chicken feed, it doesn't cost "chicken feed"!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by hoosiermamanow, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. hoosiermamanow

    hoosiermamanow New Egg

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    Aug 3, 2011
    We recently raised our first meat chickens. We've had layers but never raised fryers/broilers. and I was amazed at how much feed they consumed!!!

    I'm picking them up from the processor tonight and when I tallied up the cost of the chicks, feed, bedding, and processing I was disappointed to find out that they'll end up costing as much or more than it would cost me to buy organic, free range chicken at the grocery store! I enjoyed raising them and it's nice knowing they had no hormones or things like that. I'm assuming the chicken feed was gmo but I'm afraid it would be even more cost prohibitive to try to feed something that's not, so even if I could find gmo feed in bulk, I would be interested. I just didn't know if it would be possible to buy in "bulk" for such a small flock.

    We're located in eastern Indiana and I'm wondering if anyone in this area has suggestions on feed resources. Or maybe someone has suggestions on other ways to reduce the cost of feeding them until they're old enough to butcher. We had a flock of 22 for 8 weeks and fed them free choice DuMor 20% Chick starter from TSC. They also were roaming outside in the yard every day so they did have access to weeds, grass, bugs, etc. By my calculations we went through 320 lb. of feed in that time period and it might have been more because I may have neglected to record a bag or 2!!!

    I want to raise chickens again and I would do it even if they cost MORE than I spend at the store, but talking the hubby into it might be a bit more difficult!! Unless they're SUPER DEEEEE-LICIOUS!!!

    Thanks for any help and suggestions!
     
  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Try to find a mill in the area and ask them what their minimum bulk order is. If you could go out to the mill and fill a 55 gallon drum that would be close to 500 lbs of feed.

    What were you using for bedding? We buy a bale of shavings to start chicks on and after that it's old hay or straw. If you have them in a portable pen that you can move it cuts down on bedding.

    Then there is always processing them yourselves versus paying for somebody to do it... Think about what you are paying them for; killing, removing feathers, and scooping out a handful of guts. If you can manage this yourself you can save some money.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2011
  3. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can not compete with commercial broiler production on costs, it just won't happen.

    They by their broilers for pennies compared to dollars that you paid for yours.

    They purchase their grain, soybean meal, and other feed commodities at wholesale. Plus they pay $12 per ton for grinding, mixing, and delivery of their feed.

    You must resign yourself to that fact.

    What you can not get from the grocery store chicken is the satisfaction of growing your own food, the ease of mind that the birds were taken care of the way you desire, and the joy of eating the fruits of your labors.

    We fill our freezer each summer with chicken, we don't worry about the cost.

    Jim
     
  4. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    It is much much cheaper if you can free-range (or semi-free-range) your meaties. It takes longer to grow them out, but it does save in feed costs.
     
  5. hoosiermamanow

    hoosiermamanow New Egg

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    Wow! Such quick replies!! Thank-you all!!

    Mac, we used shavings for bedding. Straw would have been slightly cheaper, since they were outside most of the time bedding wasn't a huge part of the expense.

    You're right about butchering them ourselves too. We helped our daughter with a few in the spring and actually they opted to butcher their half of our flock so we'll be helping them again, but the thought of doing 22 overwhelmed me so I talked hubby into getting our half processed!! To be honest, the cost of processing is a comparably small percentage of the total cost especially when I factored in the convenience, but you're right, it would save money. I will talk to the local grain elevators if we do it again to see if I can get a break on 500 lb. of feed. May also talk to small local chicken farmers to see if I could buy that quantity from them if the elevator won't work with us. (?)

    and oh yeah, I did find a missing receipt for another 50 lb. of feed dagnabbit!!

    I think Jim is right, I just need to convince the hubby of the benefits! Why don't chicken-lovers marry chicken-lovers???

    Thanks again for the quick and helpful responses!!
     
  6. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    Quote:Because they are too busy with the chickens to date.
     
  7. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    Quote:That's a good idea. If they are getting deliveries from a local mill maybe you could just have them order extra and have the feed truck auger some into a drum for you while they are getting a bin filled.

    If they are milling/mixing their own grains maybe they'll give you a better price than the bagged feed.

    Feed costs are high right now. Corn was selling at record highs, but has started to come down.
     
  8. Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay

    Lazy J Farms Feed & Hay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:It has turned back up again, Mac.

    The crop condition for this crop is up in the air due to the recent heat and variable precipitation. The industry needs a large crop, but I don't think it is out there this year.

    Jim
     

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