substuting or adding food to chicken feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by darkgizmo1211, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. darkgizmo1211

    darkgizmo1211 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2016
    hi i have a couple q's i can hopefully get answers to umm i was wondering what other food u can feed chickens to make it last longer and my wife had read somewhere that u can a caddle feed to chicken food is that safe for them to eat also what other food can i give them thats cheap and will make it last longer are u able to give dog food to them ty for all the wonderful advice and help anyone can give
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I find chicken feed is cheaper than any other. Are you sure your chickens are eating all the feed? Sometimes things like rats, mice, and wild birds will eat more than the chickens.
     
  3. darkgizmo1211

    darkgizmo1211 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2016
    the 2 ducks we got eat like pigs lol
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Ducks do waste feed, half ends up in the water bucket. I have found feeding them a pellet instead of a crumble can help a lot.

    If you feed a high enough protein feed like 18-20% you can add in some scratch or even whole corn without upsetting things too much. Letting them range can help cut feed bills, mine consume about half as much food during the summer when range is plentiful.

    Growing animals eat more than mature ones too, so if your birds are under a year they will consume more.
     
  5. mechanic57

    mechanic57 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 23, 2014
    What are you placing the feed in? Chickens tend to waste feed because they will dig through it if given the chance. I used to use the store bought feeders. The chickens seemed like they were digging through it like they are looking for something different at the bottom. I watched them just stick their head in the tray and rake side to side, knocking handfuls of food out at a time. I feed them from a bucket with an elbow fitting through the side. They have to put their heads in to eat the food and it keeps them from spreading food out of the feeder all over the ground. Here's a pic of something similar to what I use (pic taken from the interweb).


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    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  6. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    You can add things like cattle feed as long as it's not medicated, BUT and it's a big BUT doing so dilutes the optimal nutritional profile of the chicken feed and in most cases drops the protein levels far bellow what chickens need to thrive... Same applies for adding other things like corn, scratch or what not, they all mess with the nutritional profile and almost all drop the protein levels bellow what a chicken needs...

    The short of it, the few bucks you might save diluting with cattle feed is going to cost you with lower egg production, slower growth and potentially other ailments and health issues in the long run fully negating any savings... Livestock feed cost across the board is almost fully dependent on the protein level of the feed, the reason that other types of feed like all stock, sweet, or cattle is cheaper is because they are generally 9%-12% protein, not the 16%-18% chickens need to thrive... If you price out a 14%-18% hog feed you will see that it's nearly if not the same price as poultry feed...

    Chicken feed is optimized in nutrition and cost, there really is no cheaper way to feed them with the guarantee you get optimized nutrition short of mixing your own feed in bulk after much planning and study...

    The only exception to the rule that I would recommend anyone do for any length of time is to use pig/hog feed on occasion if you can get it cheaper (on sale) at no more than a 50% mix... Most hog feed is 14-18% protein so it barely drops the protein level if at all and it's very close to the nutritional profile of chicken feed, it does lack the proper amino acid balance/suplimentation for chickens but it's not that far off... If you do this you can also bump the nutritional profile up by adding a feed supplement like Diamond V XP, it's a cheap supplement with lots of goodness...

    A little bit of trivia for many feed mills that grind their own the poultry and hog mix are the same base mix, they simply adjust the supplements added hogs or poultry, and many times they will use this same base mix for cattle and the sorts as well by simply diluting it with cracked corn to drop the protein level...


    Can't say if it's the same everywhere but by me that actually doesn't save you anything... 18%-20% feed is about plus$1-$3 a bag over 16% layer, and scratch or corn is about $1-$2 less meaning in the end it's essentially a wash with no savings, or even extra cost if you try to maintain the 16% protein and can only add a small percentage of the cheaper stuff...

    Shopping around can pay off though, I hate the 30 minute drive each way, but I can save almost $2 a bag by making the trip so it's a profitable trip if I buy several bags especially if I have other needs in the area...
     
  7. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    On another note one way you can save cost and what I do is source free fresh foods...

    I pounded the local grocery stores in my area until I found one willing to let me take the day old produce that was on the way to the dumpster, it took a lot of "no" tries but I finally found one that was willing to work with me... When talking to them be clear that it's for you chickens and not for human consumption and even offer to sign a waiver of such...

    ***If you can't find one willing to hook you up, you might even consider the 'freeganism' movement, the new socially accepted fancy name for dumpster diving...

    Oh and BTW the stuff I get from the grocery store that will become dumpster food if I don't take it, is still very much edible foods, a vast majority of it is dent and bruise food... For example last night I got two full banana boxes of bananas, not even opened they just started to show the brown spots so the grocery stored tossed them... I also got case full of of iceburg lettuce that was just showing some minor browning on the outside, peal back one layer and it's perfectly fine and last but not least I got about 40 bags of prepared salad mix, nothing wrong with that except the sell by date was yesterday so it was pulled from the shelves... I also regularly get the day old bread, again nothing wrong just passed the date...

    Second my neighbor got a hook up at a local micro brewery for their spent grain, they get more than they know what to do with so they generally give me one or two 32 gallon garbage cans full of spent grain a week....

    So between the fresh day old produce and other items I get from the grocery store and the spent grain, my feed bill is easily half of what it would be feeding commercial poultry feed and because it's a varied diet of every changing produce they are still likely getting a very balanced diet....

    FYI they still always have a 24/7 side of commercial feed available...
     

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