Top 10 Ways To Save On Feed Costs

Keeping chickens is a wonderful hobby, but the price of their companionship and fresh eggs is the feed bill, which can get scary especially when you keep a large number of birds. To make chicken keeping more economical, or perhaps even profitable, here are a few things you can do to cut the expense and reduce your feed costs:

1. Let Your Chickens Free-range & Forage


Free-range chickens can find many things to eat, which will cut back their need for commercial feed quite a bit. However, it is up to you to make sure the ground they cover does have foodstuff of nutritional value for them to eat, for example, by sowing grasses and suitable plants. The more food they can find for free, the less feed you will need to buy, which will lower the cost of your chicken feed.

Further Reading: Deciding To Free-Range Your Flock

2. Feed Them Table Scraps Occasionally


Feeding table scraps can help cut back on regular chicken feed expenses. Your flock will be quite excited to act as your own personal garbage disposal whenever you need them to. Because of our chickens, we not only have a way of ridding ourselves of unwanted food without wasting it, but we also can take joy in the knowledge that many of these foods additionally add to the health of our flock and the eggs or meat they produce.

Further Reading: Table Scraps & Leftovers for Chickens

3. Prevent Feed Spillage & Waste

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Chickens are messy, wasteful eaters, and spilled feed can add up to a lot of waste and lost money over time. One way to prevent this is by using the correct (non-waste, non-spill) feeders. These can be bought or you can make your own.

Check out some innovative ones in our Feeders & Waterers section

4. Keep Wild Birds & Other Pests Away from their Feeders


Wild birds learn very quickly where food can be found easily and food on tap (your chicken feeders!) will soon attract a substantial flock of wild birds and rodents. Keep feeders in a place that is inaccessible and/or don't leave feed in them in-between feeding times.
Check out our Chicken Predators & Pests section for advice on how to deal with the most common chicken pests.

5. Keep Your Flock Size Small


Feeding fewer beaks means you'll spend less on feed. On the other hand, you can sell or process non-productive flock members for consumption. Selling the chickens can recoup money, if you don't feel comfortable consuming them yourself. In either case, you'll save money.

Further Reading: Chicken Math 101

6. Buy Their Feed in Bulk

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Shop around, ask about buying in bulk, which can work out even cheaper. If you have a small flock, ask around and split the feed (and cost) with a few other small-scale poultry keepers, saving you all money in the process.

7. Buy Their Feed from a Local Feed Mill


Buying feed from a local feed mill can save you a lot of money as they are generally cheaper than the feed stores.

8. Feed Them Fermented Feed


Fermenting is a simple process that involves soaking chicken feed then feeding it to your chickens. It is similar to a sourdough starter! By fermenting the feed, you help make it easier for your birds to digest the food and increase its probiotic and enzyme content, making it healthier for them. And there are many more benefits!

Further Reading: Fermenting Chicken Feed: A Straightforward Method

9. Occasionally Supplement with Sprout Grains & Fodder

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Sprouts & fodder can be especially useful during the winter months when foraging is little and in many places, non-existent. These can be fed as supplements and will help meet your flock's energy and nutritional needs. A simple and cheap alternative to chicken feed, fodder will provide your flock with valuable nutrients and fiber. It should not be used as a substitution for chicken feed, however.

Further Reading: Inexpensive DIY Fodder Tower

10. Make Their Feed Yourself

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Making highly nutritious chicken feed at home can save you money and improve the health of your flock. If you can find a source for bulk grains and seeds, you’re already halfway there. While it may be difficult to make your own feed, you might want to do some research into homemade feed mixes you can put together to feed your flock. While you're at it why not check out the thread on Homemade feed recipes, there are pages of ideas for you!

Feeding chickens is one of the biggest expenses associated with chicken raising, so consider choosing some of (or all!) of the options on this list. All of these are great ideas to save on feed costs.

The above list is made up of results from our poll, How Do You Keep Your Feed Costs Low?. Which ones do you implement to keep your feed costs low? Let us know in the comments!

If you liked this list, check out some of the other great lists we have here: BYC Top Lists!