what are you doing to offset feed costs??

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by sunket77, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. sunket77

    sunket77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    955
    2
    141
    May 21, 2009
    Texas Hill Country!
    I finally decided I have to reduce my flock, for now anyway until either feed prices go down or we make more money [​IMG] not either will happen!

    I was wondering if any of you out there have tips and tricks to avoid these high prices?? Do you make your own? I have been trying to free range more often so they will eat less, but since we are still in a drought there isn't much to eat outside the run either. I am thinking about starting a meal worm farm.
     
  2. rebbetzin

    rebbetzin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2008
    Tucson AZ
    I feed my chickens lots of kitchen scraps, leftovers out of the fridge, garden clippings from plants that aren't toxic. I only have 6 chickens so I don't have to buy much in the way of chicken feed. Plus, my chickens much prefer "real" food. I pick off or dig up lots of bugs for them too. I don't/can't let mine free range for two reasons, one is a large number of Hawks in the neighborhood, and the other is I don't want them destroying my garden.
     
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,372
    27
    198
    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    how many birds do you have? My birds LOVE mealworms, but they can eat a TON of them [​IMG] I started by ordering 4000, and I occasionally refresh the colony with 2000 more in the winter when they don't breed quite as vigerously. They are pretty fatty, so I do not offer them a whole lot on a regular basis, so I do not know how much they would help to suplement your feed bill, but they are certainly cheap, nearly free really, and super easy to raise.

    I also provide kitchen scraps and veggies along with free ranging.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  4. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    628
    5
    111
    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Try finding someone who makes their own beer and ask for their 'spent grains'. They are high in protein and low carbs (these are taken out in the brewing process). You can't use as a staple feed, but certainly can supplement and the chickens love them!
     
  5. wolftracks

    wolftracks Spam Hunter

    10,312
    98
    328
    Nov 6, 2009
    Modesto
    I'm putting at least 2 raised beds out back. One is just for the animals. I also have rabbits. There are a lot of winter veggies you can grow. I'll use plastic covers on most of what I'm growing and I'll also let the birds go though the beds when they're done. I'd like to have 3 at least, so while they forage one I can be growing in another.

    Forgot to mention. I'm also going to be putting some small beds in the runs. I'll cover with chicken wire or hardware cloth so they can eat without digging everything up. I bought birds seed and I have scatch that I'll use and I need to find seed for rye grass. I want to do alphalpa, but you have to mive to a diferent area to keep it gowing, so not sure about it yet. Also gowing to grow Sunflowers from some BOSS , so they'll have lots of seed when those eventually grow.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,637
    52
    231
    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I grow a fall garden. I grow mustard greens, collards, kale, broccoli, & more stuff. The winter garden helps provide the birds with greens they normally can't forage for in the winter. It helps because during this time they need more to eat to stay warm. I usually stock pile leaves & throw them in their run & throw the greens on top of the leaves which gives them something to scratch around in during the winter. This gives them something to do.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Given our short growing season, producing more of our own feed isn't likely, in a meaningful way. 80-90% of feed is going to be purchased on an annual basis.

    The key for me was finding a local, quality, no frills, tie a hundred pound sack of feed with a baling twine, kind of place. If I go to any local TSC, I would pay $26-$30 for a hundred pounds of layer feed. That feed might have made at a Purina Mill a thousand miles away, made a month or longer ago, truck to a distribution center, then trucked to my local TSC. All that shipping and handling costs drives the price to $15 a 50# or $30 a 100#

    At the local mill, I pay $19.50 a 100#. That is 1/3 less!!!! Plus, it is simply higher quality and freshly ground. Cost cutting has to start with this, imho.

    Culling all non-productive birds and keeping/feeding only highly efficient layers is another step.
     
  8. Clay Mudd

    Clay Mudd Chillin' With My Peeps

    596
    42
    188
    Mar 28, 2011
    South MS swamps
    Quote:Two free foods my chickens get are spent grain from a nearby brewery and garden trimmings, including "weeds" such as chickweed and dandelion. I had planted some field peas as a cover crop, and they eat those, too, so maybe that counts as free. [​IMG]

    I'm preparing to plant kale, mustard, collards, and Austrian winter peas, all winter-hardy in my zone. Not sure if that's an option for you.
     
  9. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,151
    12
    161
    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    We have a local produce mart that will give me boxes of food trimmings anytime I go in there. I usually am there twice a week, and get a box I can barely carrry. The food lasts me for several days as I toss it to them. I usually do this during the winter when I don't have my own garden trimmings and weeds to toss them.
    I also free range them whenever i can.
     
  10. Clay Mudd

    Clay Mudd Chillin' With My Peeps

    596
    42
    188
    Mar 28, 2011
    South MS swamps
    Almost forgot -- this article presents some great ideas.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by