Dos Palos has a new place to get animal feed. Rivas Feed Store, 1515 Golden Gate Avenue, is located in the back of what was known as Johnnie’s Cleaners. Owner Jose Rivas hoped to rent the front of the building with the entrance on Blossom Street, but that area became a barbershop.

According to Jose, the back entrance is working out fine. A warehouse door opens to the parking lot for customers loading and inventory unloading.

Jose sees that the time is right for a feed store locally. Customers save the price of fuel since the cost of driving elsewhere to pick up feed is exorbitant. Jose understands the necessity for a nearby feed store because his family has a local farm where they raise goats and chickens.

While purchasing for the family farm’s needs, Jose also builds a business to serve the greater community. The list of products Rivas Feed Store has in stock is amazing.

Entering the store, I immediately notice two chickens in a cage. Jose says they keep him company while he is waiting for new customers. Jose and his cousin Tony raise prize chickens.

The chickens bring attention to Rivas Feed’s extensive variety of poultry feeds, chick starter, cracked corn, poultry feed for show birds, and more. Jose explains that cracked corn is better than whole kernels for chickens.

Jose can set up any poultry or bird enthusiast. A friend with a cockatiel is pleased with the feed prices for her chickens and the Cockatiel Lovebird Premium.

Jose says we would be surprised at how many locals have pet birds. The inventory includes feed for parrots and parakeets and pigeons. Other formulas are compounded for dove and quail or finch. Many of the bird feeds are manufactured by Volkman Seed Factory of Ceres.

The Cargill label on the Gamebird Red Pellets explains combining feed to create a complete diet. Henny Penny Mealworms can be added in small amounts to supplement free range poultry.

Linda Mancebo, already a regular customer, says she is happy to be able to get Winner’s Chicken Scratch locally. She wants others to know about this convenience. The scratch has milo, corn, wheat, oat groats, sunflower and safflower seeds with fish oil. Limestone is included.

Farmers Best Turkey/Game Bird Grower/Finisher Crumbles are for poultry from ten weeks until market. The directions indicate it is a sole food source.

Rivas Feed also advertises great prices on panels to assemble fly chicken pens. They recently hauled in a trailer load.

For sheep, get Farmers Best Complete Ewe and Ram Pellets. It can be a sole ration or a supplement in a feeding regime. Feeding instructions are on the package.

For swine, Farmers Best Pork Maker 16 can be fed free choice to pigs 70 to 150 pounds as a sole ration. For rabbits, Rabbit Gourmet, a high-end blend, is fed on a free-range basis.

Find numerous items for horses and general livestock. From Farmers Best find dairy feed, sweet cob, wholes oats and oat mix formulas. For health requirements, get 50-pound bags of High Calcium Hydrated Lime and blocks of shavings.

Choose American Stockman White Salt Blocks or brown salt blocks that have trace minerals added. American Stockman reminds us that salt needs vary from animal to animal.Environmental conditions and feed variations contribute to varying needs; however, sodium chloride is key to overall animal health.

Rivas Feed Store carries many brands of cat and dog food. For puppies, there is a chicken and pea formula. The small dog formula is a fresh chicken, rice, vegetable blend. There is a selection for mature dogs including a chunk style premium dog food, Apetito Basic, and Nutra-Nuggets with pasture-raised beef as the first ingredient.

Jose says his biggest challenge in being an owner-operator is that sometimes he must close for business purposes such as picking up inventory. He envisions becoming an around-the-clock service as his customer base builds. Under this model, customers could call in an order, and he could deliver.

As is the case for many new families, the Rivas family settled in the area because of the affordable housing prices. They got a bonus in finding a friendly, supportive community.

Jose helps customers consult the tag on each bag for nutritional information and recommended feeding. Most products advise about water needs for animals.

By keeping prices competitive, Jose hopes folks will shop locally. To keep updated, find Jose Ignacio Rivas (Rivas Farms) on Facebook. For animal feed needs, even if the door is closed, call (209) 704-8120.

Janet Miller

Janet Miller is a freelance writer specializing in family faith. She offers Family Prayers and Activities: Weekly Guides on compact disc for families to explore the Bible together. Email