Has anyone succesfully had chickens without feeding chicken food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Fancie, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. Fancie

    Fancie Chillin' With My Peeps

    795
    0
    151
    Oct 31, 2008
    Illinois
    The economy has tanked, (my family's income went down 50%!) I also lost many of my birds this year to a coon. I am stepping back from raising chickens till things improve, but I do have 3 brahmbas and 3 mutts left. Right now it is getting hard to scruff up the money to buy chicken food... It's only $15 for a 50 pound bag.... but money is extremly tight. so I am left with a delema... what can I feed my birds without breaking the bank? Or should I just find them a good home? It would be kinda disheartning to go out and look at my 2 empty coops, but the same time I don't want to kill them.

    Right now they are finishing up wild bird food. But soon that will be running out. I can get cracked corn for 25 cents a pound, granted about the same as chicken feed, but quarters are pretty easy to scrounge up, while the whole ammount it pretty hard, since there always seems to be something more important for the money to go to. They free range most of the day, the older 3 anyway, but the mutts are kept inside since they are too young in my opinion to winter yet. On nice days they are left out.

    I was thinking of feeding cracked corn and table scraps... I just don't want to starve my birds to death... or is there any good ways to stretch the chicken food so it lasts longer?

    I feel like a bad chicken owner. [​IMG]

    I'll be searching here as well to see if this has been answered yet... I started reading the corn thread...

    Oh... what did people feed chickens before there was chicken food?
     
  2. Benelli

    Benelli Chillin' With My Peeps

    158
    0
    109
    Sep 18, 2009
    Wow, That's high for chicken feed, but it may be where you live. I pay about $8.00 per bag for Nutrena Layer Pellets. The pellets last longer. Have you tried comparing labels of a "sweet feed" for horses? That might be an option. Nutrena makes one and I feed it to my goat for $7.50 a bag. The chickens eat his leftovers and they seem to love it.
     
  3. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Ive known many old farmers that did just fine with just cracked corn an table scraps. I think being able to free range would help a lot. We now know that chickens do need more than just corn but the old times did ok on it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

    5,410
    19
    251
    Jun 17, 2009
    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    I pay about 9.50 for 50 lbs. You have to make sure they get enough protein or you risk their health, esp if they are still growing. If it were me, I would let them go and start over when it was financially affordable. I had to let all 8 of horses go and it was pretty rough, but that was the best for them.
     
  5. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I went an asked my grandmother how they did it. Shes 82. When they were kids they kept chickens loose. They roosted in the trees an they fed them cracked corn only. So I guess thats how it was done back in the day in mnts of Ga
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    It really depends on what kind of free ranging do they get to do-- nice pasture with plenty of grass/weeds/seeds & insects- they will probably do ok, and enjoy the occasional corn and table scraps. Don't feed them lots of corn, then they will fill up on that and not grass and bugs. If the free ranging is a dirt pen, frozen ground/snow ect- then they need chicken food. Honestly- if you can't afford to feed them and are having trouble scraping the $ for important things (feeding the people?)- you should consider making some chicken stew/soup, chicken & dumplings, and good hearty broth with the bones. Feeding the family that raised them is maybe not the end you originally envisioned for them- but it's not a bad end (as long as you are not a vegetarian, and you can dispatch them humanely).
     
  7. WoodChic

    WoodChic The Chic Chick

    Oct 27, 2009
    KKV HQ
    In the old days, I think they just fed them cracked corn and let them roam. We feed ours scraps too.
     
  8. oberhaslikid

    oberhaslikid Chillin' With My Peeps

    724
    4
    141
    Nov 5, 2008
    Ohio
    Cook some soup beans, rice and add a can of tuna.This would suffice if nothing else.
    I thought about the same thing.What if ? I lost my job what would I do? I have alot of birds though.
     
  9. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Some people actually sprout seed for their chickens. It would stretch the feed out longer if youdid that. And grow your own crickets or mealworms.
     
  10. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I try to encourage people to learn how to raise livestock with no budget. People have gotten to use to having money an the means to just go buy what they need off the shelf. Not sure if it will be in my lifetime or not but at some point the economy will tank. Chicken feed will go away just like everything else an the people that already know how to raise chickens on nothing will be much better off. When people say something about not having the money for chicken feed people start talking about it being time to get rid of the chickens. I think that means its time to raise more chickens.

    When I first started I kept hens in an apple tree. I fed them scraps an corn just before dark so they would hunt there own food all day. Now my chickens are in pens eating chicken feed because I can. If finances tank I will go back to free range an corn or even cage an corn an I will not feel bad about it. My family having food on the table comes first. Only then do I worry about how happy that food was.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by