If you are a farmer or a homesteader you probably would like to learn how to save money on animal feed. Feed prices are rising quickly and it doesn’t seem as though they are going to go back down anytime soon.
So what are your options? Sell all of your animals to save money? Of course, that is an option. But is it necessary?
Being self-reliant means preparing and being frugal right?
In this post you will learn some simple ways you can start preparing to save money on your feed bill.
Get Your Priorities in Order First
We love our animals. Whether they are dogs and cats or horses and cows. But when money is an issue, we sometimes have to step back and look at our priorities.
It is wonderful to have twenty cute little rabbits, but do you NEED them? If you butcher them to feed your family then they are needed. But if they are pets only, maybe it is time to consider other alternatives.
I love my horses, but in reality, they eat here and laze out the days in our field. We do not ride them. As much as I love them, when the expenses start racking up, they would be the first to be re-homed.
On our farm, everything has a purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I have “pets” too. Lots of them as a matter of fact.
But when money becomes an issue I would rather sacrifice a pet than an animal that may feed us in a crisis if need be. This is where priorities come into play.
Look for Ways to Save Money on Animal Feed On-Site
The easiest and most sensible way to save money on animal feed is to start on your very own property. Look at the options you may have available that you may not have thought of before.
Knowing what each animal needs for nutrition will help you get creative. Let’s look at some different ideas.
Chickens for us, seem to be the cheapest animals we feed. Even though the feed isn’t a huge expense, I am still willing to save money on their feed bill every month. So we get creative.
First, I let them free-range as much as possible. They will find pretty much everything they need when they have full access to your property.
But what if you can’t allow them this freedom?
Don’t worry there are options. Try using a chicken tractor. This will protect the birds but they can be moved frequently.
If neither of those are options then you have to resort to a more natural or supplemental feed. Options include fermented feed and growing your own.
Fermented feed is very simple. Basically it means you have a bucket of feed with water poured in and stirred every few days. The feed expands, and less has to be fed to the chickens, thus saving you money.
Fermented feed buckets are started daily so when you use one up there is another one ready to be fed.
Fodder is an excellent way to save money on animal feed. To grow fodder you simple line shallow trays with seeds. Then you spray them daily and let the water run off. After a few days the sprouted seeds form a mat and can. be cut apart and fed to your chickens.
You can grow as little or as much as you need and almost all animals love it! The best part is if you can buy bulk sacks of seeds the savings in pretty good.
As with all animal feed, keeping your feed in a dry, cool place can save money on animal feed because it has less of a chance of spoilage. Also be sure they are kept in containers that will keep them dry and rodent-free.
Consider buying bulk whole grains that keep well, such as corn. Other whole grains that you may feed your livestock can be kept up to a year if they are kept in the right container and stay dry and protected.
Another way to save money on feed is to pay attention where you place their feed for them to eat. Feed thrown on the ground can get mushy. Or it can be stomped in the dirt. This means more wasted feed and more wasted money.
Invest in good containers to feed your animals in. Secure them if necessary to keep your animals from tipping them over.
Pigs are our biggest feed bill on our farm. They eat a lot! However their are some options to save money on animal feed when it comes to pigs.
First of all, feed them all of your scraps! Now I don’t mean stale donuts, cakes and spoiled food. But vegetable tops, most fruit and vegetables, crackers and so forth are fine.
We do use pig feed but we also give them all of the leftovers from our meals that do not include salt or other harmful ingredients. (Please do your research).
Another great way to save money when it comes to pig feed is to let them roam. Fence in an area and let them free range like your chickens. And as a bonus, if you leave a few pigs in an area long enough you will have a glorious garden later!
One more option is fermented grain waste from a brewery. We have a local guy who sells large barrels of the leftovers to farmers and it is affordable compared to bags of commercial feed.
General Ways to Save Money on Animal Feed
No matter what type of animal you are trying to feed, whether big or small, consider other means of saving on the feed bill. These include the following:
- Allow your animals to graze as much as possible
- Buy in bulk with another farmer or homesteader
- Grow the grains you feed yourself
- Invest in a pellet feed maker
- Consider the worth of the animal compared to the cost of keeping it
So there you have it. Some simple, yet money-saving ways you can save money on animal feed for your farm or homestead.
Did I leave something out? Drop me a note in the comments and give me your ideas and tips.