Chicken Feed Prices
In theory, raising backyard chickens sounds like a great idea. Fresh eggs, fresh meat, nothing can replace those good things! It's just a natural step in homestead living right? Unfortunately, where raising chickens used to be more cost effective then buying eggs and meat from the store, chicken feed prices have gone up so high that it's getting harder to justify it.
Lately we've been doing more things to help bring down chicken feed prices around our homestead. Hopefully some of these tips will help you!
1. Let your chickens be free range. If you have the land and are able, let your chickens be free range. Unless you live in a very lush, fertile area (not the drought stricken midwest!) you will still have to supplement with feed, but your chickens will be happier and healthier when they are allowed to roam free. Our chickens love scooping up grasshoppers and other bugs and plants as they wander around the backyard. Our ducks especially love being free range since they love to eat the weeds around the yard, which is fine with me!
2. Shop around before you buy. Just because the feed store down the road carries chicken feed, it doesn't mean that it's the best deal! One might argue that we should stick to the closest stores right now with the price of gas but we prefer to drive to the store further away and stock up while we are there to make it worth our while. Watch for sales too at the chain feed stores to try and get an even better deal. It's usually a good idea to stock up on feed in the spring when the stores bring all the baby chicks in because they have great sales!
3. Scraps, scraps, scraps! Our chickens are totally spoiled. Not only are they free range and have the run of our 10 acres, they also get all kinds of goodies from the house! Fruit and vegetable peelings, old food from the pantry or fridge....they love it all! Another thing they love to eat in the fall is the old garden plants. Pull them out of the garden and let the chickens have dessert! I make it a point to take out my scrap bucket each day for my chickens.
4. Try different kinds of feed. We used to feed our chickens the nice finer grained chicken feed but then switched over to pellets. The chickens didn't like it at first but they got over it pretty fast. 😉 With the pellets there is less waste because they don't fling the feed all over the ground.
5. Check for locally milled feed. If you have a local mill in town you might be able to purchase grains and feeds cheaper than from the chain stores.
A few notes....I know alot of websites recommend buying cracked corn to feed to chickens to save on chicken feed prices. I think this is a good idea ONLY if the corn is non-GMO. Remember that whatever your chickens eat, you are eating too! I also say several "recipes" for homemade chicken feed. These require some good nutrition knowledge and if you look at the recipe I'm not actually sure it would be any cheaper than just buying a bag already mixed up. If anyone makes feed and it's cheaper than store bought feed, please leave a comment about it!
What are some ways you save on chicken feed prices?
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