economical feed - what does everyone use?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sham30, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. sham30

    sham30 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 25 hens and feed them purina layer crumbles which is getting very expensive. Does anyone have a feed they use that is not an arm and a leg [​IMG] I do not want to short them on nutrition but there must be a better way and thought who better to ask the BYC [​IMG]
    while I'm asking I would like a new idea for a feeder, they are so darn wastefull!
     
  2. Clay Mudd

    Clay Mudd Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of possibilities, depending on how much room, free time, and energy you have:

    Find a local mill. Several people here report saving serious money buying a local feed -- and the odds are it's better than national brands.

    If you're will do so some of your own feed formulation, it gets fun:

    Grow some of the grain portion yourself.
    Grow greens.
    Raise mealworms and/or black soldier fly larvae.


    Oh, and do a BYC search on "save feed". [​IMG]
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The only real answer is to find a local feed mill that grinds the feed themselves. All the other things are supplemental, such as tossing scraps, dumpster diving for thrown out produce, etc. But the real hard line, base cost is their base feed.

    Purina is now $16 a 50# just about everywhere, some places even more. That is $32 a hundred pounds minimum.
    At a local feed mill that grinds its own feed and supplies area farmers, a 100 pound bag of quality, 17% protein Hubbard layer feed is $19.50 here.

    So, $32 or $19.50????
     
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ID/WA border
    You can supplement with whole grains but you will need a higher protein mix to start with.

    The University of West Virginia can give you some ideas about how to do that: Mash to Scratch Used - Percent Protein in Mash (click)

    I would like to add a note of caution here, however. Personally, I think that the UofWV is a little too optimistic. If you want to go this route, I'd error on the side of being a little more conservative on the ratio of whole grain to mixed feed. As you say, you don't want to short the hens on nutrients and have them really slow in producing eggs.

    Wasting feed? I get the feeder just as high as they can comfortably reach. Then, they can take it down to powder and clean up some of what has been spilled. That means, I have to keep a close eye on that feeder . . . don't want to allow them to run out of feed during the winter cold!

    Steve
     
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Fred's Hens :

    The only real answer is to find a local feed mill that grinds the feed themselves. All the other things are supplemental, such as tossing scraps, dumpster diving for thrown out produce, etc. But the real hard line, base cost is their base feed.

    Purina is now $16 a 50# just about everywhere, some places even more. That is $32 a hundred pounds minimum.
    At a local feed mill that grinds its own feed and supplies area farmers, a 100 pound bag of quality, 17% protein Hubbard layer feed is $19.50 here.

    So, $32 or $19.50????

    X2

    And don't use the continuous feeders...feed only what they can clean up in a day. This will save you in many ways...the birds will be hungry the next day and do a good job of cleaning up, the rodents won't have a free buffet at night while you sleep and you can gauge just how much your birds are eating and adjust it to their needs with the change of the seasons.

    I've found mash from the local feed store to be the most economical, most complete nutrition for my flocks.​
     
  6. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    Quote:X2

    And don't use the continuous feeders...feed only what they can clean up in a day. This will save you in many ways...the birds will be hungry the next day and do a good job of cleaning up, the rodents won't have a free buffet at night while you sleep and you can gauge just how much your birds are eating and adjust it to their needs with the change of the seasons.

    I've found mash from the local feed store to be the most economical, most complete nutrition for my flocks.

    X2. I used to free feed and I couldn't believe how much I went through in a few days. At our local grain place we pay roughly $12.00 for a 50lb bag of layer feed.
     
  7. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Ohio
    I have found on this site (BYC) that there are a lot of people that are wasting a lot of money on how they are feed there chicken.
    There are three main thing that is going to cost you money when it come to feed.
    1 - Having feed shipped in from another state
    2 - Over feeding
    3 - Over feeding protein, most laying hens need no more than a 17 to 18 percent protein to be healthy and lay eggs.

    If one would buy from a local mill (not a feed store like TSC), regulates the amount of feed that there chickens eat and don't over feed proteins you would be surprised how much money you can save.



    Chris
     
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    And how much less reproductive and digestive problems in your flock....
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Ohio
    Quote:If this was for me,
    I have no reproductive or digestive problems in my flock.
    My hatch rate is 90 to 95 percent and cant say that I have ever had digestive problems in my flock.

    Chris
     
  10. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I add alfalfa hay, which is the stuff I clean up around the hay stack and wouldn't feed to the horses. They eat the leaves and the coarses stuff gets. Ground up as bedding. This makes the best compost for the garden, since alfalfa is really good for both the chickens and the garden.I throw it into the coop once a week as my bedding, two or three big feed sacks full.
    I also plant mustard greens, kale and will be adding chard and collards soon. I give them armloads of "salad" everyday. In addition, I cut fresh grass, Bermuda in the summer, rye in the winter and throw it in their run. In the summer, I add amaranth they eat the greens and seeds), sesame and buckwheat. I'll also plant bitter melon, squash, some extra cherry tomatoes and maybe a climbing type Asian green or sweet potato vine on the outside of their run. Things that grow well with minimal care and make good use of wasted space, plus attract pollinators, predatory bugs, hummingbirds and butterflies to my garden.
    Finally, I keep a large container, about four quart size, next to the sink. It takes one day to get full and it's just hubby and I. Eggshells, melon guts/shells, squash guts/shells, ends of tomatoes, carrot peels, funky leftovers, scrapings off the plates. Those go to the chickens daily. Even meat, the fatty trimmings from a roast, the meat left a little too long in the fridge, etc is all fair game. They probably get a full container once a day, plus I clean the fridge weekly and take out a huge commercial sized stainless steel bowl full of everything that's starting to look yucky. That little bit of soup, little bit of cooked broccoli. I don't add salt, we eat no processed foods so everything is really healthy. No sugar, either.
    I've been getting 11-12 eggs from 15 hens of breeds not known to be great layers, mostly known for seasonal laying. I'm also feeding a bunch of production red packing peanut Roos, 12 Cornish x that are overdue to process and 6 red broilers.
    when it rains, I throw down mustard seed in an area of ground that. Can't seem to get anything else to grow on. I need to get some mangel beet seed and daikon radish seeds to add to that mixture as a cover crop. Next summer, that area will be sweet potato vines, which the chickens can't get enough of and are very pretty.
     

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