How to cut the cost of feeding chickens?

mcdze

Chirping
Sep 9, 2020
259
328
91
imo there needs to be a reason for having 60 chickens lol .. if you dont have a good reason, its just like owning 50 dogs .. you got to feed them and at some point 'cute' isnt a good enough justification .. thats said yeah a good free range system will cut costs depending on time of year, and thats assuming you have probably 5 acres to support that many foraging .. winter if your froze over nothing you can do, theres nothing to forage .. other than that you can promote growth of grass and tender shoots maybe spread out something cheap and easy to grow like alphalpha in a partial shaded corner and water it daily, again 60 chickens is alot and will require a larger operation than 6 .. instead of a 5lb bag and casting some seed by hand over a 30 ft area you need a spreader and a couple 50lb bags and tow it and instead of a single sprinkler your gonna need a system with several .. like that .. you want lots of chickens then figure it out lol ..
 

Stephanie8806

Chirping
Feb 18, 2019
217
235
91
Central Washington State
I will echo a lot of people here and ask, why 60? Unless you are trying to have a business of it, 60 is pretty excessive. If you just want that many, that’s fine, but as with anything else, more animals=more cost.

I saw you have 1 acre of land... do the chickens range over that daily? If not, how big is their enclosure?

Increasing the amount of foraged food is probably the easiest way to reduce costs. In connection, reducing the size of your flock so there’s more foraging to go around would help. Fodder is great, but you’d have to have quite the setup in for sprouting grains cyclically for than many chickens to be making a dent in their feed consumption.
 
Jan 4, 2020
1,040
3,949
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Arlington Washington
I’m at around 75-80 chickens, and a hatchery catalog just arrived today. What’s the minimum order? :D

It was about 8 years ago that I started with 6 chicks.

Clearly, I failed “chicken math”. :p
Everyone should be confused by the chicken math part!

I have to say... I love all my 76 birds that free range an acre daily. Have the space, coops are clean and can afford the feed. Why not :idunno
 

Red-Stars-in-RI

Songster
Mar 24, 2014
878
1,778
236
Rhode Island
Everyone should be confused by the chicken math part!

I have to say... I love all my 76 birds that free range an acre daily. Have the space, coops are clean and can afford the feed. Why not :idunno
The funny thing is that I find that taking care of 20 chickens isn't much more work than taking care of 6, and 80 isn't a lot more work than taking care of 20.
 
Jan 4, 2020
1,040
3,949
276
Arlington Washington
The funny thing is that I find that taking care of 20 chickens isn't much more work than taking care of 6, and 80 isn't a lot more work than taking care of 20.
That’s a very good way to put it. It is true.

I don’t agree that having 60 birds is like having 50 dogs. If I threw scoops of dog food into three large feed bowls, there would be an all out brawl with a lot of bloodshed. The animals being compared are VERY different.

@cpagego maybe make a list of some suggestions and start knocking them off the list one at a time. With in a month or so, I bet you can cut feed costs drastically.
 
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JacinLarkwell

Crowing
Mar 19, 2020
7,190
11,215
461
South-Eastern Montana
You don't need a reason to have 60 birds. I have more and will be adding even more next spring.

I'm echoing in that you don't really need organic feed unless that's something very important to you. It's a niche market, and while some places would definately pay way more for organic eggs, other plaxes couldn't give a rat's about organic or not.

I try to give mine bugs when possible for added protien. Usually that means any crickets that dont make it to my lizard or any meal/super worms that get partially eaten by each other. Also feed their eggs back to them since they make way more than I can give away
 

kerbotx

Songster
Aug 29, 2016
165
261
161
Northeast Texas
Buying at TSC has you paying high retail prices - if you can quit organic, try looking for a local feed mill or grain elevator for feed, as that'll cut your costs in half almost. Others have made great suggestions, I'll only add a middle option - wet mash, if fermenting seems too tedious. Fermenting takes 3 days, wet mash 5-10 minutes, although you'll still need special feeders to serve the moistened feed in - bowls, trays, rain gutter, etc. It's a great way to minimize feed waste.
 

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