I got a kick out of reading this post about "For those who's spouses don't play along...." and the quantity of chickens, coops, etc. being added to everyones flock. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=144163&p=1 Rather than try to hijack that post with my thoughts, I wanted to start this post in hopes of having a conversation about the cost of our hobby. The part of that post I found most interesting was that in many cases, chick purchases seem to be influenced by 'impulse buying' as more and more chicks show up at the local feed stores. What started out as someone purchasing 4-6 chicks to keep their family with fresh eggs, quickly turns into many dozens of new chicks. One person equated the habit with her mother sneaking new shoes into the house! I agree this is all great fun and that I have to stop myself from expanding my flock beyond what I can realistically use and care for. I am by no means condemning anyone in that thread. That thread did turn my thoughts to some of the personal finance problems many people now find themselves experiencing. I believe many of these troubles are a direct result of a pattern of impulse purchasing, especially on credit. Whether it be fancy clothes & shoes, boats & big screen TVs, or even chickens, such spending can quickly get out of hand. I am interested in hearing if anyone else is adjusting their chicken 'hobby' because of the cost. I think we all can agree that from a strictly financial standpoint, raising you own chickens & eggs doesn't make great cents (sic). Luckily, there are many intangible benefits from doing so. Still, there are costs associated with our hobby that must be accounted for. All of you that requested raizin's spread sheet might be astonished at the results. I am certain the cost of these critters has expanded beyond what I expected. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=124260&p=1 As an example, I posted about my rooster being hen-pecked. I went out an brought 'Blu-Kote,' 'Udder Balm,' 'Pine Tar' and 'No-Pick' before I got control of the problem. Now with warm weather coming I'm starting to dread the possibility of needing to treat worms, bugs, etc. My coop is also due for its every six months cleanout and change of pine shavings. So, to get the ball rolling, these are some of the things I've been doing: - This past fall I found myself going over to a buddy's farm and pulling all the corn from his corn maze that he had set up for the local pumpkin festivals. I've been using that corn all winter as a supplement for my feed program. I've also been reading about growing some greens just for the chicks to eat. - Last week one of my metal watering cans sprang a leak. Normally I would toss it and buy a new one. Instead, I took the time to solder (lead-free) that crack and it works good as new. - I've been wanting to start some meat chickens and a couple of turkeys this spring but with my oldest heading off to college I feel the need to hold back until her tuition is covered. I would enjoy hearing you thoughts. .