Chickens are notorious for playing with their food and causing a lot of waste. The right feeder can help prevent waste and save you money in the long run. It can be tempting to just grab the nearest dish or container to simply feed your chickens, but a spillproof feeder with a top on it
Fermented chicken feed is basically grains that have sat in water for a period of time. These grains have been what is known as lacto -fermented; this is the same process that is used to ferment sauerkraut. The process of fermenting creates good bacteria also known as probiotics which greatly increases nutrient intake and decreases the amount they eat.
Chickens love scratching the ground looking for bugs and good things to eat, they will do the same thing to a compost pile. Adding the compost pile to the coop will allow them to get extra snacks and put them to work for you turning the compost. We decided to put the compost in the chicken run and so far this has been a great addition to the coop. You can watch how the process went on here. Our compost is now the number one spot to find our happy hens!
Having your chickens running around the garden when things are in full swing can be a huge nuisance. However, there is nothing wrong with letting them free-range during the off-season. It is a win-win for everyone you get fertilizer, garden clean up without the work, and of course full happy hens. Nothing like saving time using chicken power on your homestead to get the job done!
I just learned about duckweed and azolla! I ordered some organic starts and will be feeding it to my chickens and dairy goats soon! I gave the sprouted barley fodder thing a go last year, but it was complicated and messy and took up too much space in my dining room. The duckweed and azolla seem like they will be easier to keep and the excess will feed my garden.
Free ranging has definitely been the most help for us on feed costs. But I really want to talk with my grocery store about less than prime produce. What I worry about is the fact that we try to keep our chickens as organic as possible, so I would really only want the organic produce which may get complicated. Worth asking though
Great article,,, in addition to what you have mentioned, I save the egg shells dry them and crash them to nearly powder and feed them this instead of buying oyster shells. I need to get some courage to speak to my local grocery store to see if I can get the vegetable scraps. Thanks
I buy non GMO or soy feed I mix with flax seed that you can buy for $1 lbs oyster crack shell and crack non GMO corn mix all together last me like 3 weeks $45 plus I feed them all the peels from my veggies that I cook that day, cook rice left overs, pasta left over, salmon left over you can give them the eggs shell after you cook your eggs, and When I have to much eggs,I make them scramble eggs in coconut oil, they are always hungry lol plus they eat hrass all day long, I love my 6 ladies and their orange yolk egg color they are so much fun.
I was told the other day by a farmer/rancher here in the Kern River Valley that black eyed peas are excellent feed for chickens, high in protein, much better then corn scratch. You must hydrate first in water for a day before feeding. He sell then 300 pounds for $75.00 and supplies a water proof container. Check in your area for some one that sell them.
I enjoy your blog. I have a pond full of duckweed. I do feed it to my chickens. They will eat it, but it is not their favorite food. I mix it with my chicken feed (50%). It is a lot of work to harvest and dry. Once it is dry I store it in a large drum. It will mold if not completely dry. By mixing with the chicken feed, I can make a 50lb bag last about a month (have 7 chickens).
Great post my husband and I are working on getting a mixer grinder to make our own feed right now to cut costs. He is a truck driver and plans to haul wheat this year so we may be able to find cheap feed to haul back home from other areas. We free range our chickens when ever possible we see a huge difference in our feed bill from winter to summer. Here in North East Montana it gets pretty chilly for the ladies to be out in winter. Due to our isolation we are stuck with only the elevator for feed so we are at their mercy, this drives us to be more creative.
The Cowboy and I have been having this very same debate around here. We decided to skip chickens this year and try and do a large garden instead! Hope you have some posts coming up about gardening in dry and windy Wyoming!
Sprouting alfalfa and similar seeds boost my baby chicks/ducklings/poults along and the greens are great fillers so they eat less crumble. I train my ducks to come back when called with a feed bucket so I can release them down on the creek to forage and get them home safe before dark.
Deep litter. Providing oyster shell can reduce feed consumption up to around 7% as hens will eat more feed than they need to obtain calcium. Provide hulled oats or wheat. Hens who do not need the protein of full heavy production will tend to eat less layer feed and more grain.
