Does it not balance out?

jwehl

Songster
Nov 3, 2020
825
1,411
140
Atlanta GA
Well, in that case.. cock fighting would be suspect and I'd a said no thank you..

Unless I felt they were just trying to put me at ease and were indeed going to feed their family and I hadn't specifically stated NO eating.. Some folks even say "just don't tell" them.. they are okay with it but don't want to know about or contemplate it.. Which seems to be the route you think was taking place. And honestly.. all birds here are raised and treated like pet chickens.. enjoying every day and having one bad moment that's over before they realize or can think about what just happened to them. I prefer honesty and any shadiness is a flat deal breaker for me.. but I would also communicate that and realize that we, including whoever took your boys are almost always doing our best to survive. :thumbsup

Although many back yard keepers worry about our fluffy boys being used as bait cocks.. it's really not that likely.. game fowler's are often hard core about what they do and our boys are not worthwhile. Not saying it doesn't happen.. know you're area, be informed, and make YOUR best call according to your expectations.
I'm am confident they were for food. It was a large Indian family: an older woman, 2 grown men who I suspect were her sons, their wives and a ton of kids. Two mini vans full. The older woman looked like she was weighing the birds by feel.

I suspect they had a bad experience with someone saying it was okay to eat them to get them to admit that was their plan and then saying 'no deal' once they told the truth.

My birds have some game in them so I doubt theyd be bait but they arent pure so they're not useful as fighters either. I would definitely not sell to anyone I suspected of cockfighting. Killing the birds, totally fine. Good life and swift end. Abuse, not a chance!
 

EggSighted4Life

Crossing the Road
Apr 9, 2016
13,734
18,325
782
California's Redwood Coast
I suspect they had a bad experience with someone saying it was okay to eat them to get them to admit that was their plan and then saying 'no deal' once they told the truth.
Ah.. well, there's always family dynamics.. the place I mentioned taking the cockerels from and not asking about meds.. the lady that told me to come get them when I told her the only home I could offer was in the freezer.. when I arrived her 40 year old adult son living (likely had some issues that were none of my business to judge) at home was huffing and puffing around the place.. He was attached to those 2 ragged ugly poor hatchery quality Silkie boys they had bought straight run and were currently balding the ladies in the pen.. I felt bad bad for him.. in fact I do again right now.. His expression that was anger on its' surface.. was really pain or discomfort, that in no way can I discount. So I acted as tactfully as possible. And I ONCE helped my friend "rehome" a Silkie rooster her that attacked her all the time and her husband insisted he find a good home.. so he did.. until that night... I treated him well while he was here in a kennel.. after dispatching him my feral barn cats made sure nothing was wasted.. But I'm thinking we've veered too far off topic..

So will just follow up by saying there are many factors that all come together when attempting to balance things out.. and YOUR lifestyle and choices are all KEY factors.. for me.. HELL YES IT BALANCES OUT in more ways than an egg or a dollar can explain.. :wee

I've made lots of mistakes, spent more money, effort, and time than needed.. and wouldn't really trade it for the world! But life changes every day.. count your cost and roll it with as YOU see fit.. and what will bring you closer to YOUR goals... 27 acres IIRC.. I'd be eating a cow, not an egg. It can balance out if you make your property work for you.. make adjustments to your current set up..

Some folks trade the $ they earn with another skill for a product like eggs and that's okay. How much are the eggs you WANT to buy and not the cheapest eggs you can buy.. Is it costing you more than that? Do you ever want more out of your property? on and on the questions go.. to get a clear picture.. I could buy a whole lot of eggs for 27 acres worth of land.. that wasn't producing.. however, it all depends where you're at in life and where ya wanna go.. @Wiccedbug22 Sorry if I missed it and you already got you're answer that you were looking at.. What's you're current thought on this basic discussion? Keeping, ditching, or replacing with a more appropriate breed.. also starting over with a different feed routine stuff? Any information standing out at you?
 

kklowell

Songster
Mar 2, 2018
243
428
126
Bridgton, Maine
Also, if they free range, are you sure some of their eggs aren't being laid in places you don't know about?
My birds have free access to food 24/7. I made a huge feeder that holds at least 4 50 pound bags of pellets and I seldom have to fill it up. Their waterer is a 5-gallon bucket with horizontal nipples, so that's not an everyday chore either. When I let them out they LOVE it! They chase each other and dig through the grass and leaves...and then go back to their coop when it gets dark.
We have 20 hens, 7 more that I hope are all pullets (but I have my doubts about 4 of them) and two roosters. We sell eggs at $2.50/dz which pays for their food.
For me, having chickens isn't just the eggs... I find them entertaining as can be.
 

