shavings
  • Provide a source of heat, through a heat lamp or heat plate
  • If the heat level is good, chicks will spread evenly around the brooder
  • If chicks are too hot, they will pant and their heads will droop
  • If chicks are too cold, they will huddle directly under the heat lamp and be noisy, a sign of distress
  • Give chicks space to move around
  • Make sure your chicks have access to clean, fresh water
  • Check water levels daily to be sure your chicks are consuming enough water
  • Supply chicks with quality, certified organic chick starter and grower
  • Provide a proper chick feeder for easy access to chick feed

With so many choices in chick starters, Modesto Milling provides an assortment of formulas to meet the demand of every owner’s needs.

Your new chicks will need a high protein diet and Modesto Milling has three certified organic formulations available in a crumble to meet your feeding goals: Organic Chick Starter and Grower Crumbles, Organic Non-Soy Chick Starter and Grower Crumbles and Organic Non-Soy and Corn Chick Starter and Grower Crumbles. Our Non-Soy diets provide a good balance of amino acids through a pea protein source. All our formulas provide the benefits of kelp, vitamin E, Redmond salt and clay conditioner along with an herb and essential oil blend.

If you are feeding a few chicks, start with a 10-pound bag. We also have 25- and 50-pound bags or larger quantities depending on the size of your flock.  Check our website for a list of retailers.

Chicken Management: Preparing for the Fall Season

Shorter days are right around the corner, as summer season changes to fall. A few changes can be expected around the coop, such as a smaller number of daily eggs being produced, and chickens dropping feathers during molt. Molting usually happens for chickens after they are one year old. In order to minimize the molting process, a few changes in management can be beneficial.
Chicken feathers are made up of protein, so when a chicken begins molting and drops feathers, it is wise to increase in the amount of protein the chickens are consuming. Here’s how: One month before molting begins; start mixing Modesto Milling Certified Organic Chick Starter and Grower with Modesto Milling Certified Organic Layer Feed. Here’s why: Chick starters have a higher protein level and help achieve faster recovery rate of lost feathers. Mixing Modesto Milling Certified Organic Chick Starter and Layer Feeds together for seven straight days, before discontinuing organic layer feed during molting will help minimize any digestive disturbances in chickens.

Chicken feathers are made up of protein, so when a chicken begins molting and drops feathers, it is wise to increase in the amount of protein the chickens are consuming.  Here’s how: One month before molting begins; start mixing Modesto Milling Certified Organic Chick Starter and Grower with Modesto Milling Certified Organic Layer FeedHere’s why:  Chick starters have a higher protein level and help achieve faster recovery rate of lost feathers.  Mixing Modesto Milling Certified Organic Chick Starter and Layer Feeds together for seven straight days, before discontinuing organic layer feed during molting will help minimize any digestive disturbances in chickens. 

After the chicken molting is completed, remember to return to regular feed regimen. Once again, return slowly over a seven-day process. This return process is optimized by mixing Modesto Milling Certified Organic Layer Feed with Certified Organic Chick Starter and Grower, until 100% return to Organic Layer Feed is achieved. Important Tip: Decrease the amount treats that are low in protein, such as scratch. These low protein treats surprisingly will not promote the faster feather growth for chickens during molting season. Remember: Treats should only make up 10% of the overall diet.
Did you also know: There is more to be considered, than just the diet during molting? Smart management practices will help chickens recover faster. For example, sunlight or even artificial sunlight is needed for 14-15 hours a day in the coop. Adding LED lighting to help make up for lost sunlight which in turn promotes greater egg production outcomes. Also, a clean coop with fresh bedding will help keep chickens while they are missing feathers from getting sick or contracting infections.
Important reminder: After cleaning the coop, give your flock a health inspection and make sure molting is the only issue you are experiencing. Consider waiting until molting is 100% complete before adding new chicks or for that matter, new chickens to your flock. Minimizing stress and changes during molting, like the tips and ideas discuss in this blog, will help the seasonal molting process go smoother and finish up faster. Finally: It almost goes without saying that smart chicken management practices include providing clean, fresh water regularly.
Why this matters: After the well-managed molting process is complete, with new feathers and during full egg production, your flock will be healthy and strong. And best of all, the chickens will be well prepared for unexpected conditions and fluctuations during the upcoming winter season.
From the Scratch Pad Team at Modesto Milling Organic Feed

Why Feed Chickens Certified Organic?

Innovative backyard chicken farmers are busy setting up brooders, researching breeds of chickens and prepping to bring home their new chicks. After studying feed options, new chicken farmers realize there are many choices available. Not only overwhelmed with conventional options, but also add in certified organic choices as well. With all these choices, trying to streamline what is best can be frustrating. Today more than ever, customers are concerned with ingredients and what we are eating. Wondering why certified organic costs more, than conventional, let’s examine the differences. Reading labels can get confusing. The word “natural” has no regulated definition. Just seeing the word organic, does not necessarily mean all the ingredients are organic. Made with organic, is stating that at least 70% of the ingredients are certified organic. Products that contain the USDA certified organic logo contain all certified 100% organic ingredients, with the exception of water and salt.

