6 Easy Ways To Get Chicken Food For FREE!

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Did you know you could get chicken food for FREE??! Over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about feeding our hens. I’m always looking for ways to get chicken food for FREE! Thankfully it’s pretty easy to do.

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TexasHomesteader

(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)

Raising A Small Flock Of Backyard Hens

I found I really enjoy raising chickens. But we don’t like to over-winter them because like my dad says of predator pressures: “You can’t blame them. Heck, everyone loves a chicken dinner!”.  LOL. True words, dad.

So we buy a few pullets in the spring and keep them through fall, then we sell them as young layers. We repeat the process again in the spring. This has worked really well for us.

Eliminating Wasted Feed In The Chicken Yard

I’ve always been amazed at how expensive it was to keep our chickens fed.  Heck when you factor in the feed cost, these are the most expensive eggs I’ve ever eaten!

But MAN, chickens can be wasteful, can’t they?? They’re fond of raking their food from the feeder and onto the ground where it’s trampled and wasted. A LOT! 

“C’mon girls, there are hens starving in other countries – eat your food!”

So RancherMan made this cheap PVC Chicken Feeder for me and we’ve reduced our purchased layer-feed waste to ZERO! Can you believe it??

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TexasHomesteader

That’s a huge savings y’all for wasted food alone. But I’ve also learned how to make them work for their food. Plus I found easy ways to get much of that food for FREE!

If you too are shocked at how expensive it is to keep your chickens fed, you’re not gonna want to miss this. I’ve found some very easy everyday ways to get my chickens some eats for FREE! Check it out.

6 easy ways to feed your chickens - chicken food for FREE! #TexasHomesteader

1. Free Ranging: Good For The Chickens & Good For US!

About mid-day I go to the coop to collect the eggs. While I’m in the chicken yard I’ll close the free-choice feeder so the girls will work up a hearty appetite.

Then I let them out to free-range about two o’clock in the afternoon. There’s a method to my madness, y’all. 

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TexasHomesteader

By letting the chickens out mid afternoon there’s a shorter time for them to be away from the safety of their coop. And since they’re not out all day, they stay closer to the house too.

Although a predator will certainly come closer to the house if hungry enough, it’s typically more more of a problem in the winter months when a predator’s food source is more scarce. (and again, we don’t overwinter our hens for that reason!)

While the hens are out free ranging they’re enjoying a fresh sampling of grass, weed seeds, grasshoppers & other bugs.

Fresh protein for them,

Reduced bug pressure for our yard and garden,

Chicken food for free.

Now THAT’S what I call a win/win!

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TexasHomesteader

2. Chickens Love To Eat Melons

Recently RancherMan & I got a seedless watermelon. We wanted to cube it and toss the watermelon cubes into the freezer. Then after a hot sticky day working in the pastures we could enjoy a delicious and refreshing frozen Watermelon Daiquiri on the back porch. 

But the chickens were all too happy to scarf up the scraps remaining on the rind. When they had eaten all the residual watermelon I simply tossed the pecked-clean rind into my *tumbling composter when they were done!

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TexasHomesteader

3. Chicken Feed: Spoils From The Garden Need Not Be Wasted

And of course now that the coop is adjacent to the garden, I’m close enough to toss over any garden mishaps. 

I was disappointed that a garden cantaloupe split & suffered a soggy demise after a particularly rainy period. But the chickens didn’t mind at all!

I have a wide-base metal bowl in their coop and I often place things from the garden into that bowl for them. Whether a blossom-end rot on a tomato or overgrown squash or cucumber, they scarf it all down.

Any remnants, peels or rinds they leave are tossed into the tumbling composter.

compost tumbler enclosed composting protects from vermin #TexasHomesteader

4. Squash Peels & Seeds To Feed To Chickens

And it’s not just garden mishaps they love. Recently I pulled some purposely overgrown summer squash from the garden to make RancherMan’s favorite garden snack Cherry-Flavored Gummy Chews 

(Yep, you read that right – a chewy, sweet, cherry-flavored snack from SQUASH!)

Turn overgrown squash into sweet cherry-flavored chews. #TexasHomesteader

The chickens thoroughly enjoyed the peels & seeds.  When they’d had their fill I simply tossed the rest of it into my *tumbling composter.

