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How to feed chickens on the cheap? - Page 2

post #21 of 39
getting produce from a store sounds like a good idea, but I'd never take the flowers the stores are throwing out. Most flowers are so covered in pesticides - far beyond produce.
post #22 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
getting produce from a store sounds like a good idea, but I'd never take the flowers the stores are throwing out. Most flowers are so covered in pesticides - far beyond produce.
Oh, she just got them for display in her home, because they were usually in great shape. She would probably have been really glad to know that, that lady loves pesticides! Seriously. She's a big chemical user.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traci mom23boys View Post
I sprout Barley for my chickens. I can get a 45 lb bag of organic barley animal feed from Azure for about 12.00. I just soak a pan full for a day then pour it in a pan with holes (like a colander) and rinse morning and night. They LOVE sprouts! Lately because it is cooler they haven't been sprouting in 2 days so I need to figure out where to keep them and get more going at a time.
Thank you so much for that information. I bought a bag of barley from Azure and they won't eat it, but sprouted they might
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
I have 22 hens and one rooster and they still go through about two bags of layer mix a day.
Those must be pretty small bags of feed to be going through that many. Does your feed store carry larger ones (like 40 or 50 lbs?)

Besides feeding kitchen and yard scraps, something I've had luck with (since I couldn't find organic feed at the feed stores here) is contacting local organic farmers. At first I was too nervous to ask, but when i finally did, i found they've been so helpful and supportive, and now I can get bulk feed directly from them for the same price as non-organic at the feed store. One of my neighbours even gave me 2 big barrels of organic mix that he had leftover from his flock after butchering.
post #25 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibou View Post
Those must be pretty small bags of feed to be going through that many. Does your feed store carry larger ones (like 40 or 50 lbs?)

Besides feeding kitchen and yard scraps, something I've had luck with (since I couldn't find organic feed at the feed stores here) is contacting local organic farmers. At first I was too nervous to ask, but when i finally did, i found they've been so helpful and supportive, and now I can get bulk feed directly from them for the same price as non-organic at the feed store. One of my neighbours even gave me 2 big barrels of organic mix that he had leftover from his flock after butchering.

D'oh! I just reread my post. Sorry. It's ONE bag every TWO days. 40# bags, though. Today dh shot a squirrel that was outside the coop, though, so I'm wondering how much has been going to the chickens, and how much to the squirrels! I wish the chickens were meaner!
post #26 of 39
Quote:
D'oh! I just reread my post. Sorry. It's ONE bag every TWO days. 40# bags, though.
That's still alot, IMO. I had a free range flock of 25 roosters and hens this summer, I gave them about 4-6 quarts (16-24 c.) of feed grains at the height of their growth, plus usually a 3 litre pail of kitchen scraps (may be full or not), and sporadic garden scraps. Even at that point, it took roughly a couple of weeks to go thru a 40 lb. bag. I have 10 hens and a rooster now. I feed them less than 2 quarts a day, and they don't seem to even eat all of it- plus the garden is finished for the season, so they only get supplemented with kitchen scraps and whatever they find in their yard. (Interestingly, this is the first time I've thought about the amount of feed per chicken per day, which seems to work out to roughly a cup or a little less.

Maybe your right, and the squirrel is an indication that something else is eating the feed (or storing it somewhere.)
post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hibou View Post
That's still alot, IMO. I had a free range flock of 25 roosters and hens this summer, I gave them about 4-6 quarts (16-24 c.) of feed grains at the height of their growth, plus usually a 3 litre pail of kitchen scraps (may be full or not), and sporadic garden scraps. Even at that point, it took roughly a couple of weeks to go thru a 40 lb. bag. I have 10 hens and a rooster now. I feed them less than 2 quarts a day, and they don't seem to even eat all of it- plus the garden is finished for the season, so they only get supplemented with kitchen scraps and whatever they find in their yard. (Interestingly, this is the first time I've thought about the amount of feed per chicken per day, which seems to work out to roughly a cup or a little less.

Maybe your right, and the squirrel is an indication that something else is eating the feed (or storing it somewhere.)
Wow, that is a very small amount of feed! Like I said, they can't free-range, but you say their finding stuff to eat in their yard? There's not much in mine. It's big, but it's pretty bare. Just like my whole yard.

I wonder what I can do to keep the squirrels out? I'd hate to have to cover their whole yard, that would be kind of spendy.
post #28 of 39
I find when the chipmunks are at work, we fly through chicken feed. They store it under the coop.
post #29 of 39
Just thought I'd add in our experience for reference! I have ten chickens and we go through a 50lb bag of layer in three weeks to a month. I let them free range when I can, usually 3 hours at the end of the day (they put themselves up so it's easier on us). And they do manage to get a lot of stuff out of the yard (and our neighbor yards ) even though not much is growing here...very sandy soil, but there still are bug for them to discover. I have a 12 lb feeder and just fill it up when it needs it, I haven't noticed how often. We also give table scraps and so do some of our neighbors (they are actually rather well loved around here).

