Topic of the Week - Saving Money, Feeding Chickens

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,614
26,796
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
1. Be sure your feed is fresh. 6 weeks after mill date your feed is loosing nutritional value. Keep it stored in a rodent proof container, in a cool/dry place.

2. Don't leave feed out overnight. Rodents, as well as more invasive critters are more of a problem at night.

3. Fermented feed can save 10 - 30% of your feed bill. According to Blue Seal pamphlet, an adult LF hen will eat .20 - .25# of dry feed/day. By fermenting my feed, my LF flock ate .18 - .19# of dry feed/day. This feed conversion rate was during the winter when there was no free range option available. An other benefit of FF is that there is NO WASTE. No feed ever spilled to be lost or to attract rodents. Rodents do not carry FF off to their nests the way they will do so with dry feed.

4. Sprout grains: especially useful during the winter months.

5. Free range when you can. I have heavy hawk predation, so must limit my free range time. But, even a couple of hours/day add up to feed savings. Most recent predators that need to be dealt with are mink. Plant your yard to maximize free range potential. I've added: fruit trees, June berries, Siberian Pea shrub, Bocking #14 Comfrey, let the flock into the garden after harvest.

6. Deep litter in coop and run. By providing DL, your birds have lots of composting material to dig through. DL attracts lots of beneficial insects, worms. It also provides beneficial bacteria and fungi that improve gut flora for better digestion and immunity. And those beneficial micro-organisms keep things balanced to eliminate a lot of pathogens.

7. Keep your flock size appropriate to your needs. Sometimes easier said than done. But if you eliminate cockerels that won't be part of your breeding program. If you eliminate older birds that are not productive. If you eliminate the weaker birds, you will be improving the overall health of your flock as well as keeping your population at an appropriate level for your feeding program.

8. Supply grit. Just my opinion, but: birds do not have teeth. They were given a gizzard and need grit for it's effective function. While "they say" that birds who are on only chicken feed do not need grit, I am of the opinion that grit will improve digestion for the bird, no matter what her diet consists of.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
4,710
49,164
1,127
Midgard
Anybody have this problem? My chickens love to scoop the food out of the feeder with their beaks and waste it. There is a five foot by five foot area just covered with chicken feed about two to three inches deep. They waste more than they eat in a year! i bet if i gathered up all the feed around the feeder, I would never have to buy chicken feed again there is so much there. I really need some suggestions on feeders that won't waste as much. I have an idea though, i was thinking i could build a small, low box and cover the top with some wire with small holes that would allow the chicken feed through but not poop. The feeder sits on top. Then at the end of the day, I dump the feed back in the feeder. Would this work? If not, can you suggest anything that might work?
 

barred2rock

Crowing
Mar 4, 2017
1,140
1,050
257
San De Cristo Range - Colorado Rockies
Anybody have this problem? My chickens love to scoop the food out of the feeder with their beaks and waste it. There is a five foot by five foot area just covered with chicken feed about two to three inches deep. They waste more than they eat in a year! i bet if i gathered up all the feed around the feeder, I would never have to buy chicken feed again there is so much there. I really need some suggestions on feeders that won't waste as much. I have an idea though, i was thinking i could build a small, low box and cover the top with some wire with small holes that would allow the chicken feed through but not poop. The feeder sits on top. Then at the end of the day, I dump the feed back in the feeder. Would this work? If not, can you suggest anything that might work?
I'd highly recommend fermented feed. Far less waste and more nutritious for the birds. :thumbsup:thumbsup
 

Beer can

Free Ranging
5 Years
Aug 12, 2014
8,738
11,991
641
Upstate NY
Shop around, find a local feed mill. I get 17% layer mash from a mill 50lbs for $10 and it's always fresh. I figure every third bags free if I compare it to TSC cost per bag.
I ferment it and have noticed a reduction in the amount of feed they eat, savings on the wallet.
Though I have yet to see any scientific study on fermented feed benefits and the only large scale study/side by side comparison didn't show any benefits I'll continue to ferment just for the fact it cost less.

Trying out mammoth red mangle beets this winter for the chickens, hope it cuts down on feed. Have a nice patch growing. Supposedly the same food value as grain and they grow 10-20lbs. Plus they can eat the greens.

"Henry Field’s Seed Sense for February 1926. In it the author writes, “If you don’t grow mangel beets for anything else, grow them for your chickens. They furnish a very important food element for your laying hens. Your hens will loaf on the job during the winter if they do not have green food of some kind like sprouted oats, cabbage, or beets. Mangels are easy to grow and make enormous yields. "

"Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame, was famous for getting excellent egg production out of her hens in the winter on her farm. She wrote of mangels in her memoirs saying, “Some stock beets should be raised to feed the layers in winter. The hens are fond of them and they act as a relish and appetizer as well as save other feed.” "
 

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