10 Tips For Cutting Chicken Costs
We are always looking for ways to provide the best for our flock, while also trying to keep our costs down. But I guess you could say I’ve “eyeballed it” until this point.
I’ve looked at how often I’m buying feed and supplies, and how it’s differed from the previous weeks.
But with my new goals this year, I’ve decided to sit and really look at the steps I take and get down to business documenting our expenses.
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So, what do we do to cut costs here?
Experiment with feed types.
We’ve found that our girls can be really wasteful. Depending on what you’re feeding them.
One type of feed can be thrown on the ground and all of a sudden it must have been contaminated and they won’t give it a second glance. While another, they won’t leave a crumb! What do our girls eat? Read more in How Feed Type Can Lower Costs ~ Crumbles vs. Pellets.
Giving the flock enough room to forage has to be our primary way of cutting costs. We are fortunate enough to truly let our flock forage without fencing.
But there are ways to help with this if you aren’t in the same situation as us.
If you do have to fence them in, make sure they have plenty of room and aren’t eating every green morsel until it’s only a dirt patch. Maybe add chicken safe shrubs for them to pick at and scratch around.
Or, use a chicken tractor and move them to a new spot each day! This will keep them in a fresh spot with plenty to forage each day, while also providing you with a beautiful lawn!
It’s waste not want not around here. As long as it’s safe, we give the chickens our left overs. They are backyard garbage disposals! Here is a list of foods not to give to your flock.
Fermenting feed makes the nutrients in food more readily available to be absorbed. When they are consuming they’re nutrients faster, they require less.
See more about why using fermented feed is beneficial to your flock, and how to make your own in Lower Chicken Feed Costs With Fermented Feed.
To get nice, hard shells we do supplement calcium with oyster shells. But to decrease the amount we have to buy, we save egg shells and give them back to the girls.
You can crush them before hand. Some have said that if you don’t your chickens may become egg eaters, but I haven’t run into this problem yet.
The past few summers we have grown and harvested sunflowers for the chickens and they love us for it! We don’t have enough space to grow enough for winter, but every little bit helps!
Read Harvesting Sunflower Seeds For Chickens to learn how to harvest and store them for winter.
This year I hope to step the game up a bit and add a garden just for them, from extra seedlings after planting my own garden.
Deep Litter Method
We do not add electricity for a host of reasons (advised by my master electrician who happens to be my husband!).
One reason is the drain on our wallet. Chicken coops can be heated by the deep litter method, which we use. As the litter composts, it generates heat.
It also leaves you with happiness to add to the garden in the spring. Just add dry bedding regularly to keep the moisture down, and rake it in.
To find out more about why we don’t add electricity to the coop read, Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop.
Don’t Buy Egg Wipes
It’s easy to walk through the isles at the feed/farm store and have something catch your eye. For some reason you think you just absolutely have to have it!
This is one thing that I’m telling you, you do not need it! Luke warm water on a cloth or paper towel will work just perfectly.
Now if you see Nutri-Drench, buy it! This has been my miracle with a hen that has me worried or after being broody. It is also a must for our chicks for the first week after hatching.
It provides necessary electrolytes and nutrients to help immune systems. Out of all clutches we only failed to give it to one. That clutch we lost 3 chicks. With the others, we had never lost a chick.
Sell Eggs and Chicks
Supplement your costs with money earned from selling your extra eggs or chicks! We sell eggs to friends and coworkers and also have a produce stand in the summer. We sell out daily!
As for chicks, the only thing I say about this is, sell chicks from an incubator! We made the mistake of taking from a broody once. She screamed at us for days! (I mean who wouldn’t?)
This year I’m determined to keep more concrete numbers for myself!
Where is the money going? Where is it coming from? And how can I change it?
Well, I’ve created myself a Chicken Expense form that’s working pretty great, and I’d like to share it with you!
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Looking to raise dual purpose chickens like us? Grab a copy of Dual Purpose Chickens: Raise ‘Em Like Your Grandma Did for tips from brooder box to butchering!