How to keep chickens fed without buying feed?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katelk, Oct 16, 2014.

  1. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

    410
    9
    108
    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN
    I was thinking about how often I buy feed. I also buy high quality (countryside Organics) feed because I cannot with good conscience buy cheap crap. Needless to say...$$$ :/

    My aunt just feeds her farm dogs the same thing she eats every day and doesn't even buy dog food. Her dogs are healthy as can be. She even has a lab who is 15 years old and gets around like an adolescent, whereas my parents' lab who is dog food fed is 13 and going blind and deaf and can barely get around.

    Anyway, I was wondering if I could do something similar, but would not want to neglect any nutrients that they need. Might anyone be able to post a "grocery list" of sorts that would cover the food needs of chickens with items one can find at the grocery? (They are free range btw). Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  2. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    576
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    That's a bit like smokers who live to 100. There are always exceptions to every rule. My boss had to have his dog put down because it went into kidney failure (something like that can't remember exactly which organ) and the vet said that it was because they fed it just like your aunt. Was awful, poor thing sort of dragged itself round dying for days.

    I'm more in favour of supplemental feeding. Give plenty of leftovers etc like you mention but have the other feed available if they need it. It will always come a poor second in their eyes to the table goodies but at least it's there if they need it and it means they are still getting a bit of a top up off those extra vitamins included in it.

    I actually think the biggest thing contributing to my feed bill is the wild bird population. So also make sure you aren't feeding the neighbourhood like me lol. Oh and mice overnight if you have open feed trays.
     
  3. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

    410
    9
    108
    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN
    I see what you're saying, but there are a ton of diets for dogs that give directions for feeding raw or for feeding meals made from human ingredients. My aunt, of course, does not follow such diets, but they exist and are healthy.

    But back to chickens, there are recipes for making one's own feed with grains and such bought from health food stores in bulk.
    I was just wondering if there is anything similar that can provide the adequate nutrition via including certain fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, etc. that you can get at the grocery instead of buying bagged feed.
    It is just hard to get high quality bagged feed where I live without paying double because of shipping.

    ETA: to give you an idea, the owner of the only feed store anywhere near me, when asked about all-natural/organic/whole grain feed literally gave me a lecture about how organic all-natural feed doesn't exist and how he got this information on the highest authority (Purina sales rep *ha, gag*) so yeah, I have to order feed online and literally end up paying double due to shipping weight
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2014
  4. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

    189
    13
    68
    Aug 31, 2014
    Do you have plenty of room for them to graze? If not I don't see you achieving your goal.
     
  5. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Having a forever offering of commercial chicken feed is always a good thing, it provides them a more balanced diet even if not perfect...

    But, if you want to substantially lower feed cost there is a fairly easy way to do it, especially relevant in some areas... Go around to the local ma/pa independent grocery stores in your area, talk to the owner/manager and 'beg' to take away all their day old produce and day old bread for FREE :) Offer to sign a 'Not For Human Consumption' waiver as well as a waiver of liability... Explain to them that you have a few 'hobby' chickens that you want to feed premium food and you hate to see all the waste they toss in the trash just going to a land fill and a total waste... Once you score an OK from a single store you should be set, there isn't a single grocery store out there that doesn't toss a boat load of produce and bread out each week... Your chickens will be eating better then most people at that point, and your commercial feed should last forever as they eat the freebie stuff...
     
  6. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

    410
    9
    108
    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN

    I believe they have plenty of room. They have a giant grassy area with tons of different plants. They graze from sun up to sun down. I am literally just asking about what foods one can buy that can provide the nutrition equivalent to feed though...
     
  7. katelk

    katelk Chillin' With My Peeps

    410
    9
    108
    May 6, 2013
    White Bluff, TN

    This is very intriguing lol. I had never thought of that. Thanks for the idea, I am going to investigate this! I wish I had a store near me that sold bulk grains. I have found a ton of "make your own feed" recipes. I just can't find a store to accommodate :rolleyes:
     
  8. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    A lot of times this is done through your local farmer co-op, every so many months the co-op will take payment for orders and do a bulk purchase passing the savings on to everyone that ordered... The only real negative is having the money on hand when they are ready to order and the fact you will need to order several months worth of feed at a time and store it yourself...
     
  9. AussieChics

    AussieChics Chillin' With My Peeps

    318
    20
    88
    Sep 7, 2014
    Adelaide Australia
    I found a cool blog called fresh eggs daily she goes the healthy natural organic way. Perhaps she might have something on her blog?
     
  10. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,426
    299
    198
    Jul 4, 2014
    Maine
    Check out some of the fermented feed threads on here. Some people ferment whatever commercial feeds they have and others use whole grains and seeds (or a blend of commercial and homemade)...soak them to sprout them and then feed them out. You don't have to wait until they're fermented though. At the very least, you can get a basic idea of what to add to your list and why. Personally, I have started fermented the commercial feed and I'm already noticing just based on the amount the feed expands that by doing so, my feed costs are being cut significantly (I also buy organic) in addition to many other benefits.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by