Reality on keeping chickens...

Discussion in 'The Rural Life' started by BjornBee, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Does it pay off in keeping chickens? I'm talking about the pure cost of keeping them, feed, etc., as compared to the eggs you get.

    I know some will say due to healthier kept, nutrition, and other factors, that it is worth it to them. And I understand all that.

    But if you could buy eggs from free range, healthy fed chickens, is it worth it to have your own? Do chicken pay their way in the form of a eggs?

    Thank you.

    Edit...maybe I should of put this in the "rural" forum...
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Your wish is my command, Sir.
     

  3. rast

    rast New Member

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    It didn't for me. Eating and cooking with what we needed and selling what we could,it didn't pay for the laying mash for about a dozen hens and one rooster. They also quit laying just like bees and keep on eating. I enjoy having them and may have some again one day. I also miss picking up the egg that I missed for about week in the summer just as it exploded--NOT!
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Sort of like can keeping a hive or two of bees pay for themselves or would it be cheaper to just buy a couple of quarts of honey at the farmers market.

    Just as in the cattle I am going to take to the slaughter house for myself.
    Cost of the beef to start with, figure $1 per pound on the hoof, 2400 pounds for both of them .........................$2,400
    feed bill, roughly ...................................................................................................................................$400
    slaughter bill, about ..............................................................................................................................$550
    I will have about six hours in time to transport the live beef to slaughter and return trip for meat pick up and
    electric to run the freezer at my house, just say......................................................................................... $150
    ----------
    total invested, approximately.................................................................................................................$3,500
    ----------
    packaged meat return, approx. pounds......................................................................................................1,200

    that figures to 2.92 per pound, not too bad for home grown beef, plus I know what I am eating.

    There are other things that did not really get figured into the whole of the product, but even at $3.25 per pound I think I still come out.


    G3
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Rast were you figuring in the free fertilizer and the free pest control also.

    I guess I could figure in the free fertilizer and, the free grass and weed control. ;) Part of the equation falls into the love of doing it, I just like to have cattle around myself and the meat is just a byproduct so to speak.

    All hobbies cost money but you have to look at what enjoyment you get out of it, that is priceless.
    I don't like getting stung by bees but will wade right into them anyway, just because I like to fool with them.

    G3
     
  6. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    We have 7 Australorp hens (had a rooster, but he "got missing"). They are not free range because they started to free range down the highway and were soon to be hood ornaments on 18 Wheelers. :cry: So, we did have the cost of an outside pen (2 x 4's & chicken wire) and a little "remodeling" (plywood, chicken wire, hardware cloth) for the inside coop. After that...

    1) The ladies average 4 eggs per day
    2) The Purina medicated feed they get runs about $12 every 2 months.
    3) Electricity runs about $3 per month

    So, we get 2 dozen eggs a week for about $1.15 per dozen in expenses. PLUS...they are really incredibly silly birds! :lol:

    One came in the shop when I was assembling frames and she clucked, I clucked back and must have said in "chicken", "Why don't you pretend you're a parrot and jump on my shoulder?" Next thing I knew I had a chicken in the middle of my back (she missed the shoulder)! I went left, the chicken went right, and after that I closed the shop door. ;)

    Walt
     
  7. rast

    rast New Member

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    G3, I will say that the biggest and best tomatoes were the ones planted right outside the coop. Problem with counting the free fertilizer is I only have go about a 1/4 mile to get it free. A guy that runs a couple of spreader trucks keeps it piled and covered in his grove and gives me all I want. I did like the bug control, what I didn't like was tracking fresh green and white fertilizer into the house, my truck, etc.
    If I hadn't had to tear down the coop to build a new barn, I'd probably still have some. Varmits and dogs get them if I don't keep them cooped. I even had to cover the coop yard after watching a hawk plop down it after one. And yeah, you can make pets out of them.
     
  8. XLB

    XLB New Member

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    chickens aren't so bad for us. in eggs, not so much. in meat, i guess that depends if it's before or after mama fries it. ;)
     
  9. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    I hatched out some chicken eggs this spring with roughly 60% hatch (not bad for the first try) something got all of them once they went outside. So much for the fresh eggs.

    maybe next spring.

    G3
     
  10. XLB

    XLB New Member

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    we once bought about 50 australorpe and dominiqe chicks, built a run for them, then the neighbors dog ate 47 australorpes and all but about 5 of the dominiqes while we were gone one night.

    but it's alright, we've now adopted the "SSS" method.(shoot, shovel, shut up) ;) :hunter:
     
  11. Walt B

    Walt B New Member

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    XLB,

    Sounds like a plan! :thumbsup:

    Walt
     
  12. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    We like our chickens an awful lot. We get one or two every spring that just refuse to stay in the pen and turn into little pets. They follow us all over the place and eat the bugs and chirp and cheep at us..... all the way up until the hawks get 'em. :(

    The ones that stay in the pen like good little chickens get a zillion kids bringing them bugs and green stuff and petting them. I go in once a day and steal their eggs, tell 'em "good girls" and occasionally sit in a chair outside the pen and watch 'em play..... they are way way better than TV any day of the week!

