Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Organic Chicken feed?

Kelsi and I have been buying organic chicken feed for several months now, and are very happy about that decision. However, I am adding up the feed costs for the meat birds to determine what they should sell for and I am more than disappointed.

So far our FREE RANGE organic chickens have eaten $6.80 worth of food a piece and they aren't even full grown yet. Add the cost of the chick from the hatchery, cost of our labor, and the processing and it seems that we are coming out even. How the heck are we to compete with the big boys. I am so discouraged right now! I want to be fair, but a fair price to us seems so much. How much would you pay for a whole organic chicken?

Another thought, I was thinking of buying whole grains and making our own mixture of chicken feed. Anyone do this currently? Any thoughts? Really struggling on this one.


Thanks for reading

Mike

7 comments:

Leigh said...

I don't mix my own grains but another herdsman does it for her goats. She says it saves her a ton of money. BUT I think that all depends on your supplier as well. She buys her grains from the local Amish whose prices beat just about everyone around. Future options to look at is finding a heritage meat bird that you can breed and raise verse having to purchase from a hatchery. Also perhaps you can plant a "chicken" garden. Some winter cover crops can be given to chickens but that wouldn't help you much this year.

Best of Luck.

-Leigh

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

I use organic feed...

expensive compared to the usual feed!!!!

taylorgirl6 said...

I agree with Leigh. We don't have any acreage, but our chickens do enjoy a lot from our yard and garden. I've toyed with the notion of planting a bed of amaranth or something for them, but there's no way we could do more than supplement their feed.

Another option to consider... One of our fabulous neighbors is currently working at the county-owned grain mill. They get a TON of weed seeds, wheat, and partial grain that falls through the mill and would ordinarily be wasted. When he asked if I wanted a few bags, I jumped at the chance. We're now mixing it in with our feed at a 1:2 ratio. The girls love it. I can't vouch for the nutrition content, but consider this - Free range chickens eat a variety of plants and weed seeds. Somehow they balance their own nutrition. No one can get all they need from a mix in a bag. Get creative.

Anonymous said...

how about free ranging?

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/1984-07-01/Raising-Free-Range-Chickens.aspx

Mike said...

We do free range them, The problem is that they just don't seem to want to free range. They like to hang out in their own little area and don't really venture out past that

Leigh said...

Mike,
Im not sure the breed that you have but I know the cornish rocks from the hatchery are not "made" to free range. They are bred to be really large birds and often physically can not wander far enough to supplement their diet due to their bone structure weight and the pressure it puts on their cardiovascular system (resulting in heart attacks). I am not sure if you all have watched the documentary food inc. but it is very informative. It has a lot of good information about farm raised chickens and hatcheries.
I hope some of this information helps.


-Leigh

Kelsi said...

Hey Leigh,

We raised cornish crosses the first time, but stopped after that. We didnt find it right to support the industry in raising those chicks. Youre right about them and it was heart breaking to watch them grow so quickly and then not be able to move. We now are raising Delawares as meat birds. They take long to get big, but they have a good life here at the farm.

Yes, we have seen food inc. It is an amazing documentary.

-Kels