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10 Tips For Cutting Chicken Costs

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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.

Free Range

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!

Food Scraps

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.

Fermented Feed

Fermenting feed makes the nutrients in food more readily available to be absorbed.  When they are consuming their 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.

Egg Shells

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.

Chicken Garden

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

Seriously!  They are a thing!  And YOU DON’T NEED THEM!

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?)

Keeping Track

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!

Subscribe here (or if you’re already a subscriber stop in to Homestead Management Printables), to get your copy as well as other Chicken and Garden Management Printables to add to (or start!) your Homestead Management Binder!

Want to know how to make money on the homestead?  Check out my post How to Make Money on the Homestead!

Are there any other ways you lower your costs? Share with us in the comments!

LivingFaith Homestead

Monday 16th of September 2019

Great info! I use many of these same tips myself, Although I haven’t tried fermenting their feed yet.

Mixed Bag Mama

Wednesday 19th of April 2017

Great tips! The difference between how much they eat of "dry" feed and fermented feed is amazing! Not to mention, the chicken coop even smells better because their poo stink isn't horrendous!

Google User

Monday 9th of March 2020

Now that sounds like a good enough reason alone!

Anne Inthekitchen

Monday 13th of February 2017

What great information! We are currently having the crumbles v pellet debate at our farm. We also get organic/GMO-free day old bread from a bakery. I supplement the layers with it. I watched to see if the bread would affect laying due lower protein. However, we find the # of eggs goes up when they have the bread, and they are all waiting at the run door for their treat! Thanks, for sharing! BTW, egg wipes?!? Really?!? lol!

Staci Samuels

Monday 13th of February 2017

Egg wipe are a thing lol! And they drive me nuts every time I see them!!!

Skip The Bag

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Egg wipes?!? Oh man. Thankfully I've not seen those. We don't track expenses, but we also aren't geeting any income. We may need to check out some of these other ideas.

Staci Samuels

Sunday 5th of February 2017

Crazy right! I want to hide them on the shelves every time I see them!

Michelle Van Doren

Wednesday 1st of February 2017

This is just what I needed - we are starting our first laying flock this spring and I do want to track expenses. You have some great ideas here!

Staci Samuels

Wednesday 1st of February 2017

Thanks Michelle! Good luck!! They are a lot of fun!