feed cost and chicken tractor

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by wendy, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    well i have been wanting a chicken tractor for alot of reasons. first being predators second the cost of feed. well my husband is now considering a chicken tractor very seriously since we are now paying $9.10 before tax for 50 lb bag!!! with all the corn being grown for alternative fuel that will only make it go higher with everything else that is going up. we have only got started with chickens 2 years ago and feed then was $7 or a little less that for 50 lbs!!! we call around and everyone is higher than the place we buy from every single time we have to go buy more! the place we buy from makes there own chicken feed at a plant at there store.

    oh, i do give scraps, left overs, have a tin can that is suspended from the tree that i put black oil sunflower seeds in or bird seed and make oatmeal cakes for the hanging suet to give them treats and entertain them besides just chicken feed and free ranging.

    so with all that said, i am wondering about cutting back on the amount of chicken feed. still giving them some chicken feed everyday for all that they will need in there diet but also using a chicken tractor for a good part of the day, plus the treats still of course. they usually lay all there eggs by 1 pm and we have not been letting them free range till 5:30-6:00 pm till time for them to go into the coop.

    what do yall do and what are yall doing to help your feed cost. i know alot of you have alot more animals that we do and different types of animals :) wendy
     
  2. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
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    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Wendy these days, I'm not one of those folks with lots of animals but I'm interested in the economics of keeping chickens.

    Joel Salatin in his pastured poultry book says that chickens kept on mixed legume and grass in tractors can reduce their commercial feed by up to 30%. I've read extension poultry people suggesting that 10 to 20% is a more reasonable expectation. I'd like to see a 10 to 30% reduction in the cost of most ANYTHING!!

    With just a few hens, I'm planning on feeding them more things I grow in the garden. We already grow lots of vegetables for the table but the hens need a higher protein diet than that of most garden vegetables.

    Steve
     
  3. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    thanks steve for the info, i was hoping alot more people would get on this topic. feed keeps going up around here along with everything else and i know it is just not in my area!

    wendy
     
  4. S0rcy

    S0rcy Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have been feeding from the table and letting the chickens roam the yard from 7am until they tuck themselves away in the coop at night. I have had to feed them alot less frequently than when we kept them just in their little run. They get everything off the table from noodles to veggies to chicken pot pie leftovers. I also keep a few boards overturned in the barn. Once or twice a week I call the girls in, I turn the boards and they know to snatch whatever bugs have taken shelter under them. I don't know if the chickens eat snails, I haven't given them any...
     
  5. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    thank you for the info, how long have you been doing this and do you see any change in the eggs you get, ex: quanity of eggs, good shells, etc?

    wendy
     
  6. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
    17
    201
    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I have done a few things over the years - some misses, others hits.

    A real miss was long ago trying to switch the hens to a straight whole wheat/table scraps diet over Winter. Egg production shut down almost completely.

    I have been guilty of feeding too much squash at times . . . you know, giant zucchini everywhere, Winter squash by the wheelbarrow. Big food . . . not many chichens = few eggs . . . squash has just too low of a protein content.

    A diet with about 14 to 16% protein is required for a hen to lay 1 egg each day. Daily, she uses 1/8 pound of feed for her own body maintenance. One egg (13% protein) = 1/8 pound. Two x 1/8 pound = 1/4 pound.

    She can't increase her food capacity much. So if her diet is below 14% protein, she is going to take more days to make an egg. Less and less protein, will mean more and more days between eggs.

    There's just no way around this.

    Steve
     
  7. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    thank you steve, that makes good sense and gives me some info to go on, we don't want to do anything negative to affect egg production!

    wendy
     

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