Comment: One way to improve the economics

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In reply to comment: I'm a "mom" to 8 hens... (see in situ)

One way to improve the economics

of your chicken project might be to grow your own grain -

In the original version of Gene Logsdon's book on small scale
grain cultivation he devotes several pages to using homegrown
grain for chicken feed. (There is a new edition out, though, and
I'm not absolutely sure that that info is in the new one, the copy
I have is the original 1977 edition).

In general, growing grain is easier than growing vegetables - but
processing is more involved. The good news is that using grains
for animal feed requires less processing than for human consumption.

For example, he recommends sprouting barley while still on the stalk -
just soaking the heads of grain in water and giving them a few days
for the seeds to begin to sprout and give them to the chickens as-is.
No threshing/winnowing/milling required:

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Scale-Grain-Raising-Processing-N...