5. Chickens Like Yogurt Too

As I was digging through the fridge I was dismayed to see a jar of my homemade yogurt had been pushed to the back for way too long. Hummm… I wonder if the chickens like yogurt?

Why yes, yes they do! (although I’m reading to only feed this to them in moderation…)

This was a nice cool high-protein snack for them. And it kept the yogurt from being wasted. They face-planted right into it!

Hey girl, you need a napkin?  You’ve got a little somethin’ on your face.  🙂

I've learned how to make our hens work for their food & I found many easy ways to get lots of chicken food FREE for them! #TexasHomesteader

6. Bring Grass To Chickens For Feed!

And finally, I’ve asked RancherMan to bag the clippings when he mows the grass. Since we don’t use poisons on our lawn it’s an awesome way to get free organic mulch for our veggie garden. 

Not only does it keep the soil cooler & increase the earthworm presence, but it also preserves the moisture in the soil around our veggie garden plants during those hot Texas summers. And it adds nutrients to boot.

But I’ve also asked him to toss a bag of those fresh grass clippings into the chicken pen for their munching enjoyment. They love it and it’s fun for them to scratch through as well.

No more chickens whining “I’m BOOOOORED…”  (snicker)

Our Chicken Feed Options

So our chicken’s diet is well-rounded and healthy but we’ve saved money on their feed too.

    1. Our chicken’s  fortified layer pellets still comprise most of their feed.

    2. Free-ranging allows them to hunt for bugs & small rodents, frogs, etc. for high protein food for free.

    3. I offer them produce we’re not going to eat such as overgrown cucumbers or leftover watermelon. (there are certain things you should and shouldn’t feed chickens such as onions, green potato peels, uncooked rice or beans, tomato leaves or green tomatoes, etc.) I don’t feed the chickens actual spoiled or moldy produce. 

    4. Untreated grass clippings tossed into the chicken yard for seeds/grass for free.

This all keeps our hen’s diet variable and healthy. And a healthier diet for them means healthier eggs offered to RancherMan & me.

What are your favorite ways to feed your hens for FREE?


Tagged in   All our posts about raising backyard chickens. #TexasHomesteader 

Links In This Post:

Chicken-Care Posts

All Posts About Chickens

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11 thoughts on “6 Easy Ways To Get Chicken Food For FREE!

  1. Grandmas House DIY

    I can’t wait to get chickens someday, these are some great tips! Thank you so much for sharing with us at our To Grandma’s house we go link party! Pinned!


    My kids would love to have chickens, but we aren’t allowed to have them in our neighborhood. Must be so nice to have fresh eggs all year. Love that you’re able to make use of old/spoiled food to keep your feed cost low.

  3. Lisa @ Fun Money Mom

    We wouldn’t be allowed to have chickens where we live (we can’t even plant a bush without approval) but these are great tips for those that can! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Share The Wealth Sunday!

  4. Michelle

    We have been on our land for going on two years now and getting started with chickens kept getting pushed down the never-ending-building-a-homstead to-do list. But in the spring…we WILL have chickens.
    Thanks for the funny reminder of ways to keep the girls fed.

  5. Angie Rose

    Great ideas! I want to try the yogurt now 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing with us at Dishing It & Digging It!

  6. Alicia Owen

    I never would have guessed chickens like yogurt! You are so right about the garden scraps. Our girls especially love tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash seeds!

  7. Danielle @DIYDanielle

    For ducks, there’s some fast growing plants that apparently can make up a good amount of their food (as well as human diet). Interesting stuff to read about! Thanks for linking up to #SustainableSundays

  8. angie

    I recall my grandmother and her chickens and her saving goodies like this for them. They were not picky eaters she said lol

  9. Katrin

    Those are definitely happy chickens and how clever that you can feed them all the leftovers that would otherwise go to waste. Those eggs must be delicious and I didn’t know you could freeze fresh eggs! Thank you for sharing!

  10. Tracy Lynn

    Oh, this is such a great post! I have always wanted to come up with an effective way to free range my girls. I never thought to remove the feed prior to letting them out so they stay out of trouble and just eat. Too many times those sneaky girls will make their way to my barn and make a mess of my goat pens. I really think you found the answer to my problem, thank you!


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