In this episode Aust and Accountant Mike revisit the subject of Farm Fresh Eggs.... Raising chickens on your homestead can't save you money, but can it earn you some? Find out!
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In this episode Aust and Accountant Mike revisit the subject of Farm Fresh Eggs....
The Ritz Carlton of Coops!
Do egg-laying chickens save a homesteader money? Accountant Mike said, "Not worth it!" in this previous episode. But what if you sell the eggs produced by your flock? Does that income equal the time, money, and energy from raising chickens? We interview John from The Growing Farms Podcast to find out on this episode of Homesteady.
Want more chicken tips? Dr. Michael Darre from the University of Connecticut, chicken specialist, may home some answers for you.
Want to learn more about farms and finance? The Farm Finance Project gives you an insider view on the workings of 12 small-scale farms.
John's extended interview giving his own chicken tips is available in the Pioneer Library. Pioneers also have access to an audio chicken raising class in the Pioneer Library. Join now!
Motivated and educated enough about chickens to build your own chicken tractor? Click here checkout John's Plans. (BTW... it's an affiliate link)
Check out Homesteady on YouTube for great videos about many homesteading topics, including this one on How to Get Your Chickens to Lay More Eggs in the Winter.
The Suburban Escapee- Tales from Raising Roosters Farm
Do you see that fancy, $400 coop posted up there?
That is NOT what my backyard chicken coop looks like. This is the "Budget Coop:"
And it cost us MAYBE $100. In fact, this is the Budget Coop 2.0. Version 1.0 consisted of the lifted roof part you see on the left being made of free pallets buried into the ground like a fence with chicken wire over the top. The part on the left is actually a chicken tractor a friend of ours gifted us when they moved. We call it "the extension." As you can see, I really do have backyard chickens- the coop abuts my shed, and that's my house in the background.
Before I gloat about my Budget Coop, however, I have to admit: Accountant Mike has a point. Over the last 18 months, we have brought home and fed, at one time or another, no fewer than 18 chickens.
We currently have five. One of them lays eggs. I am not great with numbers, but even I know the math on that one does not work out.
What happened to the other THIRTEEN CHICKENS? I could go on for days, but here is a short list:
Raccoon (The Country Boy threw it like an Olympic hammer out of the coop.)
Neighborhood husky attack
Free-range gone amiss (did you know baby chicks can climb into the undercarriage of your car?)
And finally...Roosters. We have had so many roosters I have re-named our home "Raising Roosters Farm."
To continue to justify the expense of backyard chickens, we have stuck to a few budgeting tips:
We get free chickens from the Spencer Fair. If you want free chickens, I suggest contacting your local 4-H chapter to see if chicks will be bred for the purpose of an agricultural fair or other educational venue. Free chicks could be yours!
Source free building materials to build your coop. We had to buy the wood for the frame and the screws. Everything else was gifted from leftover projects of friends and family.
Chicken poop and eggs shells are great fertilizer! We save money on gardening expenses this way. In fact, I challenge Accountant Mike to calculate, pound for pound, how much I would have spent on compost and fertilizer for my garden if I didn't have chickens.
Chickens can eat all household plant-based table scraps. In New England, when my compost pile is frozen, my chickens eat all my vegetable scraps and peelings, saving them from the trash.
We dispatch the roosters. Or give them away. But most have gone to the "Soup Pot."
However, it's not completely about the money.
There are, however, as Accountant Mike's mom said, intangible benefits to owning chickens. Rather than getting chickens to replace our children, we got chickens for our children. My oldest daughter is a chicken whisperer, and she is the one that is able to hold, pet, catch, and herd the chickens.
The chickens have brought us more than eggs. My children have learned about where food comes from. They have learned to take care of another creature. They have learned about predators and death from the chickens. They have learned to be "calm and confident" when they approach animals, and to gage the effect of their presence.
For me personally, it's all about the taste. Farm fresh eggs are MUCH better than a "big ag" egg. I am an eggs over easy aficionado, and recently ate eggs at a popular chain restaurant. Spoiled by months of rich, delicious yolks, I nearly spit out my toast as my tongue met the insipid, watery yellow of the factory farmed egg I had ordered. An over easy egg cooked while still warm from the coop? Priceless.
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Paul and Katie
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