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How do you keep your feed costs down!!?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by EmAbTo48, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    Northern Wisconsin
    Break it down for me PLEASE! :) We did Cornish 2 years ago and SPENT WAY to much money to even break even. We were feeding commerical feed which I don't plan to do this time.

    I would love for anyone to break down how you keep costs down. I will be raising "broilers" for our family and extended family and we want to know how to keep feed prices down. And to also come out a bit ahead since we will be doing all butchering and labor of the chickens. I would love to do this for our family over the years since I enjoy rasing chickens.

    This is what we have:

    Enough space for up to 50 birds to free range and have shelter which I am planning on doing. I know many owners keep Cornishs cooped up to get them bigger but this is not how I will be marketing my birds. They will be allowed access to pasture, bugs weeds whatever they can find and to keep them healthy looking not half their feathers gone from not enough space.

    I usually clean coop area weekly with new pine shavings which I can get cheap probably cost me 10 bucks a month do this.

    We have all the feeders and waters needed for up to 50 chicks/full grown birds.

    Now is my problem FEED! What do you feed your birds?

    Thanks for any information!!!

  2. rollkeeg877

    rollkeeg877 Chirping

    Dec 4, 2012
    london ontario
    feed them layer thats what i feed all my birds keeps them healthy but if your worried about the cost you can't do anything about that other then not have so many birds
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Cornish, and I'm assuming you mean cornish cross, are not economical on a small scale. They are bred to eat and grow and thats about it. Many people have luck with allowing them to range a bit but they are not fast enough to really free range, in my opinion. Other than allowing free range, lowering feed costs is hard. You can grow your own feed if you have the space.
    But you need to consider that allowing them to range is going to lower their feed intake which is going to slow their growth so they will be around and eating for a longer time.
    I have just started fermenting my feed. There is a thread in this section and many that have been doing it longer report a decrease in food intake because they are able to use more nutrients.

    I think a less expensive way would be to raise a dual purpose breed. Take longer to grow but forage better so can provide some of their own nutrients.

    I know I spent a bundle on raising mine. But I felt better knowing that my birds were treated well. I must say that mine, which I got at about 4 days old, would not TOUCH anything green. Anything other than feed that I tried to give them would not be touched.

    Oh, and most cornish cross appear featherless because they are processed so young that they don't grow in all of their feathers. Its not necessarily a management issue. They were the EASIEST bird I've ever plucked though.
  4. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Songster

    Jul 9, 2011
    Northern Wisconsin
    Yes I mean cornish crosses. I had a great experience with mine being able to "free range" to the best of their ability. We raised 30 birds last time. They all had feathers and were butchered at 10 weeks of age. Yes they were a bit leaner then ones I would say you get kept in a pen but they tasted great! A lot better then our dual purpose chickens that we have.

    But the only thing that killed us was the feed. I think our Ag store can give us a mix that would be fine for the cornish crosses and a bit cheaper. Guess who we sell them to will have to pay for better tasting meat. :)

  5. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Songster

    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    We found with CX raised this past fall that I could ferment scratch grains and give them 1/2 feed and 1/2 fermented scratch. They also 'learned' how to free-range when I started sprinkling the scratch in the grass. They found it SO GOOD, that they would swarm the gate to their pen and I couldn't get in! So I sprinkled a little fermented scratch off to the side of the gate and viola, I could get in! Whew. They didn't seem to eat a LOT of grass or bugs, but they did eat some.

    By fermenting scratch, I cut our costs by about 15%...which considering they were fall raised (meaning they ate more to keep warm and grow less) and grew until 10wks - that was significant for me. Now, I didn't keep track of costs of vinegar, because it was stuff I had on hand from sale earlier in the spring. But scratch seemed to go further than feed. So twice a day, the CX would get 1/2 fermented scratch and 1/2 feed - by far, they preferred the scratch! The ones who ran for the scratch first were also larger on the whole.

    I know our local feed sources have some pretty good prices on feed right now. While I'm not sure how long feed can sit before it is no longer viable, I've looked into stocking up a bit in preparation for springtime chicks. Chick starter is something I think I'm going to need a bit more of this year (larger flock and likely more broodies).
  6. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Songster

    Dec 4, 2010
    If you are looking to save on feed cost as many of us are..........You can begin by taking advantage of the pasture season.
    It looks like you are in Northern Wis. I am on the tip of S. Wis.
    We raise Cornish X, Rangers, Turkeys and Ducks.
    Exclusive use of Pasture and Organic feed.
    We raise between 4-600 meat birds from April-Nov.
    I have found that if you plan on raising birds into the winter months, then you will be burning through feed to keep them warm.
    All our birds are at Camp Freezer by Thanksgiving.
    The only way you will be able to keep feed cost in check is to buy Bulk.
    A minimum would be a ton of feed.
    The price you can expect to pay as of now for Organic feed per ton is around .24 per lb.
    There are some mills in N. Wis and Min. that have some decent prices.
    I would recommend getting all the feed at one time.
    The worst part is, bucking up and throwing down the up front feed cost.
    If you buy it by the bag at the local feed store , lets say a couple bags at a time as needed, you are easily doubling your feed cost.
    This season with the drought you can only expect feed cost to rise.

    Just my .02
  7. ghulst

    ghulst Songster

    Aug 31, 2008
    Zeeland Michigan
    My feed cost for my last batch was 67 cents a lb. of dressed meat. I feed 18% laying mash and at 4 weeks I start adding whole corn. I kept them for 10 weeks . The last 3weeks they get about 50% whole corn. They only have feed in front of them about 12 hours a day.They dressed about 7.5 lbs.no excess fat in the body cabity. They tasted very good.
    Don't feel bad about limiting cornishx because breeders are very limited fed so that they can reproduce.

  8. chicken dude

    chicken dude In the Brooder

    Dec 26, 2012
    what is the name of the organic feed that u can get for 24 cents a pound?
  9. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chirping

    Jan 5, 2013
    Fort Collins, CO
    Don't forget to watch for waste. The quality of your feeder can cost you. All of my small flock feeders are conversions or home made.
  10. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Songster

    Dec 4, 2010
    I buy 30 tons of poultry and swine feed . I am on the S. Wis. border.
    I get 2 tons delivered at a time, bulk not bagged.
    If you are interested, I can give you contact information for a mill in SW Minnesota.
    Which also sells bagged I believe.

    PM me.

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