Using bugs to save money on your chicken feed is a great holistic principle--here we are again with another management issue. Managing chickens so they harvest the pests, bugs, or insects around your homestead for you serves multiple purposes:
- The natural pest control that chickens provide is good for your homestead. No longer do you need to have bugs on the loose. Replace the unwanted bugs with chickens who will eat the bugs.
- The chickens will lay eggs for you to eat, and provide meat for your table.
A Problem is Now Turned into a Solution
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Instead of bugs being a problem on your homestead, now you can see them as an asset--chicken food. This is a great permaculture or holistic technique. Problems often can be turned into solutions, you just need to know how.
How to Use Your Chickens For Bug Control
You have two options here, free range them, or rotate your chickens where you want fewer bugs.
Free-Ranging Chicken Bug-Control:
This is great and easy to do. All you have to do is provide a coop for them to sleep in at night, open the door during the day and they’ll roam all around your homestead.
Rotational Chicken Bug-Control:
This takes a bit more work, but it is a suitable option for some people. You can have a movable coop were the chickens sleep at night and then have a movable fence (electric fence is popular these days). You can set them all up where you have bug problems, and then move them when you need their bug control somewhere else.
Comparing Free-Ranging vs. Rotational
- You have less work, and spend less time
- You have an easier job
- You spend less to get started
- You always have a mess wherever chickens go. This can be a problem on outdoor furniture, porches etc. that are not screened off.
- You can’t control where they are or which bugs they are eating. They go where they want, and you have less control.
- You control where they go, and which bugs they eat
- You don’t have the messiness in your outdoor living area
- You have more work--rotating and caring for them this way takes a little bit more time.
- You need to spend more to get started.
- You have a slightly more complicated job, (but it’s still pretty easy).
How Using Free-Ranging Bugs Will Save Money on Your Chicken Feed Costs
By using the resources you have and using them well (AKA bugs for your chickens’ food) you’re providing them with another food source. Is this going to mean you can cut your feed bill altogether? Most likely not, but it will get you closer to your end goal of spending less on their commercial feed bill. When you see bugs on your homestead, think of them as a part of your chicken feeding program.
If you want to break away from commercial feed entirely, check out this blog post…
10 ways to save money on your chicken feed bill to learn more.