Customers who are concerned about herbicides and pesticides, such as glyphosates, need not worry about their backyard pets, when feeding certified organic.  Chemicals are not allowed to be part of the certified organic program. Chemicals cannot be used in the process of manufacturing certified organic feeds.  Instead, all certified organic feeds are processed with only heat and steam. Finally, the certified organic program does not allow for genetically modified organisms. Rest assured if choosing to feed your chickens certified organic feed it will be Non-GMO.

Certified organic feed mills require more documentation, and oversight than a regular conventional feed mill. While there are several options for a feed mill to use for an organic certifier, Modesto Milling has chosen Oregon Tilth, as our third-party certifier. Oregon Tilth makes annual on-site inspections of the Modesto Milling mill, oversees our ingredients year round, and approves our formulas. Pioneers in certified organic processes Oregon Tilth is providing education and advocacy

Modesto Milling cares about all the ingredients we use in our certified organic chicken feeds. Not only is Modesto Milling formulating products with certified organic ingredients, we use Redmond Clay Conditioner which can help naturally rid the body of toxins. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth has been shown to help control parasites and stimulate basic metabolism while helping with production. Kelp from Acadian Sea plants provides trace minerals in a naturally balanced way. Zeolite can aid in internal cleansing. Essential oils, such as garlic, anise, and cinnamon can help fight inflammation, which will help with the overall health of your chicken. All of these ingredients are included in the Modesto Milling production process.

Modesto Milling Announces Organic Horse Senior Pellet

May 1, 2018 – Modesto, CA

Modesto Milling has added a new feed, Organic Horse Senior Pellet, to its line of premium horse products.  This feed has all the benefits of Modesto Milling’s existing horse formulations, such as flax and sunflower seeds, coconut and kelp meal, and being nutritionally balanced to complement the horse’s forage.

This Organic Senior Pellet has a reduced starch level for horses that require a concentrate feed without the higher starch level found in the Organic Horse PLUS that is made with whole grains. Like the Organic Horse Supplement Pellet, the Organic Senior Pellet contains a small amount of oats to add palatability and beta-glucans for gastro-intestinal health. This new feed is formulated without soy, corn, or molasses for horse owners who prefer to avoid these types of ingredients.

The pelleted feed keeps choosy horses from sorting out their favorite parts of the feed and leaving the rest, but contains most of the same ingredients as Horse PLUS. The pellets can be easily soaked to make a mash for older horses that may struggle with sensitive teeth.

“Modesto Milling is delighted to add the new Organic Horse Senior Pellet to its line of quality, certified organic feeds for horses and livestock. This augments the mill’s full line of grains and certified organic alfalfa pellets to meet horses and owner’s needs and preferences,” says Andrea Kaldhusdal, Sales/Territory Manager, Southern Region.

Information about Organic Horse Senior Pellet can be obtained here or by contacting the individuals below.

Chris Wagner
209-523-9167 ext.9107

Andrea Kaldhusdal, Sales/Territory Manager, Southern Region


Modesto Milling Announces Organic Mini Pig Feed

March 1, 2018 – Modesto, CA

Pot-bellied pigs began trending as pets in the early 90’s and, as time progressed, other small domestic pig breeds such as the KuneKune have come on the scene. This revolution of miniature pigs as pets has stoked the popularity of terms like “mini pigs” and “teacup pigs”.

Modesto Milling has responded to the increased demand for high-quality nutritional feed for pet mini pigs by creating its new certified Organic Mini Pig Pellet (#643). Modesto Milling has worked to produce a mini pig feed that meets the nutritional requirements of these special pets while eliminating GMO’s, pesticides, herbicides, and other impurities.

Some satisfied customers have noted that the Organic Mini Pig Pellet has aided in improving skin and coat conditions and has a more pleasant smell than competitive brands. The Organic Mini Pig Pellet is packaged in 25 pound bags, simplifying shipping and home storage.

Information about flat rate shipping for individual orders or retailing the feed can be found by contacting the individuals below. Nutritional information and the feed tag can be viewed here.

Chris Wagner
209-523-9167 ext.9107

Andrea Kaldhusdal, Sales/Territory Manager, Southern Region

Lori Bianchi, Sales/Territory Manager, Northern Region

Modesto Milling: Past, Present and Future

December 8, 2017 – Modesto, CA

This is the time of year when people naturally move toward thinking more about holidays, reviewing the last year’s accomplishments, checking the current state and trends in their businesses and planning for the upcoming year. The team here at Modesto Milling is no exception.

We look back at 2017 and see new products like our duck and gamebird feeds. We also started marketing some of our 10 lb. bags of feed on and added many new retailers and customers to our existing base. We are proud of and grateful for all of these achievements.

