Chickens require an array of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and grit (coarsely broken shells rich in calcium). All these components are combined into a formula fed directly to their flock.
Feed can come in the form of pellets or crumbles and may contain organic or non-GMO ingredients; on average, chickens consume 1/4 lb per day.
Cost of Chicken Feed
Chicken food is an integral component of keeping chickens. Selecting high quality feed with adequate nutritional density is crucial, as one laying chicken requires 4 ounces daily of feed – typically sold as crumble, pellet or mash formats – available both organic and commercial varieties; medicated feeds also exist that protect against common diseases that plague hens.
As well as food, chickens require water (assuming this will be free), bedding, grit and regular deworming treatments. Chick starter feed, brooder boxes or incubators as well as any additional supplies necessary to raise a flock will incur additional costs.
Commercial hen feed tends to be cheaper than making your own mash or ration, though other costs should be taken into account, including kitchen scraps, treats and additional bedding costs for your chicken coop. A 50 pound bag of non-GMO layer feed typically runs approximately $30.
Cost of Organic Chicken Feed
Organic chicken feed may be more expensive than its conventional counterpart, but organic flocks lay larger and tastier eggs, plus you will know exactly what they’re eating!
Organic and non-GMO chicken feed contains no hormones or pesticides that could impact egg quality and overall flock health, creating a significant advantage in quality eggs produced.
DIY chicken feed production can help save you money – perfect if you have access to an expansive garden or are capable of cultivating grains and seeds yourself!
As the cost of chicken feed has increased, egg prices have also seen an increase. At HEAL Farms in Apollo, organic eggs now cost $7 per dozen. Adam Mason, owner of HEAL farms in Apollo, says rising feed costs have caused this price increase; his flock comprises 140 egg layers and 1,800 meat birds on a pasture, so rising deworming costs have forced them to spend more money on parasite treatments as well.
Cost of Commercial Chicken Feed
Chickens need a diet rich in essential nutrients to support both their development and egg production. Therefore, selecting appropriate feed is critical. Professional nutritionists use computer software to formulate formulas tailored specifically to meet nutrient requirements throughout life stages.
Price increases for raw materials used to manufacture commercial chicken feed are on an ever-increasing trend, especially due to soaring soybean meal costs used as the base protein source in most poultry feed products. Exploiting alternative protein sources such as sunflower meal, rapeseed meal, groundnut meal or distiller dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to lower feed costs significantly.
Raising chickens yourself or buying chicks as pets will have a huge effect on the cost of your flock. Chicks tend to be less costly, although rare breeds may increase initial costs substantially.
Cost of Non-GMO Chicken Feed
Non-GMO chicken feed costs can often double that of regular feed; however, its worth it if your goal is egg production. Non-GMO feed has been designed specifically to support egg laying with all-natural ingredients and extra vitamins and minerals for enhanced egg quality.
New Country Organic Layer Feed, featuring 17% protein and free from corn and soy, is an ideal non-GMO feed choice for backyard flocks, providing them with all of the essential vitamins and nutrients for optimal health and productivity.
Another way to lower the costs associated with chicken feed is by producing its own food sources for your flock. You can achieve this through growing a garden or adding grains and seeds directly into their diet – which will both lower costs while increasing quality of eggs produced.