How we pull off frugal farming

Chickens on the cheap

We have had Comets as our main egg layers for almost a year now, and we felt it was time to try our hand at meat birds. We picked up 6 Cornish Rocks at Tractor Supply, and they had pamphlets on chicken care, which also included a coupon for $3.00 off of a 40 or 50lb bag of NatureWise Poultry feed, so I took a few of those to store for later.

We buy all of our feed at Runnings, which is right across the street from Tractor Supply in my city. Both Tractor Supply and Runnings have great prices on different things, we tend to go to both before making a purchase, since they are so close; this way we always know we are getting the best price. Runnings seems to have a better coupon policy though, and will accept competitor coupons. The pamphlets we picked up with the chicks said “Offer only valid at Tractor Supply” however, they were manufacturer coupons, so Runnings gladly accepts them. At Runnings, they have a similar coupon in the back of their books; yes book, not just a pamphlet, but quite thick books of chicken care! Both coupons say that you can only use one per person, not simply one per purchase, so if we use one of each, we can check out with two bags and two coupons.

Here we are a week after I picked up our chicks, and we were poking around Runnings for parts of the tractor we are building, when I happened upon this incredible deal! They had about 20 bags of different chicken feed, both Nutrena and Purina. We have always fed Nutrena and plan to stick with that, so I was really excited to find 6 bags of “Meat Bird” feed on sale for $6.91 each! They are regularly $13.49, so this was a huge savings right there, but then we used the coupon and got each bag for only $3.91!

After doing some math and observation, we found that our 12 Comets eat about a gallon a day, which is 1/8th of a bag of Nutrena feed. Assuming the meat birds will eat about the same, 1 bag would last them about 2 weeks. Cornish Rocks should reach a 7lb butcher age between 8-10 weeks old, so 4 bags of feed seems acceptable for the length of their life, though having the extra two bags is a nice safeguard since we have heard that the breed are sort of pigs and eat a ton.

Their feed bill would have cost us $93.93, counting the bag of starter food we bought at $12.99, using a $3 coupon then as well, when we picked them up. Instead, we were able to bring it down to $33.45! HUGE SAVINGS!

We will spend this year learning about foods that we can plant for the chickens to try to reduce our cost for next year even more.

Willow Stevens

Willow is a mother of six who begins to feel the empty nest, with faer oldest child living with his long-time girlfriend in another state, and the next three begin their talks about jobs and the excitement of college and living alone. Willow started couponing in 2007 to save their family some money on the grocery budget. That's how Freetail Therapy was born, so that fae could share their knowledge of saving money with others. Though the site has become so much more since then, and now includes homeschooling and homesteading info, Willow still does it all on a budget and shares how. Willow enjoys snagging freebies, snuggling with their dog, Xander, drinking decaf coffee, gardening, cannabis and of course, their large frugal family.

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