We have also been working on the development and implementation of a new logo for the last few months. You will begin to see that logo on the feed packaging, on the web and the other places you would normally see the Modesto Milling brand. The logo is an evolution or refinement as opposed to a completely new look. You can also expect Modesto Milling to evolve and refine as a company going into 2018.

2017 has given Modesto Milling many reasons for gratitude. We thank our customers, retailers, distributors, vendors, partners and team for contributing to Modesto Milling’s successes this year. We wish you all a restful, yet productive rest of the year, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2018!

If you have questions or needs, you can reach out directly to Chris Wagner at 209-523-9167 ext.9107 or; Andrea Kaldhusdal, Sales/Territory Manager, Southern Region at or Lori Bianchi, Sales/Territory Manager, Northern Region at

Organically Fed-Setting Trends in the Show Arena

September 5, 2017 – Modesto, CA

After noticing a select number of 4-H and FFA members across California were starting to raise turkeys, rabbits and a few show hogs on organic feed to take to their local county fairs, Modesto Milling saw an opportunity to educate and encourage a young generation on feeding livestock organically. Modesto Milling started working with the livestock council at Antelope Valley Fair in 2016 to implement an organic fed hog class. Modesto Milling donated $500 in premium money, which the fair allocated $300 for champion and $200 for second place. A buckle for champion was provided by a separate sponsor. Lori Bianchi from Modesto Milling accepted an invitation to speak at the Antelope Valley Livestock Symposium in January 2017. This was a chance for young opportunists to jump start their education on raising livestock organically.

At the fair, organic fed pigs were on display in their own section of the swine barn, for fair attendees to view. Andrea Kaldhusdal from Modesto Milling was there to watch on show day. She was able to visit with the kids before they went in the show ring. Participants demonstrated their knowledge by showing her their organic scrub made from organic sugar and coconut oil. Kids shared their feeding program and what they learned by choosing to feed organically.

Once the kids were in the show ring, the ring steward read the class rules from the premium book, so the audience would understand these kids were trying something new and different from a regular market class. Degan Calandri from Quartz Hill 4-H Club left the show ring with his Champion Organic Fed Hog.

On August 24th, the Kiwanis Jr. Livestock Auction proved to be the concluding excitement for the week. Organic fed hogs sold for $9 per pound, which was above the sale average. The final highlight of the auction was when Tanner Rocky, a young 4-Her validated exactly what 4-H promotes, a heart for greater loyalty and hands for larger service. Tanner generously donated his organically fed pig to the Antelope Valley Livestock Council Scholarship fund.  Tanner’s pig sold last in the auction and raised $7,000!

Modesto Milling is proud of these youth who tried something new, and gained knowledge along the way. What an amazing experience for all who participated at the Antelope Valley Fair. As for the future, who knows where this will lead…..

If you have questions about the class or raising organic fed hogs, you can always reach out directly to Chris Wagner at 209-523-9167 ext.9107 or; Andrea Kaldhusdal, Sales/Territory Manager, Southern Region at or Lori Bianchi, Sales/Territory Manager, Northern Region at

Monitoring Regional Feed Trends

August 4, 2017 – Modesto, CA

There is no better way to monitor feed trends than to talk with end-users, retailers, distributors and other feed producers. Modesto Milling participates in many tradeshows each year to get the information we need to stay ahead of the curve on movements and needs within the organic feed community. Shows like the Mother Earth News Fair, The Heirloom Expo and Super Zoo are all examples of how we do mass outreach across the feed “food chain”.

Mother Earth News Fair in Albany, OR ( is a general interest show that draws 15,000 people from the western states and other parts of the country. There are lots of vendors showcasing organic and handcrafted products but, most importantly, shows like this one and The Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, CA ( allow us to tap into grassroots demand, needs and conversations – hearing directly from feed consumers (or at least their owners). These types of conversations actually led to the release of our new Whole Grain Gamebird (#745) and Duck Layer (#755) formulations.

Super Zoo in Las Vegas, NV ( is more focused on pet food retailers and distributors. Shows like this one help us connect directly with stores from across the country that market our feeds locally or want to. Additionally, we have the opportunity to interact with industry and pet wellness experts while sharing our experience in the organic space and trends we are seeing in other areas of the country. One of the trends we are seeing amongst pet stores, for instance, is that where they traditionally predominantly served the dog and cat markets, they are now seeing increased interest in backyard poultry, especially for chickens, and also hearing more demand for rabbit and chinchilla feeds.

Watching the entire supply chain from production through distribution and retail to the farmyard or backyard has proven to produce some of our best ideas and helped customers continue to reach their goals. Shows are just one way we do that, though. If you have questions, goals or needs to discuss, you can always reach out directly to Chris Wagner at 209-523-9167 ext.9107 or; Andrea Kaldhusdal, Sales/Territory Manager, Southern Region at or Lori Bianchi, Sales/Territory Manager, Northern Region at