I'd check into who else might be eating. Also, if squirrels can get into their coop, other predators (like ferrets and possums) probably can as well...you might want to remove food at night, tighten up the security, and see if that helps.
post #30 of 39
we have 20 hens right now and go through 2 bags of layer pellets a month. we feed them our kitchen scraps and let them out in the yard to forage. we live on 1/3 acre and they have plenty of room. the pellets cost us 9/bag so about 20/month to feed them right now and we are starting to cut that down.. it can be done. good luck!!
post #31 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jster View Post
I'd check into who else might be eating. Also, if squirrels can get into their coop, other predators (like ferrets and possums) probably can as well...you might want to remove food at night, tighten up the security, and see if that helps.
Removing the food at night! Genius! I'm going to start doing that. We don't have ferrets, possums, or even raccoons, (too dry/far from water) but we do have squirrels, mice, packrats, and kangaroo rats. They would all be pretty much impossible to keep out, the way we have things set up. But I'll take the food out at night.
post #32 of 39
post #33 of 39
Have you tried making your own mix? May be worth a try. Here is a recipe I found online. We used this at first, and after a few times I started changing it to give them more variety (and I hate measuring stuff). I also noticed that my chickens don't like the tiny stuff (like millet, amaranth and even the quinoa), and we have added more nuts for extra fat now that it's getting cold. We feed them organic, but if you're looking to cut on price, buying this stuff in bulk should be pretty economical.

2 parts whole corn (in winter this is increased to 3 or 4 parts)
3 parts soft white wheat
3 parts hard red winter wheat
1 part hulled barley
1 part oat groats
1 part sunflower seeds (in winter this is increased to 2 parts)
1 part millet
1 part kamut
1 part amaranth seeds
1 part split peas
1 part lentils
1 part quinoa
1 part sesame seeds
1/2 part flax seeds
1/2 part kelp granules
free choice of granite grit
free choice of oyster shell
post #34 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twwly View Post
Oh, yeah, I've seen this before. The part about eliminating a generation of flies appeals to me. I'm not sure I can stomach it though. And it won't work now that it's cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LorenaAZ View Post
Have you tried making your own mix? May be worth a try. Here is a recipe I found online. We used this at first, and after a few times I started changing it to give them more variety (and I hate measuring stuff). I also noticed that my chickens don't like the tiny stuff (like millet, amaranth and even the quinoa), and we have added more nuts for extra fat now that it's getting cold. We feed them organic, but if you're looking to cut on price, buying this stuff in bulk should be pretty economical.

2 parts whole corn (in winter this is increased to 3 or 4 parts)
3 parts soft white wheat
3 parts hard red winter wheat
1 part hulled barley
1 part oat groats
1 part sunflower seeds (in winter this is increased to 2 parts)
1 part millet
1 part kamut
1 part amaranth seeds
1 part split peas
1 part lentils
1 part quinoa
1 part sesame seeds
1/2 part flax seeds
1/2 part kelp granules
free choice of granite grit
free choice of oyster shell
Where are you getting these? Are they food grade? Are you just buying it at the grocery store?
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
I have thought about asking at the store for old produce. Have you done that? Were they willing? My mom used to work at Raley's and always asked for the old flowers and a few other things that they were going to throw in the dumpster. But I didn't know if they would do it for just anyone.
I used to work in the produce dept at a HFS and we put out all the produce trimmings in a compost bucket by the back gate for the locals to pick up for their livestock. First come, first serve. Whatever was still there at the end of the day wound up in the dumpster, though. I know we had goat people and chicken people picking up on a regular basis.

Consider that even aside from the "rotting" produce, there's also things like corn husks, the outer leaves from lettuce or cabbage, beet or carrot greens, the outer leaves of cauliflower, etc. all being discarded. And unless your municipality does compost pick-up, very few stores are going to bother doing anything other than dumping it into the dumpster. Call and talk to the produce manager at your local stores and ask if they'd be willing to save those things for you. You may have to supply a rubbermaid tub or something similar that they can fill and then stick in the walk-in for you to pick up once or twice a week, but even that would help.

Also check at your local farmer's market with the growers... what do they do with the leftovers at the end of the day? A lot of things (like greens) cannot be sold past that day because they've been sitting out all day, some of the growers will just discard them. Offer to come by and pick up any discards at the end of the market. Things like beet greens or carrot tops are also often available, since people like me will give them back to the grower to compost since I won't utilize them.

HTH
post #36 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
Where are you getting these? Are they food grade? Are you just buying it at the grocery store?
I'd like to know, too, since we're planning on doing a variation on that recipe, when we get chickens come spring.
post #37 of 39
I know this probably won't work for you, but I'll throw the idea out there for other people who might be looking for cheap ways to feed chickens.

We had a huge pumpkin patch this year. I don't know if other people have the same experience, but I find pumpkins very easy to grow. They'll grow in just about any soil, and require very little (if any) maintenance. If you buy seed for large pumkins, you'll probably get more bang for your buck. For a $1 investment, I've been feeding my chickens for the past month. Every day or so, I pick up one of our half-frozen pumkins and smash it in the chicken yard. The chickens LOVE it. They eat the fleshy part as well as the seeds. This is a great use for any of starting-to-go-bad pumkins that people might have sitting on their front steps as a Thanksgiving/fall decoration.

If I had realized what a great investment pumkins were, I would've planted more of them. I'll definitely enlarge my pumkin patch next year, because it's a great food for the chickens. I will admit that I also feed layer feed to my chickens, but they go through much less of it when I'm also providing pumkins.
post #38 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
Oh, yeah, I've seen this before. The part about eliminating a generation of flies appeals to me. I'm not sure I can stomach it though. And it won't work now that it's cold.



Where are you getting these? Are they food grade? Are you just buying it at the grocery store?
Most of those items would be available from a feed/farm store.
post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post
Oh, yeah, I've seen this before. The part about eliminating a generation of flies appeals to me. I'm not sure I can stomach it though. And it won't work now that it's cold.



Where are you getting these? Are they food grade? Are you just buying it at the grocery store?

I get them from my local supermarket/health food store. They have them in bins and are sold by the pound, all organic. We spend about $30 a month making chicken food for 6 hens, in addition they free range, and get kitchen scraps.
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