Feeding the Flock Frugally

teriz1091

Songster
Oct 6, 2015
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Kansas
We are on a very tight budget. We have a mixed flock of 10 hens, 3 guineas, a turkey & a duck.

The hens range in age with the oldest being 3yrs and the youngest few just coming to maturity. The other birds are just reaching maturity.

We feed 16% layer, just the Tractor Supply brand. They are confined to their coop/pen most of the day, but we do let them out for a few hours after work & longer on the weekends to free range. They used to free range all the time, but we had a predator problem. Since being confined, our feed bill has skyrocketed (obviously). We are going through 50lbs about every 2 weeks. They are also fed a cup or so of scratch daily as well as whatever table scraps we give them when available.

Any ideas for easing feed cost? Unfortunately free ranging them more is not an option due to the predators.
 

AlleysChicks

Enabler
Oct 10, 2016
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Man I wish I could just buy a 50# bag every 2 weeks. I go through 200# of just bird feed.

For the amount of birds you have 50# every 2 weeks isn’t bad at all. I’d skip out on buying scratch, it’s just junk food for them. And you should be providing grit if you are giving scratch which also adds up. So depending on the type you are buying that will save some money too.
 
Jun 12, 2017
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IL
What kind of feeder do you use? I was going through a 50# bag of feed every 7-10 days with my flock of 2 dozen, then I decided to make an automatic feeder (Large clear tote, with (8) 90* elbows) and was surprised at the amount of feed was saved. With conventional feeders, the chickens will scatter the feed all around getting the "good bits" out. I have ducks and chickens in the same pen, and the ducks use the feeder too. None of the birds have any issues sticking their heads into the elbows to get the feed. And Now I go through ~100# of feed a month for 23 chickens. I also free range when I can, it really helps.
 

sumi

Égalité
Staff member
Premium member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
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Make sure your flock don't waste any of their feed and make sure they are the only ones eating it. You will be amazed how much wild birds take, if given the chance. Ditto rodents.

@pintail_drake2004 gave you some good advice above, re the feeder to reduce waste. There are some designs here that you can look at: Feeders & Waterers

Many members swear by fermenting feed to save cost as well: FERMENTED FEEDS...anyone using them?
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
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I rationed my chickens to 1/4-1/3 lb per bird per day of feed and I add 1 cup of poultry grit to about 40 lbs of feed. I put the feed in mixed every day and pull empty feeder at night to avoid attracting predators. I place the food out first thing in the morning for the day and make sure they have fresh water. I found this to lead to less waste and they get the max recommended amount of food per day. Any free range time is over that as mine can’t be out every day from sun up to sun down since I work. This way I know exactly what they eat.
 

snow5164

Crowing
May 16, 2015
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I swear by fermented feed, just soaking it for a night or two puffs up the grains and I collect the powder left in the bottom of feeding troughs and ferment that too . They don’t eat as much because the feed is heavier and doesn’t get thrown around ...

Try it it’s an interesting experiment to see if you use less feed ...

Also I pick a bucket of grass/weeds for my hens most days , they love it . Grass clippings from the lawn mower isn’t the same as I get roots and dirt sometimes .
 
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Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
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I swear by fermented feed, just soaking it for a night or two puffs up the grains and I collect the powder left in the bottom of feeding troughs and ferment that too . They don’t eat as much because the feed is heavier and doesn’t get thrown around ...

Try it it’s an interesting experiment to see if you use less feed ...
Exactly what are you fermenting and how? I’m curious. I have homemade organic recipes that just ferment a few things added to the mix.
 

snow5164

Crowing
May 16, 2015
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Since @teriz1091 asked about reducing feed costs... I ferment my layer feed .

I never use the last few cups so I have no idea how much I use , adding meat birds and ducks and I’m clueless;(

But I DO know , they spill and waste much less , they eat slower and eat everything even the powder at the bottom of the feed bag I used to throw out .


Soak 8 cups of feed in a bucket with water and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar , the first batch might take 2-3 days to bubble and smell yeasty. Scoop out as needed but always leave a bit to ferment the next batch
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
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Edgewood, KY
My Coop
My Coop
Since @teriz1091 asked about reducing feed costs... I ferment my layer feed .

I never use the last few cups so I have no idea how much I use , adding meat birds and ducks and I’m clueless;(

But I DO know , they spill and waste much less , they eat slower and eat everything even the powder at the bottom of the feed bag I used to throw out .


Soak 8 cups of feed in a bucket with water and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar , the first batch might take 2-3 days to bubble and smell yeasty. Scoop out as needed but always leave a bit to ferment the next batch
Is this chicken food grade ACV from the mother I assume? Also at what age do you start this or does it matter? I would assume laying stage.
 
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