Cost of raising the average backyard flock....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GuamChicken, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello,

    I'm just curious on what other opinions are on this topic. I took up chicken raising as a pure hobby, and love it. Money is not a factor whatsoever. I do it because it's fun, and interesting to me. However, it cost me a ****load of money I am realising. I only raise the chickens for eggs and homestead type purposes, ( pets ?? ) I'm not a meat processor by any means. I am just curious how people actually do this for a profit, I would be very interested to hear the techniques. The feed alone cost me about $50 / month. Plus bedding and misc supplies about $20 / month. That is a lot of egg sales to cover that spread. This is not counting the upfront cost of my incubators, coop building cost etc. Thanks.
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Truth is, most don't.
    Do an advanced search on cost and there are several threads out there discussing it.

    I track my feed cost and egg sales closely and come out ahead most the time. But I'm keeping it small, just a few customers who are friends, cause if you have to expand your sales market the time quotient goes way up.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Can I ask what you're paying for feed, and what you're getting for eggs? (PM if you'd rather)
     
  4. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm assuming you are not asking me, correct ?
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    It is like any other business, you want it fancy, it will eat money. Keep it tight, well not so much.

    A woman a couple of years ago, when people were complaining about the cost, kept it pretty simple.

    A plain shed, a couple of smaller boxes for nests. A good fence, keep the number of hens down to the minimum, no free loaders, don't go to the vet, keep a sharp knife, scraps and some layer feed. And it won't cost much.

    I may not be quite this thrifty, but it has some good points.

    Mrs K
     
  6. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    That certainly sounds like good advice. I like the sharp knife idea.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    That sharp knife serves a dual purpose. Everybody likes chicken soup!

    Guam chickens: I just re-read your original post. I have several other money saving suggestions: Do you, or are you able to free range your flock? If not, what is the condition of your run? Have they stripped it bare? In the first case, free range will cut your feed cost, especially where you are! In the second case, if you do a deep litter in the run, that will also cut your feed costs. Deep litter in your coop will cut your cost on shavings. Do you rely on just shavings, or do you use natural yard litter? (In season, I use leaves and grass clippings) How big is your flock? My flock consists of 16 adults. They go through 50# every 3 weeks or so. Their feed is fermented. An other huge savings: no spilled feed. The pro-biotics in the FF give them a healthier gut, as well as making the feed easier to digest, and enhancing some of the nutrients in the feed. Their poo doesn't smell as strong. And, there is never any food left over night (or spilled), therefore no issue with attracting rodents to my chicken operation.

    You're already doing one of the more important things to cut costs with your flock: hatching your own replacement chicks. Along that venue, would be the cost of culling your flock to enhance production: only set eggs from your best layers. Eat all of the slackers. Eventually, you'll have a flock of good layers that excel in your climate.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2015
  8. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks L.G. for the great advice and info. I'll try to answer your questions. I do let my chickens free range a bit, I have a compost pile they work. Only problem is they free range my vegetable garden frequently. I think I use the deep layer method, I basically just keep adding pine bedding to the coop. I have not tried garden litter, as I always put that in the compost pile. My flock is two hems, one rooster and 8 - 3 week old chicks. I never heard of the fermented feed, I need to look that one up.
     
  9. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! Three adults and 8 chicks and your feed bill is $50/month? That's one serious feed bill. What are you feeding them?
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If you put some deer fencing around your garden, that will keep the flock out, so that they can still free range without molesting your veggies. It comes in a 7' tall x 100' long roll, and is easily cut with scissors into 3.5' x 200'. You can then use thin fiberglass posts woven through the netting every 10' or so. Add some clothes pins at the top, and some long wire staples at the bottom, and you're in business. Because the netting is practically invisible, and they can't see the top of it, they never think to try to fly over it. They spend a couple of weeks smacking into it, and then occasionally pace the fence line, while clucking at all of the sweet veggies that are out of reach, then they move on to stuff they can still reach.

    Does your coop have a wood floor? DL works best in soil floors, but can be done with a wood floor. You just have to protect the wood from contact with the same organisms that decompose the litter, as they don't really care what they eat! I have well painted walls, and sheet vinyl in mine. In order for a DL to work in a coop situation, you need a mixture of materials. It's not very functional with just wood shavings and poo. If you want the big story from the DL queen, contact Bee Kissed. I'm still working on getting a good base in my coop.
     

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