Lately I’ve been casting around trying to figure out how to make the Chicken operation more affordable, and better able to pay for itself. We’re still working towards getting our Egg License, and that is almost at hand. Selling them is one thing, keeping the cost down is another. Driving to Tractor Supply and buying commercial chicken food is a pain. Buying Non-GMO or Organic feed is outrageous. I want to provide a quality product, but it has to be within affordability of my local clients. $5.00 a dozen for organic eggs is crazy for where we live. In the heart of a big city, not so much. But in a region where most of the roads are dirt and the dirty pickups outnumber the clean ones, it’s too much.
In that casting around, Will turned me on to a guy out east of here who sells non-GMO corn for $0.10/#. Ok, I’m loving that, only, its whole corn. That meant buying a feed grinder.
Orwell Feed has a non-GMO feed supplement that is also reasonable.
This morning I timed out the entire process. 15 minutes to crack 100# of corn, an additional 5 minutes to mix in 4:1 the supplement into the corn in the large feeder. This 125# takes the 31 birds 2 weeks to eat. So not only does it cost significantly less, they seem to eat a lot less of it, without any decrease of quantity or quality in egg production.
For calcium and grit, I’ve been dumping a bag at the back of the barn and allowing them free choice on both. They know what they need better than I do.