Reduce feed cost ideas

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by speedy2020, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2010
    I want to plant some green in the run in the next few months to reduce feed cost. My thought would be grass & alfalfa seed (lucerne seed). Have any member doing the same thing? If yes, please share your ideas. Is the 1st photo from this link is the right kind of alfalfa plant?
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  2. THunter

    THunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've tried planting stuff in chicken runs for years with no success. Just not enough space to keep them from scratching it all up. Best thing I've found to cut feed costs is ground up left-over biscuits from local restaurants!
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    About the only way to keep anything alive and growing in the run is if you have a large enough run to divide it into sections so that you can rotate where the birds "graze". You would also need to put down chicken wire on the ground otherwise they will scratch up all there is of the plants and roots anyway in whatever section they happen to be in. Even when they are just on it for a day they do a lot of damage. In other words, it would be a lot of time and work to keep it up.

    If you had access to a fenced pasture area that would be a lot easier. That is what I do. My chickens have access to my goat pasture which is securely fenced.

    As far a what variety of alfalfa you plant it's a personal choice, some may do better in your particular region, your chickens won't give a rip one way or the other, they'll just gobble it down!
  4. sarasweatman

    sarasweatman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2012
    I have had really good luck with the produce departments at the grocery store. They will give you lettuce and trimmings that they are throwing away. I have not had any luck with seeds. The chickens eat the seeds and dig up new shoots. The seeds are more expensive than the feed.
  5. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2010
    I have no luck getting produce from store. However, I can get old bread. The issue place that gave me the bread is about 5-6 miles away so not really cost saving because of the gas price.
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Planting in the run will necessitate a way to keep them off it for a significant period of time. One way to do this is to use a frame with mesh preventing them from scratching the bed up. However, this will not grant you a large crop.

    What I recommend (and do myself when my chickens are rotated to the pen with no grass) is to give them grass clippings every day or so, cut only 2-3 inches long in order to prevent impacted crop. I use yard scissors and fill a small bucket with them.

    I used to cut a square of sod and deliver it to them like a pizza in the run. They REALLY enjoy this and will eat everything except a few roots and the dirt, but it is labor intensive.

    Giving the grass clippings is an incredibly easy way to decrease the feed bill, and sometimes I rake them up after mowing to give them.

    Make sure they aren't chemical-laden, obviously.
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Bread is a very good treat but unless made from whole grains, is lacking vital nutrients. I would keep white rice and white bread in the treats category, and not blend it with a feeding program as a cornerstone of the culinary regimen.
  8. speedy2020

    speedy2020 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2010
    Here is the plan that I have in mine.

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  9. Lute

    Lute Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Wow Speedy, that looks good. I think I'll try that on the homestead.
  10. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    One BYC'r has a nice setup where the coop is in the middle and is surrounded by a pizza shape of runs. She alternates chicken run and garden in them. Your setup looks cool too :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by