How to feed your chickens for FREE!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by OldSchoolBackyard, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. OldSchoolBackyard

    OldSchoolBackyard Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    I don't know if you are like me and your chickens are cooped up all winter long as it seems that they consider snow "White Death." Normally my chickens free range my backyard all summer long. One of my egg customers commented that she loves how dark and rich colored the yolks are in "my" eggs. I noticed a change mid winter in the color of these yolks and after reading up on here about WHY they did this, I thought "I got to get more greens for my ladies" Sure, I feed my chickens the standard Layer Feed with scratch as a treat for them to dig for in the shavings. And yes, I give any Chicken friendly table scraps to my chickens daily. But that still wasn't enough.

    Then I remembered back to my college days when I experimented with a "Freegan" life style. Check it out, there is a whole thing out there about it. Basically, people would get veggies and fruit out of dumpsters at grocery stores and clean and eat them. It's not as gross as it sounds. Supermarkets often throw away perfectly good produce because they got a new shipment, the greens are starting to wilt or something along those lines. One of my favorite examples of this is when supermarkets throw away a 4pack of pears because ONE pear is mushy. Is there anything wrong with the other three? Not at all. Or a whole BAG of apples gets tossed because of 2 rotten apples. Needless to say, a lot of good food is thrown away.

    SO I thought I would apply this concept to feeding chickens. But now I'm married and my wife would never tolerate her husband dumpster diving for food! Even if it is for chickens. So I just asked the produce manager if I could have any produce they were going to throw out. I just had to sign a waiver that I would not hold them liable and that the food was destined for animals. Jackpot. Last night I picked up close to 25 heads of lettuce, a watermelon that had broken open, mushy pears, bags of salad mix that had expired yesterday, wrinkly tomatoes, etc. This isn't rotten food or recalled food or even buggy food. Most of it is just not cosmetically appealing (Oh yeah, and I got close to 20 pounds of brownish bananas).

    Does anyone else do something like this?

    Feed your chickens for free! They will be very happy! And so will your pocketbook.
    1 person likes this.
  2. journey11

    journey11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2009
    Great idea. I have heard of others doing this. If I didn't live so far from town (30 min. drive) I would definitely be doing it too. As it is, I don't go into town very often. Guess I'll just have to grow my own. [​IMG]
  3. OldSchoolBackyard

    OldSchoolBackyard Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    Quote:I thought about that because it is really just hit and miss if you don't know when they are tossing it out. The produce manager told me to call ahead when I knew I was coming through and they hold it for me up to two days. I go to a smaller economy store and I still load up my truck! I thought I would suggest this for those who live in cities where they don't have a lot of yard for their chickens to devour. You should see them chase a head of lettuce around the yard like a soccer ball!
  4. bywaterdog

    bywaterdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 29, 2008
    I feed my chickens this way, but you have to be careful not to lower their protein intake levels. If they don't get enough protein you will have fat happy chickens, but few eggs.
    I add dried duckweed ( 30-50% protein) to their food to offset this problem.
  5. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2010
    Rock Hill,SC
    Thats the idea I neded friend for this weekend.I'll go ask the food lion Manager about this.Im sure he will accept this,then Ill talk with the produce manager as well so I can cover all bases.

    Thanks for the brain storm!! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. vtgirls

    vtgirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2010
    I have friends who are self sufficient, off the grid folk and they've got a couple small local eateries that do the same. Tons of leftovers and discards, they have designated pick up days - feed a large flock and some pigs this way. Also found the apple orchards to be really helpful, locally they've allowed us to pick up season end drops for free - a treat my birds much appreciated through the fall. Last year was a good pumpkin year too and we've been smashing them up - the turkeys munch down the seeds and then the chickens finish of the flesh. I plan to grow extras of other veggies as well in the garden for the flock as well this year - does anyone have any proven suggestions?
    JimNKC likes this.
  7. crtrlovr

    crtrlovr Still chillin' with my peeps

    The main line grocers around here won't do that because of corporate policy -- it's a liability issue. (Mainly that someone might eat food that was supposedly destined for animals, get sick, and then sue the company). [​IMG]
  8. OldSchoolBackyard

    OldSchoolBackyard Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 1, 2010
    At risk of sounding like a real "trash to table" kind of guy, I share this story. I work at a school and twice a month they are required to feed the students apples. I saw so many apples being thrown away it made me sick! So I set out an empty box with a sign that said "Eat your Fruits and Veggies... But if you choose not to eat your apple, help feed my chickens. Toss in here" I filled two apple boxes with apples. Again, for free. My chickens have been enjoying apples all winter!
    Farmer Connie likes this.
  9. classicsredone

    classicsredone Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2011
    Sacramento County, CA
    It is a great source for composting, too. I know people that get food scraps or bruised produce to feed their worm bins or soldier fly grubs. Both of those provide a great source of protein for chickens, too. My husband brings home a couple pounds a day of coffee from his work to use in our compost bin. If we have too much, it gets sprinkled on the grass for fertilizer.
    Farmer Connie likes this.
  10. Momagain1

    Momagain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2011
    Central IL
    I have a small restaurant in town, who I know the owner..but he's more hotdogs/subs...but if he gets moldy bread etc or too ripe veggies...I'll have him call me

    I have 2 other restaurants that are larger; but very small town and the owner is a small town guy and is helpful friendly..I'll ask him too!

    I have a small grocery store, I'll have to ask the mgr!
    Farmer Connie likes this.

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