How to save money on chicken feed?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Scooter&Suzie, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Chemguy

    Chemguy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 30, 2011
    Springfield, Ohio
    MsDrake: We have a small flock of 10 layers, and manage to get about 6-8 eggs per day in peak laying season. That is more than we can eat (40-50 eggs per week), so we have given away many eggs. Now, that would at first seem to make the cost per egg too high for us, but instead of payment for the eggs we accept table scraps and gardening waste. This has worked out very, very well. We go through one 50-lb. bag of feed per month, so by my calculations that means that a single egg costs us about 7 to 9 cents during prime laying season. The cost goes up when factoring in times when laying is down.

    That might be harder to pull off with three layers, but I think that it could be done. An additional thing that you could do, and which might seem a bit dramatic depending on your point of view, is to get rid of the rooster. If you're not counting on having chicks come from your flock, then the rooster is simply consuming feed and not providing you with eggs.
    2 people like this.
  2. mwat

    mwat Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013
    Hi Guys,

    I've started breeding meal worms or darkling beetles in order to give my chooks some high protein and affordable food. I will let you know how I go, as I have just begun, but so far it has been very cheap to run.

    I bought one pack of worms for 10 Aussie Dollars and so far I have 30 beetles and counting. Each beetle will lay a couple of hundred eggs which will hopefully keep the cycle going :)

    My only advice if you decided to go down this path is so (a) set up your system so it is easy (I have four drawers, and the top drawer has mesh in the bottom so the the eggs from the beetles falls through to the 'nursery') and (b) Buy the worms in Spring, just before it gets really warm because your first batch will develop into beetles faster.

    If this doesn't make any sense, hop on the net and you will find heaps of ways people are breeding meal worms.

    You also need to be ok with breeding insects :) not exactly everyone cup of tea, but the chooks LOVE them. So it's worth it for our pockets and their eggs.

  3. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    Hey, if you dont mind me asking how long does the process take and how many do you get per cycle?
  4. mwat

    mwat Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013
    Well so far I've had mine for about two months and I now have my first set of bettles. It's hard to know if they've been breeding and laying eggs because they are tiny and clear but I hope that in a month maybe I'll have hundreds of larvae (meal worms).

    All they need is a dark place, some rolled oats or wheat bran and a couple of carrots every week.

    When I know how long it takes to get visible larvae I'll let you know.

    I think I got the info that it's around a month for the eggs to hatch from a you tube video. So a month to get bettles and then another to get larvae (in warm weather! )

    Hope this helps! :-D
  5. farmerkevin

    farmerkevin Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2013
    I'm interested in saving money on feed also. I just got my chickens. But a couple years ago I planted a bunch of fruit trees. I had intentions of getting chickens, but could never get the money for the initial cost.

    I got a "coop" for free, along with 3 hens, and I bought 2 more hens and a rooster.

    I also garden each year. I have some cauliflower and broccoli in the garden right now.

    I plan on growing as much as possible for the chickens. I also harvest rainwater, so I hardly put out any money on water to water the trees and garden.

    So far the only thing I pay for for the chickens is feed $13 and filtered water $1 a gallon. A gallon has lasted 4 days so far. So I expect to spend about $25 a month on the chickens until spring hits. Then the garden "should" be in full swing.

    I also plan on getting rabbits. The rabbits will be above plastic bins, making vermicompost which I can also feed the worms to the chickens.

    Also, I was given the idea to ask produce managers to save old produce. I might just try that. I have to make a Home Depot run, and I think I'll pick up some food safe 5 gallon buckets.

    I also have a friend that owns a nursery/fruit stand. I get killer deals (6 apples for $1, free pumpkins after halloween, etc) so I can save money that way. They bag oranges on site (I've helped too) and they usually make me a bag of oranges with the ugly oranges no one will buy. I'll buy them, or they give them to me (I've been told citrus is undecided as to wether it is good or bad for chickens. I won't give it to them)

    There is a store by me (fresh and easy) that has a discount refrigerated section. I just picked up a beautiful head of romain lettuce for $1. Also some carrots with humus I enjoyed because the chickens didn't like it so much. The carrots. I didn't try to give them the humus haha.

    Those are my ideas so far. Discount produce, grow what I can, and I'll be asking at stores for the scrap produce. I also let my friends know that I have chickens, so any leftovers or scraps can come this way :)
    1 person likes this.
  6. mwat

    mwat Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013
    G'day farmerkevin,
    Sounds like you have a great community that can help you with scraps. I'm assuming they're getting protein in the feed you're buying?
    The worms I'm breeding are high in protein and can be gut-loaded with things your chooks need like calcium if they appear to be lacking. If you get the cycle of worms going, all you need to pay for is a bit I of rolled oats. Much cheaper than feed!

    I'll let you guys know how I go with the system and will do the calculations on what it has cost all up once I've got it to a sustainable point. (Fingers crossed).
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    You can cut feed consumption nearly in half with by fermenting your current feed. Now that's a savings! Free ranging and deep litter are further savings on feed. Intentional seeding of more nutritious forages in your range can also save on feed costs. Culling non layers and only keeping the most productive birds is a huge savings as well.
  8. mwat

    mwat Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013
    I haven't heard of fermenting chick does that work?
  9. mwat

    mwat Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2013

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