Koren Helbig with her Pekin bantam chickens

When the pandemic first hit in early 2020, I ditched an epic Europe holiday and got chooks instead — like so many other suddenly home-bound Aussies.

My five little Pekin bantams are now cherished pets and, in spoiling them with all sorts of extra food treats, I’ve realised I’m also saving money — because I don’t need to buy as much pelleted food.

Turns out, supplementing your flock’s diet with homemade extras is super thrifty, and can also make their eggs more nutritious and delicious.

Treats also provide entertainment for your chickens — which is important because, just like cats and dogs, chooks need physical and mental stimulation to live happy and healthy lives.

With the cost of living starting to bite, I wrote this story for ABC Everyday, covering simple ways to feed your hens on the cheap, including:

  • How to use a free resource your chickens are already creating for you — and feed eggshells back to your hens.
  • Why sprouting whole grains and seeds is such a game-changing nutritious treat.
  • How to make your own DIY chicken feeder ideas for providing leafy greens.
  • Plus other thrifty ways to feed your flock, including homemade peck bars, insect logs and moveable yards.

So, with a little creativity, you can save dosh on chicken feed while also enriching your hen’s lives, training your flock to be friendlier and producing better-tasting eggs to boot. Win-win, really.

Here’s how to do it.

This story is part of a regular gardening column I write for ABC Everyday, the lifestyle website of Australia’s national broadcaster. You can read find my full story archive here.