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  #1  
Old 01/23/11, 12:28 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: mo
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Who has found the cheapest way?

Who has found the cheapest way to feed chicken for meat. And who has found the cheapest way to feed chickens for eggs? How much is it costing you per bird, or per pound of meat. How much is it costing you per egg? How many birds are you raising at one time? How many birds do you process at a time?

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  #2  
Old 01/23/11, 03:04 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 2,892

What about dog food. I can get upto 28% protien in micro kibble for $9-16 for a 40# bag. A little would go a long way in busting the protien level in a mix.

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  #3  
Old 01/23/11, 04:32 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Eastern Saskatchewan
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We have raised the meat birds for many years. We use chick starter for the first 3-4 weeks, then switch to a grower supplement, which we mix with our home grown wheat. Our chickens are free range, and they eat a lot of nettles, grass, bugs etc. We limit feed them, otherwise we have too many deaths with our cornish giants. They grow more slowly, and eat more total, but we don't push them. They can reach 8-10 pounds in about 14 weeks using this feeding regime.

My egg layers get a 38% layer ration with wheat to blend it up to approximately 15-16 percent protein. We have raised between 50 and 500 meat birds a year. I just have 12 layers right now.

I believe my cost on the meat birds is around a dollar a pound. For the layers, they are still working on bag #4 of the layer ration. Each of these is 9 bucks. So for 36 bucks and some grain from bin bottoms etc, which is not for sale anyway, They have cost me about 9 bucks a month. They have layed an average of 10 eggs a day for 4 months, for a total of about 100 dozen eggs so far. The cost per dozen is therefore about 36 cents. But I grow a large amount of grain, and live in a cheap feed region of the world, where there is a large surplus of feed materials. Even if I costed out the wheat, which is bin botttom wheat with a little mold and crusty areas, I would say they have eaten about 16 bushels so far, worth about 64 bucks if were to sell it. Total potential cost is a buck a dozen then. We can sell eggs for 3 bucks a dozen, so the return is actually quite good, if we sold many. I do plan to get more layers in the spring.

I am probably an anomaly though, as mentioned I have a lot of cheap, virtually free feed.

BTW, I use whole, unrolled wheat, FWIW.

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  #4  
Old 01/23/11, 04:46 PM
Wisconsin Ann's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: South Central Wisconsin
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I would guess that the folks down the road from us have about the least expensive, cash money wise, you can get. They don't feed grains at all.

The birds are in salatin type tractors that get moved 2x a day. The tractors look to be 8' x 16'. The each have water barrels attached to the tractor, with bell drinkers. The tractors are on an alfalfa hay field. The birds are butchered at 7weeks for fryers, 10weeks for roasters. AND they get the organic label.

The man I spoke to said they rotate the fields that the tractors are on every year. The field that had chickens on it the year before is super productive the next year. That hay is used for the beef cattle.

It takes them about an hour to move the tractors each time...4 people. So one would have to figure in wages for this endeavor...but if you're doing it for yourself....

Our own operation....my meat birds always went out with the other chickens and they foraged. The did get grain as well, but only because the forage wasn't all alfalfa. Mainly a timothy hay field, with some extra pea vines and turnips. I'd have to look it up, but as I recall it was almost 4:1 ratio.

Our freerange/pastured birds rarely eat much grain in the spring/summer months. Any of them.

The cost you put into your birds will depend on the amount of work you're willing to do. Some people insist on figuring in a $$perHour wage. If you do that, you're sunk before you start unless you start factory farming.

You can snag stale bread from bakeries often for $10 a truck load. that's wheat.
You can go fishing to give them fish to up the protein. If you live near a fishing resort, you can stop every night and pick up all the fish heads/tails/etc for free (they may even pay you). The resort can't just compost or throw them away...they have to dispose of them some other way.

You can raise worms for protein.

Ask all your neighbors/co-workers to bring you the carcasses from their roasts/turkeys/chicken dinners. The birds will love you. Also get eggshells that way for calcium. (personally, I don't do that because oystershell is so inexpensive, and during the summer they get calcium from the greens)

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  #5  
Old 01/23/11, 05:17 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Eastern Saskatchewan
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Yeah, I've thought alot about the tractor idea, but I have some distinct busy times for my other farming that would make it hard to be around to move things. Need my kids to grow first. LOL The only question I have is re; feeding chickens fish and or leftover meat products. With the fish could taste become an issue with too much? And I think the meat thing could be a disease breakout waiting to happen, no? Good post though, and interesting.

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  #6  
Old 01/23/11, 05:32 PM
southerngurl's Avatar
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Location: Arkansas
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Something to consider:

Perhaps the addition of vinegar?

http://www.themodernhomestead.us/art...s-Maggots.html

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Last edited by southerngurl; 01/23/11 at 05:38 PM.
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  #7  
Old 01/23/11, 05:37 PM
Wisconsin Ann's Avatar
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Fish: Fed 1 or 2 times a week it's not a problem at all. Fed more than that some people say there can be "fishy" taste to eggs. Personally, I've not seen that, tho.

Also, pigs on the upper east coast are fed fish and seafood almost 100% until the last 2 weeks I think they said. Then they feed them corn. No fishy taste at all.

Carcasses from other people..yes, that can be a problem, so you have to know who/what/when the meat came from. It's just another option to explore. With my own roasts, or when we butcher an animal, it's given immediately to the chickens. Bones clean by the next night (first time I saw that, I made a mental note to NEVER fall down near a flock of chickens )

The tractors are labor intensive compared to dropping feed ina big feeder and opening a door. yup. It's one reason I don't do it. BUT...it keeps the birds safe from predators (which is a big thing around here...NASTY hawks and eagles and racoons) and they get their field fertilized evenly. His crew are generally his older kids, btw.

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  #8  
Old 01/23/11, 05:42 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Eastern Saskatchewan
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[QUOTE=Wisconsin Ann;4883435] Bones clean by the next night (first time I saw that, I made a mental note to NEVER fall down near a flock of chickens )

No kidding, they are efficient little beggars.

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