Raising backyard chickens is really not that hard and it’s a great source of cheap entertainment and delicious homegrown eggs.
The biggest challenge we’ve faced as backyard chicken owners is reducing the cost of the organic, non-GMO, soy-free feed we purchase. Depending on the size of your flock, you can easily go through a bag of $40 feed in a week! That’s $120 in simply feed costs alone — ouch! One way to minimize the cost of feed is to let the girls free-range in your hard.
However, if you don’t have the luxury to let your chickens roam free (which drastically reduces the cost of feed), it is a constant effort to implement ways to not make your eggs feel like they are costing you $25 a dozen.
That’s where the grazing boxes come into play!
So, what are DIY grazing boxes?
Literally what they sound like: boxes made from lumber with hardware cloth on top of dirt that is planted with grains. These grains sprout greens and eventually grow past the hardware cloth which allows the chickens to peck at them. The grains cost much less than feed that is typically wasted by the bird and is nutritionally superior.
Install a few grazing boxes and voila — a salad buffet bar that is protected by ferocious scratchy claws that tear up everything.
Happy chickens. Happy chicken people.
Don’t believe me? See it in action and watch how happy our girls are when they are let out to graze on the boxes for the first time ever. Bonus: cat enjoying grazing boxes included, too.