What is Cocofeed?

Cocofeed is an organic chicken-feed ration developed by Tropical Traditions that contains coconut pulp as well as other high-quality natural ingredients. The coconut pulp is the residue left over after coconut oil has been extracted from the coconut meat. Cocofeed contains NO soy. Continued below.

Historical Feeds

In the US, the raising of chickens for meat in the late 19th century and early 20th century was largely a sideline operation on most family farms. Chickens were fed table scraps, and picked up spilled and left over grains around the farm as well as hunting and pecking for insects on their own. There generally was no formal feed formulation.

 

 

In tropical cultures, coconut has been a traditional ingredient in chicken feed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The coconut pulp residue left over after coconut oil was extracted from the coconut meat is still a common animal feed component today in places where coconuts grow. This coconut pulp is high in fiber and protein. Mechanically extracted coconut pulp was also approved by the FDA as an animal feed and listed in the AFCO (American Feed Control Officials, Official Publication) as early as 1955. While coconut cannot supply ALL the nutritional needs of chickens, there are multitudes of studies that have been done in the Philippines and elsewhere showing how coconut pulp can be a major component of chicken feeds when combined with other quality ingredients. Some of these studies are more than 50 years old.

In more recent history, with the development of fast-growing "broiler" factory chickens, soy has become a key ingredient in chicken feeds for the purpose of supplying a high concentration of protein to promote fast growth. You basically cannot find a chicken in the US conventional market today that has not been fed high concentrations of soy. Even chickens advertised as "organic" or "free range" are almost always fed an organic mixture high in soybeans. Many people today are concerned with the abundance of soy in the American diet, but few have looked into the effects of soy in animal feeds. Tropical Traditions began researching this area in 2005, and our research continues today. Soy has a very high percentage of polyunsaturated fats, including the Omega 6 fatty acids. Many researchers believe that the American diet today has an over-abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids, and a poor ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids. Many food manufacturers today are touting high Omega 3 fatty acids in certain products, but few are making any efforts to reduce the Omega 6 fatty acid consumption, primarily through the abundance of soy in our diet.

Trials Done on Cocofeed Raised Chickens in 2005

In 2005 Tropical Traditions worked together with some poultry nutritionists and pastured poultry farmers to develop a soy-free chicken ration that included coconut pulp that would work with North American broiler chickens. This is what we named "Cocofeed." We had pastured poultry farmers around the US, in different climates from the east coast to the west coast, raise chickens on our Cocofeed side by side with chickens raised on regular organic feed that included soy. All but one grower was raising the standard Cornish Cross broiler breed that usually takes about 8 weeks to raise on pasture (7 weeks in confinement with commercial poultry production.) The results were very positive. Some reported that the Cocofeed raised birds took a few extra days to finish growing out at the weight levels they wanted, but other than economical factors, we don't see this as a negative factor. One grower in Texas was using a different breed that takes about 12 weeks to reach full weight and tends to be a heartier bird, but his trial was aborted when Hurricane Katrina came through and knocked down all his fencing, mixing up the two groups of birds. The birds were already quite mature, however, and he was not able to distinguish the birds raised on Cocofeed from the soy-fed birds in terms of size.

Next we took one of each of the chickens raised on Cocofeed and the standard organic soy feed and brought them into an independent laboratory for testing of fatty acid structure. One interesting thing we found in the test results was that lauric acid was found in the Cocofeed raised chickens! There have been a lot of studies done on the benefits of lauric acid, and how it protects the immune system. See coconutoil.com for many of these studies.

Cocofeed Chickens Available in the US

Whole Pastured Chicken

In 2006 Tropical Traditions started selling pastured chickens on Cocofeed, and we have raised chickens on our Cocofeed every summer since then with great success. We believe that raising chickens outdoors on fresh pasture results in healthier birds, and more nutritious and tastier chickens! (For our definition of "pastured poultry", please go here.) We are looking at other breeds besides the fast-growing Cornish Cross, and we are continuing our testing on both the effects of a soy-based diet and the effects of our Cocofeed diet. We are hoping to add eggs from layers fed our Cocofeed in 2009.

We currently have a group of pastured poultry farmers that raise chickens on our organic Cocofeed, and those are available for ordering  on the Grassfed Traditions website here.

Soy-free Eggs Available in the US

Organic Soy-free Eggs 1 dozen Carton

In March of 2010, we began marketing eggs from laying hens fed Cocofeed. You can order them here. Since Cocofeed contains no soy, these eggs are some of the few eggs available from chickens who do not eat high concentrations of soybeans in their feed. Tests have shown that these eggs do NOT contain any soy protein in the yolks.

 

 
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