In the summer we have cut our feeding cost by 100%. We use compost, food scraps from our house and local resturants as well as rotational grazing with electric poultry netting and a chickshaw styled coop! Justin Rhodes from permaculture chickens and Geoff Lawton from Zaytona Farms have been very helpful in our efforts to cut cost and keep the girls happy and healthy.The girls seem more then happy and run to the compost before they run to the feed. Highly recommend
My mother grew up on a real farm during the depression. No one had any money but those who lived on the farm at least could eat well. My grandfather took in his brothers whenever they lost their jobs in the city and they then helped him work the farm. I always loved animals and wanted chickens when I was young, and a neighbor gave me some, but it was my mother who taught me how to take care of them. We never needed a garbage disposal as they ate all the table scraps, spoiled milk would be allowed to curdle until solidified and fed out. The chickens ate any bug that came out. My mother would flood the back lawn and then the cutworms would come out of the ground and we would turn the chickens out and they would find them and gobble them up. They loved the elderberries from the elderberry bush and a vining plant that my mother called brides tears grew around the coop and the chickens would jump to eat the small fruits from this vine. Squash and pumpkins make good chicken feed as well and produce a big crop, and will keep for a long time over the winter, if they are properly stored and kept dry. They love the seeds from melons as well as the rinds. I have known some to grow safflower as chicken feed. It is basically a thistle type of plant and makes a lot of oily white seeds that the chickens love. Be sure to keep good hunting kitties around to deal with annoying rodents that are always attracted to chicken coops and the crops you plant to feed them.
I have used many of these ideas too, including the meal worms. the most incorrect idea is that meal worms are yucky. they are NOT. you get them live in a cloth bag, which you turn into a container with a lid that you have added oatmeal to, along with a piece of carrot for liquid. place them in a dark corner, making sure that you keep replacing the carrots, and after a short time, they turn into beetles. I then feed the bugs to my chickens, who love them. no fuss, no muss. Also, just found a supplier for spelt, which is the leftover grains used to make wine or beer. And I can get it for $1 gallon. so pretty cheap. thanks for your info, as it has helped me a lot with my chooks.
If you have chickens then it really can be beneficial to figure out the best ways to save on feed. I particularly like that the article recommends buying the feed in bulk. Of course, if you do decide to do this, you will want to make sure that you have a nice, dry place to store the seed so that it does not start to mold.
If you live near any Amish farms, they may be able to tell you where they get their feed. We belong to a milk share group and the farm just down the road from the Amish milk share farm does custom feed. They normally do not use GMO seeds or Roundup.
If you live near any Amish farms, they may be able to tell you where they get their feed. We belong to a milk share group and the farm just down the road from the Amish milk share farm does custom feed. They normally do not use GMO seeds or Roundup.Mobile shopping place
I asked the Mexican restaurant one block away if they wanted us to take their food garbage every day of the week. They were super happy to help because it is illegal in our city to throw away food garbage over a certain amount. So, we have two to three families that pick up the food scraps in five gallon buckets. We dump their bucket into our buckets and feed them to our chickens. Everyone is happy. We buy about one or two 50 lb bags of organic crumbles a YEAR for our eight chickens because sometimes we run out of restaurant scraps or go on vacation. Otherwise, we feed all of our chickens for free all year. We do add back the eggs shells toasted and crushed for calcium.
A benefit of raising your own chickens is having inexpensive organic eggs and meat. The problem is that in many areas it is nearly impossible to get organic chicken feeds and even if you can it is expensive.
Of course you can order it online, or have your feed store special order it but it is inconvenient as well. Your final cost is still less than buying commercially raised poultry products (And more humane!) but homesteaders generally have to constantly look for ways to save money.
Free range and pasture raised chickens eat a lot of forage. From mice to bugs and grass to your prize tomatoes, chickens will peck at anything. Add in your table scraps and your chickens are probably getting a pretty balanced diet. You won't need to worry too much about the proper balance of ingredients because the feed will be a supplement to their diet rather than a primary component of it. 59ce067264