What are your chicken keeping, cost saving tips?

new chick 203

Songster
Feb 8, 2010
1,376
55
216
Ridgefield CT
These days we all have to be smart about how we spend our money. How do you keep your costs down?

Here is my list so far:

1. Free ranging at least part time keeps feed cost down.

2. I get free coffee chaff from a local roaster to use as bedding.

3. I use raked up pine straw instead of hay in run.

4. In Winter (when ranging isn't posable because of snow) I ask the grocer to save produce for me that might otherwise be thrown away. Nothing spoiled, just the stuff that isn't as pretty.

5. Build a coop from salvaged materials (It's amazing what you can get)

6. Our local pumpkin patch gives pumpkins away for free after Halloween. My girls love sugar pumpkins, and they keep for a while.

What have I missed?
 

Red Barn Farms

~Friendly Fowl~
7 Years
Apr 12, 2012
3,158
165
228
Kentucky Heartland
To keep in mind when feeding crumble to poultry:

I've heard many times from other chicken owners who feed crumble saying it contains a lot of dust and they throw it away. That can add up to hundreds of dollars over a years time. Don't waste that feed. We save the crumble dust, add a measurable amount of water to create a 'porridge' or mush consistency feed for the chickens. Our flock seems to like it even more than the dry crumble.

If you sell eggs to support your feed cost remember to add a light with timer in the winter to boost egg production. To lower that electric bill buy a cheap solar panel for light hookup. It will more than pay for itself over a years time.

The cost of watering your flock greatly increases during the summer, at least ours did. Place a 50 gallon barrel next to a down spout to collect the rain water.

Ask all your neighbors to save those Halloween pumpkins for your chickens to eat! (making sure they are not rotted)
 
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Morrow1411

In the Brooder
7 Years
Oct 16, 2012
29
0
22
Tampa Florida
Thought I'd add one. We have a discount bread store where I live. You can buy day old bread for 3 / $1.00 or $10.00 a shopping cart full. The bread is still good, just pulled off the shelves the day before. My chickens love a few slices of bread now and then!
 

triplepurpose

Crowing
12 Years
Oct 13, 2008
1,018
266
289
Good list! Here's a couple more I thought of:

- Keep a slop bucket in the kitchen next to the sink, use it for any food waste, peelings, leftovers, etc., and empty it regularly into your chicken coop for a fun source of entertainment/modest supplement to feeding. Especially nice are meat trimmings, bones, spoiled dairy products, stale bread/tortillas/chips etc. Warning: don't eat junk food products or feed them to your chickens.

- If you have some garden space, plant extra potatoes, sweetpotatoes, etc, or some mangel beets (fodder beets). These can fill a similar role as grains in terms of supplying caloric value. mangels can be skinned or halved and fed raw, potatoes must be cooked up first (ideally in large batches). Also grow some field peas if you have space, and/or duckweed or azolla if you don't.

- Eat your old layers and extra cockerels instead of keeping them on or giving them away (either saves you money or gives you more return on the money you DO spend)!
 

Lolachick07

In the Brooder
7 Years
Aug 7, 2012
44
3
26
Oklahoma
Awesome tips! Mine usually get scraps from the kitchen and the garden, we also free range whenever possible
smile.png
 

new chick 203

Songster
Feb 8, 2010
1,376
55
216
Ridgefield CT
Does anyone have any ideas to keep wild birds from eating their food? Lately they have been flying right into the coop to steal food and it's starting to be significant.
 

triplepurpose

Crowing
12 Years
Oct 13, 2008
1,018
266
289
Does anyone have any ideas to keep wild birds from eating their food? Lately they have been flying right into the coop to steal food and it's starting to be significant.

I would say don't feed "free-choice"...? Feed just what they can eat once or twice a day. In my experience if you don't have extra feed lying out all the time this is a non-issue. I know the pop lit recommends having food in front of them all the time, but my experience and intuition suggests it's not a bad thing for them to get a little hungry now and then. No more issues with spilled or wasted food and it's more natural and encourages more active foraging and trying new foods, etc.
 

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