Keeping Chickens on a Budget – Feeding, Watering & Protecting Your Hens

This Article is by Virginia Shirt, author of
The Right Way to Keep Chickens

Feeding & Water for Your Hens

You can use almost any vessel for water so long as it has the following attributes;

  • Does not tip over
  • The hens can easily drink from it
  • Hens cannot perch on it
  • It contains enough water to provide for all the hens
  • There is water to see them through the periods you are not at home

I have seen plastic washing up bowls used (place a heavy weight in bottom to prevent tipping) and shallow metal bowls. Heavy dog bowls will do for a small flock. Just look around and use your imagination to adapt materials around your home.

Hen & ChicksYou cannot really save money on feed as quality is vital when egg production is required. Although feeding scraps is illegal! I am afraid I should be locked away. I refuse to be told I cannot feed my chickens my food waste. Just make sure it is always kept separate from meat products to avoid salmonella.

Chickens love left over bread and vegetables, fruit salad leftovers are a real treat. A visit to your local vegetable market stall at the end of the day can bring forth some lovely extras for your chickens. Don’t be embarrassed as the stall holders are usually delighted to let you take the out of date produce that will not sell.
Recycle your egg shell by collecting it in a container. Once you have a decent amount bake it in the oven when cooking your next dinner. It will dry and become brittle making it easy to crush. Pop it in the mixer to break it down. Once small enough you can then grind in a pestle and mortar. You must grind it well so that the chicken does not know it is egg shell. If they realise it is egg shell they may start to eat eggs. Add it to the chicken feeder as this will provide extra calcium for the chickens

Protect Your Chickens

Keep your hens safe from predators at all times. If you have a dog let it patrol your garden and boundaries on a regular basis. Not only will the scent deter the fox but your dog will alert you to any visits. Look out for strange behaviour from your dog when he goes into the garden. My dogs will go scatty at the scent of a fox and they will go to the toilet where the fox comes in. If the fox is nearby they will let you know by barking frantically. My dogs get very angry and vocal when they become aware of a visiting fox.


In order to help pay for the chicken feed, your surplus eggs can be sold to friends or neighbours. I often find that by selling a few eggs I actually get mine for free! Chickens are a rewarding hobby that actually pay for themselves.

Further Resources

There’s a load of information on our sister web site The Poultry Pages on feeding, watering & protecting your hens and a great chat forum where poultry keepers exchange help, tips and advice. Poultry Chat

For poultry equipment and housing why not pop over to The Poultry Pages’ Shop where you can grab a bargain and get all your poultry needs.

More Articles on Keeping Chickens

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