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TimNeo

Where to get feed and keeping the cost down

At the end of a journey of 7 years I'm finally ready for chickens. The coop & run is built and as fox proof as I can make it, we're off on our last chicken free holiday and on our return I'm planning getting chickens in the next couple of weeks.

I live in South Essex and would like to see if anyone round these parts or a place I can order off the net is cheap for getting feed, grit etc. Or even what sort of price is about right so I don't get ripped off trawling round shops looking for a good supplier!

I don't know where to start for that bit. We had some friends over who said their eggs were costing some stupid amount of money and the feed was extortionate at 1 a KG. I'm sure I've seen posts of people getting 25kg bags for 5-6 but no idea where from.

I intend to supplement with grubs, snails, slugs from the garden as well as cuttings from the plants/seeds etc.
Cathryn

I think a 25kg sack of mixed corn costs me around 7 from the agricultural store down the road. Do such places exist in South Essex? It's an area I don't know but there must be farms somewhere nearby?
pollyanna

Don't even think of using a conventional shop for the feed.

Look up Agricultural Merchants in the Phone book. Worth a car journey if it is some distance as the prices will be lower. And some deliver, if you're lucky.

Make sure you have good rat-proof storage for the feed or you will lose all the discount you gain!
pollyanna

I've just had a quick look at your blog and your design for nest boxes.

Have you got a good 'How to.......Chickens' book? The design should not encourage hens to roost on or in or above the nest boxes, or they will make the eggs dirty. Maybe I do not understand your design properly.

It is said that a chicken will only pay you when you eat her. But I love having them around.
TimNeo

I've just had a quick look at your blog and your design for nest boxes.

Have you got a good 'How to.......Chickens' book? The design should not encourage hens to roost on or in or above the nest boxes, or they will make the eggs dirty. Maybe I do not understand your design properly.

It is said that a chicken will only pay you when you eat her. But I love having them around.


I'm in no way an expert so happy for all/any advice. I'm putting in roosting bars so that they'll be slightly higher than in the nesting boxes.

Currently the shed is dual purpose - it has the mower in it and will have a steel drum for keeping the feed in. The chickens have about 1/4 of the overal space. I wasn't sure how many nesting boxes I'd need for three hens. I'm also putting a couple outside in the run. I can always close up the top box and use it as shed storage if it becomes a problem.

I do have a book. I was trying to do most of it on the cheap rather than going out and buying a purpose built run.
pollyanna

No need for nesting boxes in the run. Indeed, magpies or somesuch will steal the eggs if they are outside the house.

Two boxes will be ample for three hens.

Roosting bars should be well away from the nest boxes.

And make sure your storage drum has a good, well-fitting lid. Mice can run up the outside of a cornflakes packet, and so can rats.
Lorrainelovesplants

Staines Ingatestone. Dont now if they are near you - I just googled agricultural supplies Essex.
TimNeo

I'm Southend way, but it's a doable distance. Seems to be mostly clustered around Chelmsford.
tahir

You'll be burning plenty of diesel Southend to Billericay and back. Got to be somewhere nearer
TimNeo

You'll be burning plenty of diesel Southend to Billericay and back. Got to be somewhere nearer


Quite! Also need somewhere reliable to get chickens from. Originally thought smilers but been told by a friend her last lot were very sickly from them.
tahir

http://www.yell.com/s/horse+supplies-southend+on+sea.html

Most of them will do chicken stuff
TimNeo

http://www.yell.com/s/horse+supplies-southend+on+sea.html

Most of them will do chicken stuff

Cheers Tahir gives me a place to start!
Pilsbury

Or i can swing through ingatestone on my way to visit my dad in southend when you need a delivery, no real difference going down the a13 or the a127 or a12 which ever it is lol.
Im sure there is a place that does feed near basildon way, i will look next time im down my friends.
TimNeo

I don't mind the odd run out that way - I've had a couple of friends recommend places on facebook as well Smile

Thanks for all the help people!
Tavascarow

Not possible now but a local cereal farmer might be happy to sell a tonne or two of wheat off the field in the late summer.
Keeping it from the rats is the difficult bit.
TimNeo

do they eat grain left over from brewing? Lorrainelovesplants

they probably would, but I think it may ferment in their gut and cause problems. Bodger

I buy bagged wheat from a local farmer for 4.50p per 25kg. I picked up 15 bags of oats from the same chap yesterday to make up part of my pigs ration.

I'll be milling them through the super duper mill that I bought off Tahir a few years back. Cutting your cloth is fine, just as long as the critters don't suffer as a result.
Nick

Not possible now but a local cereal farmer might be happy to sell a tonne or two of wheat off the field in the late summer.
Keeping it from the rats is the difficult bit.

With only three hens, I'd reckon the rats would probably leave enough from a couple of tons. Smile
TimNeo

I buy bagged wheat from a local farmer for 4.50p per 25kg. I picked up 15 bags of oats from the same chap yesterday to make up part of my pigs ration.

I'll be milling them through the super duper mill that I bought off Tahir a few years back. Cutting your cloth is fine, just as long as the critters don't suffer as a result.

I was thinking pellets as they're fairly balanced. Thrown in with the veg offcuts, scraps, odd worm, grubs, caterpillars, slugs and snails etc.

Do they eat bind weed? If so I have enough of a crop to feed 10,000.

Not trying to cut cloth particularly, just not wasting money buying stuff from petshops which has already had a couple of mark ups on it down the chain - if I can get the feed cheaper without compromising on quality I'll be happy.
Bodger

If you could find something that would eat bindweed, you'd be a millionaire. Laughing

Dave Castlefarm swears by a grain only diet for his birds
Nicky Colour it green

find your local feed merchants - ring around find the best price - if I were you I would start with layers pellets, then contemplate switching to something else once you are settled, if you want to. pollyanna

Pet shops are so much not the right place to buy the things you need! mal55

I've recently started using Duffields layers pellets. They seem to be good quality and cost me 7.50 for a 20kg sack which is the cheapest I've found for a while now. Look on their website for stockists in your area. You may pay more down there though.
You could also try be-friending a small-holder who buys in bulk and adding a couple of sacks to their order.
TimNeo

If you could find something that would eat bindweed, you'd be a millionaire. Laughing

Dave Castlefarm swears by a grain only diet for his birds

Remember, not an expert, don't they need grit and calcium for eggs and grinding it down? Assumed it had it in pellets.

edit: not grit I assume though
Bodger

You can have some grit available but free ranging birds tend to find sufficient themselves. Treacodactyl

One thing to be aware of is the use by date. Not only will some places have slow moving stock but with only a few hens you may not use a 20kg sack in time.

If you do go to a shop have a nose through the bags and pick the one with the longest date.

As for grit you get two types. Soluble, for use in making shells, and insoluble for use in their crops for grinding food. Layers mash and pellets tend to have soluble calcium in them but you can also supplement that with something like oystershell grit or mixed grit.
Wortle

I buy bagged wheat from a local farmer for 4.50p per 25kg.t.

Good grief,how much are you buying to get that price. Anyone have a good value supplier for wheat / layers pellets in south devon. MVF seem to be the most competitive at the moment at 7.99 for 25kg(LP)
Nick

I guess he's buying some, but not a massive amount. More importantly, it's from the farmer direct. What he's not paying for is the shiny bag, shop front and truck. Rob R

Wheat is very low at the moment, just 150/tonne. Food shortages are a myth.
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