Saving on chicken food costs
Saving money on chicken food is always a plus for those of us who like to watch our expenses. You may not want to cut out all chicken food but suppliment it a bit to save some money. There are many creative ways to save money on chicken food.
When we think of saving on chicken feed the first thought we come up with is to free range feed our chickens. This means letting the chickens out of their coop during the day and letting them forage for bugs and other things chickens like to eat. Or also there are chicken tractors that can be moved if free ranging chickens is not an option. This is another excellent way to save on food costs but in some climates having a chicken tractor in winter when there is snow on the ground just doesn’t work.
Free ranging-free ranging is a great way to suppliment your chicken food. Chickens love to scratch up worms and other bugs or even small rodents or lizards. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen one of my chickens running around with a mouse in their mouth while numerous other chickens were chasing them trying to get their prize away from them. Its comical to watch!
Kitchen scraps-why throw food out that you do not eat when the chickens will love it? You can give them all of your table scraps as well as peelings (not potato peelings, chickens cannot digest them), cuttings from vegetables, fat cut off of meat before you cook it, stale chips, cereal, old oatmeal with weevils in it, anything food in the kitchen that you would normally throw out.
Old produce from the garden-anything in the garden that is a bit old or not something you want to eat or you have excess of that you have no need of feed it all to the chickens.
Old produce from farmers markets, neighbors, grocery stores, etc. You can ask any of these people or organizations if you can get their old produce and or other foods that are past the expiriation date or no longer good if you can have them for your chickens.
Fermenting chicken food– fermenting chicken food makes the food easier to digest and adds probiotics to help keep the digestive tract running great.
Growing fodder-an excellent way to suppilment chicken food and quite easy to do. Giving them live fresh fodder is something that they will enjoy and its healthy as well. Growing fodder in winter helps also if your chickens cannot free range because of cold conditions or snow.
Eggs that cannot be used by us-if any of the eggs you gather are cracked or stale (not rotten) hard boil them and crush them up with the shells on them and feed them back to your chickens. I wouldn’t recomment giving them raw eggs or that will encourage them to eat their fresh eggs.
Grow sunflowers-you can grow sunflowers and then just cut off the head and throw it down to feed the chickens. Its healthy for them and they really like sunflowers. You can dry them and store the seeds to use throughout the year as well.
Feed them your edible weeds-there are a lot of edible weeds in a yard if you dont use chemicals in your yard. You can pick them or dig them up and feed the to your chickens.
Raising worms to feed chickens-raising meal worms is pretty easy and chickens love them.
Sprout seeds or grains-sprouting grains, seeds, and beans will increase their digestiblity. Chickens enjoy sprouted things.
Cull all the non productive hens or roosters you dont need-that will cut down a lot on your food bill if you are not feeding chickens that you are not productive.
As you can see, there are a lot of creative ways to save money on feeding chickens. It might take a bit of thought and time to figure out what will work best for you but it will be well worth it in the end.