Topic of the Week - Saving Money, Feeding Chickens

the cluck juggler

Incubator Addict
Jun 12, 2017
630
1,628
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Scandinavia
If you have a lot of rain that keeps the soil water logged, you might look at hay bale gardening. I am growing potatoes and sweet potatoes in hay bales this year. In years past, I grew a variety of cucurbits in hay bales with good success. But, this year, I am particularly pleased with the taters and SP in the hay bales. So much so, that I plan to move my potatoes out of the garden next year, and set up a 10 bale bed in the orchard strictly for potatoes. May do an other 10 bales for cucurbits. Are raised beds an option for you? You might do a raised bed, with clamps to secure 10' long PVC pipe to make hoops over the RB, so you could easily put plastic over one or more beds as needed to turn it into a hoop tunnel.
Have looked into hay bale gardening, and it's definitely something I'll consider. Thank you!
The area I'm planning to grow has been "processed" by a couple of pigs, and looks like a disaster area now. Haha! But the earth still need to be turned and worked on with a tractor to be useful, and equipment like that costs money. So hay bales seems to be a good alternative for year one. Plus the added benefits of fertilizer for the earth after harvest!
 

mbrobbins

Songster
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
481
96
201
Powder Springs, ga
since my husband doesn't eat a lot of leftovers,I clean out the fridge every few days and give most of my food such as peas pancakes,potato salad,melons,etc in a separate tray they eat almost anything now.also bring home my leftovers from the restaurants in a"chickie bag"I throw out a bucket of grass clippings in their outside pen every time the grass is cut.
 

microchick

Enabler
5 Years
Dec 31, 2014
7,506
28,417
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NE Missouri
Question for y'all. What type of food are you feeding? Pellets or crumbles?

I have a mixed flock, 45 birds more or less. I stopped counting at 40 so if people asked me how many chickens I have I can honestly say, the last time I counted them 40, :hmm I feed game bird crumbles with oyster shell on the side and where I'm getting a lot of waste is from crumble dust.. I thwarted wild birds by putting the main feeder in the coop and there is an inch or more of crumble dust around the feeder. As my flock is a multi age flock I scatter feeders around the run so the younger birds aren't bullied away from the feeders and I don't have the dust problem with smaller amounts of feed which makes me wonder if the hens aren't at the base of the problem.

I tried pellets once. They weren't impressed.

If you want to grow a treat that your chickens will love you for, grow the cherry tomatoes. Our garden is 20 feet from the chicken run. Too much fun to stand in the garden and lob cherry tomatoes into the run and watch the bantams scramble for them.
 

Kiki

I quit 10 days ago.
Project manager
Premium member
Jul 31, 2015
83,322
407,468
1,972
Houston, TX
My Coop
My Coop
Question for y'all. What type of food are you feeding? Pellets or crumbles?

I have a mixed flock, 45 birds more or less. I stopped counting at 40 so if people asked me how many chickens I have I can honestly say, the last time I counted them 40, :hmm I feed game bird crumbles with oyster shell on the side and where I'm getting a lot of waste is from crumble dust.. I thwarted wild birds by putting the main feeder in the coop and there is an inch or more of crumble dust around the feeder. As my flock is a multi age flock I scatter feeders around the run so the younger birds aren't bullied away from the feeders and I don't have the dust problem with smaller amounts of feed which makes me wonder if the hens aren't at the base of the problem.

I tried pellets once. They weren't impressed.

If you want to grow a treat that your chickens will love you for, grow the cherry tomatoes. Our garden is 20 feet from the chicken run. Too much fun to stand in the garden and lob cherry tomatoes into the run and watch the bantams scramble for them.
I ferment crumbles. Zero dust waste.
 

microchick

Enabler
5 Years
Dec 31, 2014
7,506
28,417
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NE Missouri
I tried fermenting food once. I couldn't get them to touch it. I even sprinkled some scratch on it. Nope. I tried several times and no luck. I finally had to dump it.

The dust that I am able to salvage I usually mix with oatmeal and broth in the winter for them which they love but lately, I've been noticing an increase in the dust amount
 

User395221

Crowing
Jan 3, 2016
3,611
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or home made feeders (relatively cheap + 1-time effort).
I have bucket feeders (with the plumbing elbows going inside the bucket, so the girls have to stick their heads inside to eat) which I bought but are "homemade". Some young boys make them to sell, they've got a little cottage industry going. They are relatively inexpensive, obviously the overheads of a couple of kids are not the same as a commercial entity.

I get vege scraps from a vege supplier in exchange for a dozen eggs. My bunnies and guinea pig get the "salad" and also the girls.

I get a lot of cardboard boxes which come with the veges. I compost all my organic "rubbish". Cardboard boxes are great to leave in a heap and then uncover/turn over. Lots of slaters, and worms and other bugs for the girls. They just love it.

I recently bought a treadle feeder for my "big girls". It cost quite a bit, but worth every penny. It's waterproof even though it's outdoors, and there's little spilled or wasted. It holds heaps, so it doesn't need constant refilling. The spills get finished up later on by other girls. The only down side to the bucket feeders as compared to the treadle is that mice can get in there. Also, the lids are very firm, which is a good thing for keeping the food dry, but getting them off is not as easy as the treadle, which just has a lift up lid which locks down when closed. I'm so impressed with the treadle, I'm thinking of getting another for my "little girls" (bantams).

My girls get the best crumble, but I mix a bit of the cheaper one in to bring down the cost.

Otherwise, they get leftovers here and there.
 

User395221

Crowing
Jan 3, 2016
3,611
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361
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My Coop
The treadle feeder has cut down so far on the amount of crumble "disappearing" that I'm concerned that they aren't even eating. It's still mostly full since the last refill. None lost to scattering/kicking in to the dirt.
 

microchick

Enabler
5 Years
Dec 31, 2014
7,506
28,417
1,047
NE Missouri
Since my last post I fabricated three bucket/90 degree elbow feeders and put them out. The percentage of waste has dropped dramatically. I also installed one of the PVC feeders L design with 3 inch holes drilled in a three foot length of pipe in the coop. Waste went to zero.

It also helped that the local MFA seems to have dropped the price of the Game Bird finisher to 10$ per 50. Bless em!
 

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