    As far as for meat, we enjoy that too. Hatch out a bunch of new chicks in the spring, let 'em get big and eat the fellers. :D

    We get 3 or 4 dozen eggs a week from 20ish hens, more in the spring time. We buy 50lbs of layer pellets and 50 lbs of scratch every two weeks at about 20 bucks.
     
  13. rast

    rast New Member

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    Mama Beek, I always built my coops so I didn't have to go inside to get the eggs. Nesting boxes on the back wall right behind the roosts. Hinged door behind, usually above, cause my boxes stick out the wall. Just flip the door up and get the eggs.
     
  14. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    We always had 75 to 150 "game" chickens running around our 3 acres. We would eat the pullets and cull stags. "young roosters" My father fought the better stags. The hens would hide their nests in the weeds, outbuildings, under the house, wherever..... It was an "easter egg hunt" all summer.
     
  15. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    That's how I wanted the coop to be set up, but hubby built it for me and it was the first thing ever built that was a) wood, and b)not part of an airplane or c) made of metal. So the plain square little building is what I got and will keep with a few modifications, since it's been 3 years since it was built I can call it maintenance and avoid wounded feelings. I will probably just cut a hole in the wall and slide the nest boxes in, fasten some sort of mount and call it good.

    We do really enjoy the chickens though, so going into the house isn't an issue for us.

    [​IMG] There's little man with one of the ones that thought it was a puppy and followed us everywhere. She even had her own bowl. [​IMG]

    The whole bunch of us would get out in the yard and play with her too. [​IMG]

    And she even helped in the garden when we were working. [​IMG]

    She was one of the ugliest chickens ever hatched and she never got big enough to do anything with. It's crazy how much fun we have had with the chickens, right now we can't wait for spring to see what hatches. Baby Beek has Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks and a whole lot of Old English Games and a few OEG/Cornish crosses, and a couple of Black Australorpes.

    Then Baby Beek runs around all the time with baby chickens either in her pockets or just like this: [​IMG] See how much fun it is?
     
  16. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Money-wise, i don't think keeping chickens just for the eggs is worth it. But if you eat the chickens too, then maybe so. Here in new york state the winters are cold and you have to provide good shelter...and shovel frozen poop bedding, and clear the snow for them. :roll: Also, any outdoor runs need mesh roof against hawks, pens have to be tight against foxes and raccoons and even bobcat.
    My friend had great eggs for years, but got tired of losing chickens and keeping them over winter, so this year she gave them away. She's sticking with her big vegetable garden instead.

    I used to have a dozen ducks, great eggs....but believe me winter was NO FUN AT ALL. Wouldn't want to do it again myself. Bees are far better! :thumbsup:
     
  17. Bitty Bee

    Bitty Bee New Member

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    Money-wise chickens really pay off in meat and compost, eggs are just a bonus.If you want chickens strictly for eggs I would suggest red or black stars. They are egg laying machines! Our friend has 10 and right now they average 4-5 eggs a day. In the spring she gets twice that much! We have 10 hens that are laying and we average 1-3 a day now and 7-9 in the spring. Although her chxns free range; ours are in a coup in the shade.
    We hope to get some red stars this spring.
     
  18. MjdTexan

    MjdTexan New Member

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    My chickens feed me breakfast every morning AND they pay for their own feed and I only charge $1 a dozen eggs. I put the money in the jar and when I need feed, I reach into the jar and pull the money out. Laying pellets are costing me $11 for 50 pounds. I am looking at the jar now and I see plenty of money in there. I have 20 pullets that are 9½ weeks old that I am going to stick with the big girls soon. I buy them in the middle of October so that they turn 20 weeks old in early Spring. This has proven (to me at least) to help them start laying right at 20 weeks.
     
  19. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Omie,
    Why was winter the way it was? Too cold? No place for them to survive? Can they roost and keep warn in a chicken house without heat, etc? What would be needed?

    Thank you.
     
  20. onehorse

    onehorse New Member

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    We got 28 day olds in June of this year, Buff Orpingtons. We put 11 - 6 month old roosters in the freeezer at Thanksgiving and the 10 hens are giving us 5 - 7 eggs a day right now. The dogs got a few over the months, but other then our initial investment in the birds, one unrelated rooster, and feed, I don't expect to be putting out much else money wise and expect them to replenish themselves and the freezer. The Amish guy down the street butchered for us and compared to what we were paying for free-range eggs and chickens, it's paying off. Compared to the grocery store, probably not.

    If interested, we might have a few laying hens available in the spring or we planning/hoping to have chicks. The Buffs are going out pretty much irregardless of the weather; the snowy days, they have been staying in. They are pretty quiet calm, so they should do well with kids and pets, but they aren't smart enough to stay away from the dogs and we haven't had any issues with prey birds or animals, so far (knock on wood!)