CHICKEN Feed Dillema HELP !!! : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Help !!! Each week or 5 month old chickens go through 50 lbs of Egg Maker (by Land o' Lakes) which is seven dollars a bag!That over $28.00 of food a month! Now that may Not sound like much but we only have 28 chickens (3 of them are layers from 11 mo.- 2 years old) and two eggs a day for 31 days is 62 eggs monthly which is only 5.2 dozen eggs; that means we're paying over $5.32 a dozen! So do any of you CS'ers out there have any good mixes? Thanks for your help !

-- (, November 27, 2001


Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

I use a mix of cracked corn, whole oats and soybean meal. I get it mixed and buy it by the ton. It comes to about $8.00 per 100 LB. bag. This is fed to everything on the farm, chickens, ducks, guineas, horses. sheep and pigs. This is handy when I go on a trip (which doesn't happen very often). Whom ever I get to feed for me only has to know how much of the mixture each animal gets. The horses do get grass hay and alfalfa during the winter, the hogs and chickens also get scraps when I have them. My chickens also forage all day. I don't know where you are located but here in Oklahoma, there are grain elevators that will mix and bag feed for you. Good luck!

-- cowgirlone (, November 27, 2001.

Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

I feed cracked corn and scraps and they roam in their big run for bugs. I've been gleaning soybeans and throwing them in there too.

When production dropped when it got cold I supplemented with hog feed which is less expensive than chicken feed.

Think about things that just get thrown in the compost or thrown away and send them in to the chickens the old fashioned way.

Yes, those little chickens eat like the dickens!

-- Ann Markson (, November 27, 2001.

Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

Biggest problem is that they haven't started to lay yet. The pullets are just getting to the productive stage, and at this time of year they will not be laying a lot. This is due to hours of daylight, not temperature, although that does have an effect. Once the pullets get mature enough, you will have many more eggs, and if you add artificial light, they will lay even more. The optimum is about 14 hopurs of light per day, and you can use a timer to get the lights to come on in the morning. Do NOT use artificial light in the evening, as the sudden darkness confuses them. Imagine someone suddenly turning off all your lights and letting you find your way to bed in pitch black darkness! And come April, you'll be looking for any recipe you can find for omelets, meringues, hollandaise etc. Patience! And GL!

-- Brad (, November 27, 2001.

Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

I used to have 14 hens and 2 roosters. I'm down to 2 now due to them getting taken out by coyotes. I fed them lay pellets & crack corn mixed about 50/50. It worked well & we had lots of eggs. The lay pellets were bought in 50lb bags, but the corn I bought in bulk at a mill. They would fill up a 50 gallon drum for me and it was very cheap this way. During winter when they slowed up on laying I fed scratch grain & corn because it was much cheaper. I don't know what area you are in, but if you have any choice in the matter shop around for the best buy. Dry feeds last a long time if kept away from moisture, pests, and the like. It might be worth a longer drive if you can buy large amounts at a lower cost. Also, we fed our chickens just about every garden & kitchen scrape we had. They will eat mostly anything, just make sure it's not too rotten. And free ranging is good too, but that's how I lost all mine to coyotes in the middle of the day! Oh, my best money saver was having a friend who worked at the grocery store. For a while she worked the bakery & gave me all the old breads, doughnouts, etc. I picked out the good stuff and the rest went to the chickens. Then she moved to produce dept so the chickens got all kinds of fruits & veggies, again I picked out the best stuff for us first!

-- ellie (, November 27, 2001.

Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

It is always the most expensive way to go with young stock. From goatlings to chicks it is always less expensive dollar for dollar to start with goats in milk or hens in eggs :) The big ole but is that the goats are raised and have the health of the other farm, and the hens don't know you and have to be cooped for a very long period of time. Patience like someone else said. Laying pellets for the hens used to be the diet served here also. Now with fewer hens they roam and eat leftovers from us and the goats for food. Other than the few beggers who are around at chores who get some oats thrown to them I feed no chicken feed at all, no grit, no oystershell. Goats milk spring to fall, scraps from the house, anything they want to steal or clean up after the goats and if they dare go near the donkeys. They will receive chopped corn this winter. My hens lay an egg every other day which is fine for us.

I must say though congrats on knowing what you are spending to get that dozen of eggs! Very few folks take that into consideration! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh (, November 27, 2001.

Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

What type of feeder do you have? You may reduce waste if you get one of the no-scratch feeders that prevents them from scratching the feed out of the feeder. I also give my hens table scraps all the time. Do you have any bakeries around that will sell day-old bread cheap? Around here you can get a truckload of old bread for $10. I would only use this as a supplement, but it could lower you feed bill considerably.

-- Sheryl in Me (, November 27, 2001.

Response to CHICKEN Feed Dilema HELP !!!

My chickens free range. It's amazing what they find, even now in the fall. (I saw one chicken running from the others with the prize of a frog in it's beak) I give them choice of layer and a scratch I get at Walmart. They pick at it when they first come out then go to their faviote places to get their fill of bugs, seeds and such. Saves alot on feed bills. (I'm only getting two eggs a day too from a dozen hens)

-- Dee (, November 27, 2001.

COWGIRL ONE: Is your feed recipe one-third corn - one-third oats, one-third soybean meal, or are the proportions different? Thanks, Renee

-- Renee at Briar Creek (, November 28, 2001.

Renee, the mixture is 840 LB. whole oats, 860 LB. cracked corn and 300 LB. soybean meal. I get two tons at a time. The animals are thriving on this. Hope this helps!

-- cowgirlone (, November 28, 2001.

Remind yourself that you will get more eggs soon, like almost an egg a day from the hens when they are into full production. But they will need supplemental light for 14 hours a day, use a timer so you don't waste electricity. I use three 100 watt bulbs on brooder light holders from the ceiling of the chicken house (24x24).

50 pounds of feed a week is not out of the ordinary for young pullets, you can reduce that by adding some cracked corn (50 pounds is 3.50 here in SE OH) to your hens diet, use a separate pan to feed it. Use no more than 1/3 of their total diet as cracked corn as it will lower the total protein content too much, lowering production.

Be sure to take advantage of the "free feed" that is your yard or hayfields or empty lot/fields/forest edges, that many pullets will eat a 5 gallon bucket of cut greens and grasses everyday, and it really improves the taste and color of the eggs. Dandelion greens are an old time tonic to improve egg production and chicken health, hunt them down and use them! Chickweed is another good "egg tonic" too, and it grows for almost the entire year, and is also free. After the yard greens are done for the winter, buy a bale or two of the nicest, finest quality alfalfa hay you can find, and feed a portion of a flake a day for the winter months, it's cheap fed that way, and the chickens love it.

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (, November 28, 2001.

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