Ideas for free chicken food

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by burnyourmoney, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. burnyourmoney

    burnyourmoney Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2012
    Bright, ON
    I'm interested to hear what creative ideas you all have come up with for feeding your flock for free. I'm a big fan of cutting costs on my chickens in ways that don't compromise their health and I'm sure there are others out there to.

    Here are two that I do:

    1) I get old free small bales of straw or hay from local farmers and I set them outside to get rained on and everything else. Within about a week a nice colony of earwigs have moved in. All I have to do is about once a week role a bale on it's side and it's a mini chicken buffet. They go nuts.

    2) I haven't actually done this as it would likely smell something fierce but basically you take a 5 gallon pail and drill some good sized holes in the bottom of it. You then drive around and look for some roadkill (Beverly Hillbilly style). You put the roadkill in the bucket and hang the bucket up and after a few days it should be full of maggots give the bucket a decent hit and they will fall out and again, chicken buffet!

    What do y'all do to cut costs?
  2. jardog1820

    jardog1820 Out Of The Brooder

    May 7, 2012
    Lakewood Colorado
    Right now I just do table scraps, my chickens love our leftover corn cobs. your #1 seems like a good idea. #2 seems like a lot to endure for a little savings. I too am interested on what others might do!
  3. somadlyinlove

    somadlyinlove Chillin' With My Peeps

    I give mine lots of fresh grass, weeds and food scraps. Ask a restaurant for their leftovers.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I lay a couple of pieces of plywood on the ground in the run. Every so often I flip one over and let the girls scratch around there.

    Weeds go to the girls. They eat a lot of them, the ones they don't eat just get smashed into the floor of the run.

    All food scraps go to the chickens first. They're the ones that make the best use of them. All ends, peels, funky leftovers, etc to to the hens.

    They get their own shells back to them. I just toss the cracked shells into the run, I don't crush/bake/etc them.
  5. bobbi michelle

    bobbi michelle Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 25, 2012
    Sonoma county
    Hi there I do the same sort of thing. I placed two large stumps each bigger around than my own arms. They weight about 80 pounds each. I like to sit one to watch the chickens. Anyway part of my new pattern since getting chickens again is to treat the chicken to "rolly polly" bugs. I manage to roll a stump on its side and take a stick and scrap the rolly pollies into a tin pan. It is not for the faint of heart. The little buggers come in varying sizes I assume based on age. The thing is they all run one direction until I get a few of the big ones into the pan. Once that happens the it never fails a few little ones abruptly change direction and head toward where the adults just went. I always feel pains when this happens. Then I ended up having to pick up some of them by hand not so bad but I always starts off squeamish Then I take the rolly pollies over to the chicken where I feel better about the mass murder of the rolly polly's.

    These days I am consider spending the money on freeze dried mill-worms. A lovely woman who raises Speckled Sussex gave me some to help ease my new chickens into their new life. I have to admit, already dead bugs has a big appeal but I don't know how much they cost.

    Once I start letting the chickens forage I am sure they will be collecting lots of bugs and getting plenty of added protein.
  6. hoffmanslabs5

    hoffmanslabs5 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 21, 2010
    Thanks for the tips. Like the one with the straw. Going to try it.
  7. laura625

    laura625 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2012
    I collect all the kitchen scraps from a trsturaunt that features a salad bar. .
    I dump it all on a compost oile that is alwsys available to the birds.
    lots of farmers around here. I can just ask them if they have any " old" straw bales?
  8. Ole and Lena

    Ole and Lena Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Wright Co Minnesota
    Bear in mind, these are all supplements, just to offset the feed bill. Layers still need the backup of lay ration available.

    To cut costs, I add any sort of leftovers except beans to the pen. Also lately been getting defect produce from the guy down the road that has a stand. Squash, cukes get chopped with a machete and tossed in. Tomatos, peppers and sweet corn go in whole. The birds pick them apart.

    I also use a modified minnow seine to catch a large amount of grasshoppers and other bugs or more accurately herd them in the general direction of the outdoor run.

    When I butcher deer, I save the tallow and scraps that don't make the cut for grinder meat. The tallow is great in the cold months, they go nuts for it.

    Last year I scrounged a large pile of missed corn from the field next door. Don't have any way to grind it but I fed it to them whole in moderations during the winter for a good calorie boost.

    Once in awhile I go nightcrawler picking for them if we get a good rainey night. Not many of those this year, but they sure love a big juicy crawler!

    I also cut a nice pile of alphalfa and clover from the pasture and toss it in the pen every day. They also eat crabapples.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  9. dobimomof4

    dobimomof4 Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2011
    We butcher our deer also. Not sure of all the technical names just help my husband when he does it. What part exactly do you feed to the deer? What is tallow?
  10. maidenwolfx80

    maidenwolfx80 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2012
    My birds like of course table scraps and I get loads of veggies from produce people and the root veggies like carrots and weet potatoes get boiled and smashed and frozen. On hot days I serve frozen on cold days I thaw and warm , they love them. Bugs bugs and more bugs , my kids have a blast catching a bug and tossing it in to them and watching them chase each other. They do have afew hours a day to forage and catch their own

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