Updated: May 19, 2019
When we started out making our own feeds - guided by our own nutritionist, mind you - we began with whole grains. And while we loved the concept of unaltered whole foods (see our own pantry for proof), we found whole grains didn't "feed" our chickens well.
Waste was one issue. Selectivity another. And then poor digestibility became apparent. The important micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals and some forms of protein) were lost to the bottom. Truth be told, breaking whole grains down a bit by a minimal amount of grinding has minimized each of these concerns and optimized digestibility. By formulating a mash, ingredients stay incorporated, picky hens still get complete nutrition, and less waste was found around the feeders. And for chicks, particle size is a non-issue!
When you think "mash", think coarsely ground, soft to the touch, and blended. Our mashes are not wet or greasy, and your hand is not left with any high quality chicken feed stuck to it after running it through a bag of our feed. Our mashes are also not dusty or unevenly ground, as lower quality techniques will yield. While we grind our grains, they are never heat or steam treated, or otherwise altered. Think all natural, but ground to optimize digestion and reduce waste.