Savings in bulk?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by fluttervale, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. fluttervale

    fluttervale Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Just curious as the Internet is not always specific. If it matters, I'm in Michigan, USA.

    - Does anyone know what percent Tractor Supply (TSC) discounts if you buy a whole pallet of bagged food?
    - About how much does a ton of decent feed cost at a mill?

    I know this is one of those "your mileage may vary" sorts of questions. I'm just trying to make a more accurate budget than "guesstimates."

    And, if anyone can answer this as well (not as pressing of a question at the moment as I'm still residing in a 1 bedroom apartment for at least the next 9 months), about how many CX would you want to feed one person for a year, and about how much freezer space would that require if you were cutting them down (wings, legs, breast, etc.) and not storing them whole?

    I'm not in a position to go out and get started today which is why I'm not just cold-calling the feed stores and asking. I don't like wasting small businesses' time if I'm not in a position to go in and buy.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    All feed begins as a coarse ground mash. Then, it is pelletized for, well, pellets and then may be crushed to form crumbles.

    In an area that is genuinely rural and/or may have a concentration of Amish/Mennonite folks, there is often a local feed mill that grinds their own house feed. Typically, these mills are associated with a national or regional feed company such as Land O Lakes, Hubbard, etc. These national feed companies provide the nutrient/mineral/vitamin pack, but 90% of the base grains, the bulk of all feeds, is ground by the mill and the supplement pack is mixed in during the grinding process making it a complete feed.

    Larger poultry keepers buy in bulk, by the ton, and sometimes even have their feed delivered by feed trucks. Cattle, sheep. and hog farmers usually buy their bulk feed the same way.

    At such a local feed mill, you can often buy fresh ground feed, sacked in a generic bag, by the 100# for roughly 60 cents on the dollar versus buying retail feed in a fancy, printed bag such as is sold by TSC or other rural retail stores. The savings is great, but very, very few of these local feed mills have a pelletizing capability. Thus, the feed is just coarse ground feed. It takes good husbandry and management to feed a coarse ground feed to maximize your savings. Most backyard folks don't have the kinds of feeders that such ground feed works in very well and often complain about the "waste" with their feeding methods.

    Thus, backyard folks often spend quite a bit more to have the convenience of pelletized feed over buying in bulk.

    Buying a pallet of retail, pelletized feed might save some money, but would create a storage, rodent and freshness issue, I would think.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  3. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Boulder, Colorado
    The guy I buy bulk feed from pays $.37/# (non GMO formulation) with a 500# minimum. Most mills require a 1 T minimum. Buying a whole batch of bulk feed does not make sense for me as I only have 23 hens and guineas. It would be enough feed for 2.5 months which would lead to more waste and higher cost than buying as needed. I can buy a 20% layer pellet, locally milled, for $15/50# bag where national brands run me $18.
     
  4. fluttervale

    fluttervale Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    I'm planning on a system where about a ton of feed lasts about 2 months. We would theoretically also have at least a steer, a cow, and two or more pigs as well. I was planning on fermenting the chicken feed as I think that would create less waste and have read that it saves 20-35% or so (possibly more) on feed costs. I'm currently budgeting it to save 20%.

    Feed would be stored in tight metal or plastic garbage drums, not in bags, because I know how mice work and I am not willing to feed them.

    I run my life like a business, not a hobby, so this at-least-a-year-in-advance planning is meant to bring out all these questions and thoughts.

    My goal is to have a life where I know that friends and family do not need to worry about food. I also want a life where I can stay home with my kids and still be able to provide for my family. I want to be able to consider home schooling (no kids yet) even if I don't choose it. I want it to run like a business and be able to sell excess, but I also want to have the kind of profit margins that mean I can give away a couple dozen eggs a month or a quarter of pork to (for example) my BFF whose family budget has taken a huge hit since the recession, or to her son and his girlfriend who "accidentally" got pregnant very early in life. We'd like the first year to start with 25 layers + 50 CX. I budget that with JUST chickens I would go through 1 ton in 4 months. Add in the pigs and the ton would drop to 2 months.
     
  5. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But they're not going to eat the same feed.
     
  6. fluttervale

    fluttervale Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    You can take a base that is the same and then mix-in to customize. For example, the pigs can be fed the same base feed as the chickens, then you add other things that they need to their diet. It's similar to doing BARF for dogs & cats. You can feed them both a rabbit carcass, for example, and then just add different vitamins for the cat because the cat won't get all she needs from just the rabbit.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    That is correct. If you have a feed mixer, you can have the base feed delivered in bulk and then add the "pac" for hogs or the "pac" for your birds. Feed individually a proper mix.

    If you spend a little time on the Hubbard Feed site (just to name one company) you'll see the way it's done, really. Interesting reading, if you like this sorta thing. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013

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