Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Frugal Challenge - The Cost of Keeping Chickens

I thought I would share my journey to fresh backyard eggs and the costs involved. So far my total investment for the chicks and their feeders and mash has been $26. That is it. The chicks were a couple of bucks and everything else was pretty reasonable.
In fact I had just cashed in our cans and plastic and had $30 in my pocket so no additional money spent.

I did order on book from Amazon. I had enough gift card money from Swagbucks that it didn't cost me a dime. I keep doing my searches and daily polls on Swagbucks and just load my $5 gift cards I earn to my account so I have money in there when I want to order something.




So far the girls are in a box I had in the garage and I am just using a desk lamp. They seem fine. When we transition to the garage they will be in a huge box we already have out there with a cover. So no money spent there.


The coop will of course be our biggest expense. We will model the structure after this one. Our area is long and narrow behind our garage. The box will be similar but their area will extend about ten feet out so they will have lots of room to scratch and move. I will be able to come around the other side of the garage and gather eggs without going in the coop. I will just lift the back lid. We thought of doing it in a rubbermaid container but plastic in a hot SoCal summer seemed like it would be too hot. Hubby has a project cut out for him doesn't he? What a guy. I hope it goes together well and doesn't take too many days to get it up. 

After the cost of the coop is in I have read that the average price of keeping a small flock is about .50 per dozen eggs. I'd say that is pretty good considering that a dozen organic eggs is about $3-$4.
Also I will have all the free chicken manure I need to add to my compost. So no more buying bags of it every spring. 


22 comments:

Mica said...

wonderful...and that is exactly why I want chickens...Have fun...they are great to raise. I had chickens growing up and was a huge part of it...I will always remember those days, I loved evry single one of those girls, especially my sweetie Dusty. Oh how i miss that chicken. Have a great week, I look forward to reading your adventure. Hugs, Mica

Lemon Lane Cottage said...

Thanks for the info Elaine. I am going to use it for my argument in favor of chickens. Wish me luck! Patty

Kris said...

The cost of keeping chickens is small in comparison to the joy received. Not to mention, fabulous eggs!!!! And the manure is another bonus we gardeners can understand!!! You are well on your way!!!! Love the coop design!!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

My friends have chickens and they love the fresh eggs and share with me. I know you will enjoy them and I don't think the cost is bad at all.

Diana said...

That is my most favorite chicken book! I got it before I got the chickens, as it has a lot of great info.

One tip for when your girls get close to laying age -- put an egg sized ball of some sort where you want them to lay their eggs -- that way they will get the idea, and lay consistently in one spot -- the spot you want them to use. Otherwise they often pick strange and difficult to reach spots. I use a wooden ball from some kids something or another.

Another tip, is to give them scratch and treats in their coop-run area, which trains them to follow you from out in the yard back to the coop so you can shut them in easily.

Annette T. said...

I could never let ours run wild because of our dogs, but our coop was so big and their "free range area" was about 15x10 feet, plus the inside of their coop, it wasn't' a problem. A little warning, some of the kids might not like the taste of the fresh eggs if they've been raised on other eggs, but really there's nothing like your own fresh eggs. You're doing a fine job and I love the plans for the coop, it's going to be great.

Helen said...

I think I am living vicariously through your adventure. It looks so fun. are you going to name them?

Tracy said...

I'd love to have a couple chickens but I am sure my big dog would go after them. Can't wait to see your finished coop! :)

~~Carol~~ said...

I SO appreciate this post, because one day I WILL have a couple of chickens! It will be nice to be able to show my husband just how much it would cost, because that's always his first question. Can't wait to watch those gals grow!

Cindy said...

It sounds pretty frugal to me, 50 cents a dozen! And you know what they've eaten.
Hugs, Ciny

Teresa@Magazine Your Home said...

I love the coop design and I'm sure your chickens will also. You are going to enjoy so much relaxation from watching your chickens. Plus they are a wonderful way to teach children about the God's wonderful creation. Have fun! If you want to see our chickens and coop pop on over to my blog and click farm life on my side bar labels.

Sam I Am...... said...

Sounds like a win-win to me! Also, I'm so glad you are looking at costs and the long run. So many jump into this stuff and end up spending way more than they will ever get in return. It sounds like you did your homework and are keeping track! Smart girl!

Sweet Tea said...

nI'll be following along to see how you and your little chicks are faring. Very interesting. Go Girl!

1charminghostess said...

Hi Elaine,

Your blog is so peaceful to read. I had a couple of questions. How do I go about signing up to follow your blog? And what do you mean by Swagbucks, doing searches and daily polls? I am new to the world of blogging and trying to learn as much as I can. It's so cute how much Q looks like L. :)

Gina said...

Elaine,

Keeping chickens sounds like a sound economical decision and fresh eggs too! :)

BTW, you are cordially invited to enter my Spring drawing.

Gina

ImSoVintage said...

You are going to have so much fun with this. My daughter and her family have so many fresh eggs.
Laura

Our Country Bungalow said...

I think all of this chicken chat will make me more appreciative of my birds. Because is is unseasonably warm here in Michigan this week, our windows are open and I can here the old gals out there now, hanging around under the lilac bush, clucking and scratching. Of course, every spring means open windows and the rooster alarm clock too...

You're going to have fun with your little ladies.

~cathy

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Thanks for the breakdown of the costs involved.

I am still pondering this and am gathering information.

Nothing tastes better than a fresh egg raised with loving care. Oh, and that manure is such a plus.

I attended a lecture by the woman who wrote City Chicks. Fun book and simple. No matter where you live it is relevant.

All joys to you,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

OH, that's a great deal...!!! You're right, it certainily beats the cost of buying organic eggs in the store, too. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

❁Velma ~Down Our Country Road❁ said...

Years ago, my mil loved to her chickens and we had them running all over the place...including the porch and yard (yuk!) long before range-free was even in vogue but we had plenty of fresh eggs! We don't get them so much anymore.
From what I remember, you have to be careful using chicken manure in your flower/vegetable gardens. Too much can burn your plants.

Shanley said...

You are seriously the sweetest for linking-up. I truly appreciate it. ;P

I hope you can make it to the library soon, but I know what you mean about the children's section...if I take Shelley she wants me in the YA section with her and then she is ready to go! :/

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

Sorry! That comment was from me...my computer was signed into Shanley's account!

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