Probably the easiest (and least expensive) way to cut your chicken feed bill a bit is to let your chickens free range for at least part of the day. Chickens left to their own devices can get about 20% of their total daily energy needs from grass.
Grow Grains or Seeds
Up the ante by growing some grains for your chickens. It’s easy to till a small area and then grow cover crops like winter rye, wheat, sorghum, barley, millet, alfalfa, mustard or oats.
Fodder is basically sod without the dirt. So you’re growing mats of grass for your chickens to nibble on. You can sprout any type of untreated grass seed, or things like alfalfa or winter rye, right in a tray in your kitchen!
Sprouting seeds is another way to reduce your feed bill. Seeds are inexpensive, and you can sprout not only things like mung beans, sunflower seeds or peas, but also any leftover garden seeds you didn’t plant in a week or less.
Grow a Chicken Herb Garden
our chickens will love munching on all kinds of culinary herbs, all of which have some amazing health benefits and nutrients.
Share your Vegetable Garden
Your chickens will be more than happy to eat any bug-eaten or damaged vegetables, along with the stalks and leaves of such plants as peas, sweet potatoes, beets, radishes, broccoli and carrots. Plant extra squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and leafy greens such as kale, Swiss chard and spinach for your chickens to fill up on. Be sure to share any thinned seedlings with your chickens as well. They’ll love them!
Ferment Their Feed
Fermenting grains and seeds is another great way to save money on chicken feed. The act of fermenting produces enzymes that increase nutrient absorption, meaning your chickens will need to eat less fermented feed to get the same health benefits! It only takes three days to ferment feed, and as an aside, whole or cracked grain works better than crumble or pellet.
Start a Kitchen Scrap Bucket
Veggie peels and cores, as well as fruit peelings are obvious, but also the ends of bread, fish skins, fat trimmings from cuts of meat, and even shrimp shells are all absolutely appropriate to share with your chickens.