Reducing feed cost

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KlinoClucks, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. KlinoClucks

    KlinoClucks In the Brooder

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    Hi fellow chicken lovers!

    I am from Australia and there might be some Aussies out there who can give me advice. I have been keeping chickens for five years now, with my flock increasing over this time. The cost of keeping the chickens was not a big deal, as it was a small hobby, but the last two summers proved trying in keeping their hunger at bay! I have started on small scale these past two summers to raise chicks that was hatched under broody chooks to point of lay, and then selling them, but recently counted up the food cost to be around $295 per month during these seasons. Then I started researching on how to lower feed bill costs, and tried the fermenting method, started with mealworms, and scraps. It hasn’t brought down the costs at all. I put apple cider vinegar in their water, and when I can I make a porridge with bran and add cayenne pepper with a bunch of other herbs. If anyone has any tips at all, it would be highly appreciated. I have about 20 laying girls and I’m currently raising 30 pullets to point of lay.

    I have also been battling severely with red mites and leg mites for two years now, and I’ve tried chemical and natural treatments and have had them on once a week treatment schedules, but the mites stay just where they are! I’m getting a bit discouraged and once again advice would be highly appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  2. SueT

    SueT Crossing the Road

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    Welcome to BYC!
    I am surprised it is costing so much. One Australian dollar = .71$ USD. I have 10 chickens, so 1/5 of what you have, and I spend about $18 a month total. That's for 50 lb. of commercial feed a month for about $16 plus about 2$ a month for the amount of scratch and oyster shell I give. And I've been thinking of selling some of my hens so I don't spend so much.
    Do you sell some of your eggs?
     
    FluffTheDuck likes this.
  3. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Try getting free food...

    Breweries sometimes give away the spent grains that they use to brew... call around.

    Also any place that sells food.. call around for the spoiled stuff. Usually "unfit to sell at the store" just means a few wilted leaves. Pick through it of course to make sure it is good, anything really off can go into the compost.

    Sadly... I have found leg mites tenacious buggers. And with so many hens you might want to smack your head against the wall....

    But I had to knuckle down and soak their legs, scrub them gently clean with an old tooth brush... then rub vaseline or whatever cream you like up under the scales... bring the bird back in and do it AGAIN three days later... and keep repeating that for maybe 6 treatments. (I too have a large flock)

    Finally, after all of that work this past fall... ... I was just looking at my old man rooster who had them the worst... and his legs look perfect now!

    But yes... also super scrub the coop... yada, yada... but personal spa day for each chicken in a large flock... crazy
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
    ChickNanny13 and SueT like this.
  4. Perris

    Perris Crowing

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    hello @KlinoClucks ! welcome to BYC :frow
    I'm not an Aussie but that sounds really expensive to me too. I'm guessing the feed is the most expensive bit - mealworms cost a small fortune here (UK) but processed chicken feed is pricey too. Ditto herbs and spices. Do your birds depend on you for all their nutrition? Or can they forage, and if so, what's the quality of that forage?
     
    ChickNanny13 likes this.
  5. Feathered_Texans

    Feathered_Texans Songster

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    I give my chickens grass and other leafy green stuff. I sprinkle it on the ground and on top/ around things so they stay occupied looking for it. With your amount of chickens it could be hard to free range, but finding things around your yard they can eat is an easy free way to give them food.
     
  6. FluffTheDuck

    FluffTheDuck Duck love is recognizable in any language

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    My Coop
    I have 60 chickens... have to get 150 lbs a month.

    SO EXPENSIVE!
     
  7. KlinoClucks

    KlinoClucks In the Brooder

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    Wow thanks for all the help! Yes, food is pretty pricey down here. I pay $19.99 for a twenty kg bag of complete layer mix feed. I have sold eggs in summers before when I have too many, will try again this upcoming season. I've called several grocery stores nearby, and they all have some sort of contract for somebody else. I'll try a few Cafe's and such, thanks for the suggestion! Yes mites are awful:( will try the ideas, thanks! Meal worms (the naturally raised and bred ones) are slightly on the expensive side. I have started breeding them last year November, but haven't had enough to feed them to the chooks yet and continue with the breeding. Was thinking I might just buy another lot and start two different lots of meal worms so as to constantly have a supply. They used to be able to forage all day, one acre per flock of chickens, and we had wheat planted. They have been confined in coops and runs this summer, but will go back to the paddock in a months time. I let them out to forage in my garden every afternoon though. My garden is pretty bare at the moment, Australian summers are very dry. Hoping the rain comes soon!
     
    Feathered_Texans likes this.
  8. Perris

    Perris Crowing

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    thanks for the informative answer. But how do you get to $295/month then? Am I missing something?
     
  9. Krissygirlusa

    Krissygirlusa In the Brooder

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    I buy organic for about $30/bag. But I also supplement their diets with our family’s dinner scraps. They had chicken enchiladas for dinner last night and loved them more than my kid did!
     
  10. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    If you can let them out sometimes to free-range for bugs, that'll help.

    For the mites, what are you treating with? If you slather their legs in petroleum jelly, a really thick layer, rubbing it against the 'grain' of how the scales lay, that will smother the scaly leg mites. You have to make sure it stays on them for a few days, so you'll have to reapply, but it'll suffocate the leg mites.
     

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