how to reduce feed costs

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bock, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    On February 23rd my 24 hens and 1 rooster are being shipped from Belt hatchery. I am planning on selling their eggs, along with my other chicken and duck eggs, to our neighbors and people my dad works with. I am hoping that selling their eggs for $3.50 a dozen will help us make a bit of a profit, but I am wondering how to reduce feed cost even further. We are planning on letting them free range on our 5 acres all day, and feed them 2x a day, like we do for our ducks. Our ducks do great with this method, and I would adjust the amount for their needs during different times of the year. Our current chickens get free choice layena and oyster shell. Currently, we buy 16% Layena for $14/ 50lb bag. That is all we feed our birds right now. They also sell scratch, not sure about the protein, for $8/ 50lb bag. I could buy the 20% Layena from another feed store for $15 a bag and mix it w/ scratch to save money, but still get them correct nutrition. I would also have oyster shell, phosphorus, grit, and salt in a hopper. We will also be giving them scraps from our garden. I was thinking about growing some of our own grains to add to their diet as well. If I did this, what types of grains do you suggest I grow? Basically, I am trying to get them good nutrition for the lowest cost. Sorry for all the questions. [​IMG] Thanks ahead of time!
  2. Chick_In_The_Burbs

    Chick_In_The_Burbs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2010
    Western Washington
    I don't know much about feed; but I believe scratch is essentially empty calories for chickens. There's really no nutritional value, scratch just gives them a bit more energy to burn which is why a lot of people give their chickens extra in winter.

    A tip for saving more is to go to the local grocery store and see if they will give you the produce they don't sell before it 'expires'. A lot of stores will clear out fruits and vegi's before they actually go bad to make room for new stock. I've never done this but it's worth a shot.
  3. colby318

    colby318 got 'dottes?

    Jul 14, 2008
    Stamping Ground, KY
    You'll be starting with chick starter first, right?
    I don't know about growing grains but I saw a way to save money. Layena has everything you need as far as minerals and calcium for laying hens. It has the complete nutritional requirements poultry need. I feed Flock Raiser (Purina) since I have mixed aged birds together. I need the supplemental oyster shell for the layers. You don't. I don't have to grit the birds either since we have a gravel driveway. Do you? So, you can delete the oyster shell, phosphorus, SALT (bad idea) and perhaps the grit. I check craigslist for cracked feed corn from farmers. Do you have a local independent feedmill nearby? Their price for corn will be cheaper. My birds pick through the scratch and eat the corn for warmth. All the rest is wasted. So I buy the cracked corn from TSC if I can't find it elsewhere. I also feed the kitchen vegetable scraps. I don't need anything else for healthy birds. Oh, a last thought. Do you have cats? I feed the birds the leftover canned food the cats leave behind. Also, dry cat food is an alternative for protein when the birds are going through molt in the fall. Thow in some generic dry cat food with the scratch. I find my hens pay for their feed by selling 10-15 dozen eggs a week at work at $2.00 dozen. Plus gas for the cars.

    Colby in KY

    Another thought. TSC has their house brand of poultry feeds. Dumoor(sp?). It's usually a little cheaper by bag but I think it makes their droppings have more of an odor so I pay more for the Purina. Also, do you have a Southern States near you?
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  4. TrystInn

    TrystInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    Chickens don't need salt, so there's a savings right there. Instead of buying a bag of Layena, go to your local grain mill and have them put together a high quality mixed layer feed for you in bulk. That will save you a lot of money if you can store it correctly. Scratch is a zero gainer - it lowers the over-all protein of the other feed. Use it as a rare treat. You can also increase your protein by raising crickets and worms for your flock, they love them and will provide hours of entertainment for you.
  5. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Thanks everyone! I won't give them any salt. I had never heard giving them salt until I saw it in Storey's Guide to Raising chickens. She says if they are free ranging they will develop a salt deficiency [​IMG] I will still use oyster still though, since my shickens were laying thin-shelled eggs before I started offering it. She also said that 1/3 of free ranging hen's diet can be scratch since they burn off all the energy. TSC around here stopped selling Dumor last year, which is unfortunate since that is usually what I feed my ducklings. I have never heard of a feed mill around here. Maybe I will do some research about that. I will definitely ask for scraps from the grocery store! I bet the chickens will enjoy that! [​IMG] Thanks again!

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