So Summer is upon us, and I thought I would write a quick Blog about how we feed our chickens for under $1 a day. That’s right….we feed 20 layers and 15 soon to be layers (teenager hens) for less than $30 a month.
First of all our small farm is just over 6 acres. The chickens have access to about 4 acres of that which includes some woods. From April thru October I feed them 100 lbs of feed from our local granary along with 100lbs of corn. Total cost is $30. I let them out every morning around 8:00am. They spend ALL day free ranging. In addition they get all our kitchen scraps from the day before. In the evening around dusk we feed them 1 scoop of food in the coop. The chickens all come in to eat and roost for the evening. Rinse and repeat.
Now many people claim that doing this will result in less eggs. We have 20 layers. One of those layers is 3 years old (family fav). Currently we get 18 eggs per day. It is the same number of eggs we got when we were feeding 3 times as much bagged feed. Interestingly enough we also feed 15 pullets that are not laying yet. Once they start laying our egg production will actually be higher.
Lastly, we know that in the winter and early spring our feed cost will go up. This is where the eggs help out. From March thru October we hatch over 160 eggs per month. These chicks replace any hens we lose, and the remainder are used for meat. Yes we process chickens for sale 6 months out of the year. However, in the winter we do not hatch. In those months we have a bulk buyer for all the extra eggs. It brings in about $50 a month, but that buys almost 200% more feed. That extra feed is just the right amount to make up for the lack of fresh greens and protein provided by free ranging in the summer.
In closing I want every reader to remember the reason he/she is homesteading in the first place. A more sustainable lifestyle was our reason. Let your livestock do what they were bred to do. Feeding grain to livestock isnt self sustaining….unless you own a granary.
Until next time…happy homesteading!!