paloozaparty

Chirping
Apr 28, 2020
141
143
73
I looked through the above answers to your question and didn't see (sorry if I missed it!) that anyone mentioned specifically the high protein that's needed to curb the appetite of hens (also, since we're now into winter). I have a small backyard in the city, and 6 hens. We do get frozen ground, frost and snow. Being a new owner, I was NOT thinking about how during these months that there's almost NO way to peck and find bugs to supplement not only their diet during colder months / days, but also to better entertain them.

I'd suggest that nutritional deficiencies is more the issue with your flock. I saw someone ask what you feed them and what breeds you have...

There is one hen of ours who for about a month has been jumping up and pecking my arm every time I open their feed can. And, in general, out of nowhere, my entire tiny flock acts like their starving to death. I've tried about everything imaginable to supplement their diet.

So, I can relate to your situation. I am EASILY spending $80 per month on just the 6 hens and that equates to about $15 per hen in ongoing costs and that equates to about 50 cents per egg. This does NOT include ALL of the chicken accessories, building supplies, etc. Just their monthly food-to-egg-production ratio. I've resolved that they're more like productive house pets--vs. dogs/cats--and, they're way more fascinating, educational (for our family) and I wouldn't trade them for the world. (we also have 4 fish, 2 cats, 1 cockatiel).

However, I agree that it's confusing how to curb their constantly ravenous state--they're going to eat me out of house and home like a pack of teenage boys!

I am going to go this weekend, ironically, to look at different feed blends--to see if I can find a MUCH higher protein blend would help. I also supplement with seeds that I've hydrated / water soaked for added nutritional variety (as snacks)--like chia seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, oats, I also feed them a couple handfuls per day of black sunflower seeds, cooked oats and other grains, scratch. Their favorite is scrambled eggs, chicken carcass and meats, mealworms, cheese, cottage cheese. So, I know that they're wanting more protein. I just don't know how I'm going to accommodate them yet.
 

TropicalBabies

Crowing
Jun 12, 2018
1,477
6,817
447
Hawaii
I think your chickens are asking you for the good stuff when sitting around or pecking you. Chickens are pretty limited in how they can communicate with us. I would not worry about it being a starvation or lack of anything if you feed them decent feed regular.
After I catch a lizard or lift a rock for bugs for my chickens, the next time they see me they will grab the leg of my pants or shirt saying "come on mom! Get me another one of those yummy things" Horses, dogs, cats are very similar with treats. It seems like bad behavior but it is just asking or talking chicken. IMHO
With that said, tossing them T-bone, chicken or turkey carcass is a pretty fantastic protein treat and very entertaining.
 

philsan1a

Songster
Mar 13, 2016
92
98
106
North east Georgia mountains
So I've been trying to do chickens for a few years now and it's been a losing process financially. The coop is basically in the woods, and constantly dealing with predators etc. But my real question is. Food. I gave a few auto feeders in a tree that sling food around, my hope was that by throwing food onto the ground they would dig around and get natural sustenance as well but it seems that they are just too stupid to feed themselves AT ALL. They are free roam totally. There is plenty of leaf litter with bugs in it everywhere. They wait for the feeder, etc. Whatever comes out of it, then stand around and wait for it again. It only goes off 1 time a day. I feel like at the cost of food for them to stay in a healthy laying stage I could just buy eggs from the store and avoid all the other problems that come along with them. Its become a "don't want to give up" situation because I feel like this should not be difficult. I thought OK I'll just set feeders to every other day, force them to look for food on off days. Well they just stand around and starve. Is the only way to get them to look for food on their own to not feed them in a cage as chicks? It's like they learn 1 way, 1 food or water source and then never deviate even at cost of starving to death.
The nicest people on earth are right here in this forum. My first reaction to your post was not as kind. I will leave it right there.
 

Lyndzie

Chirping
Jul 31, 2020
63
87
50
Indianapolis, IN USA
A thought: maybe it’s the breeds you have? About half of my chickens are really adventurous and always out of the yard, but the other half never leave.

And, as I’m sure someone else has pointed out, about 1/4 lb of feed per bird per day is typical. The cheapest bags I’ve seen are $10 for a 50 lb bag. If you have a bunch of leghorns, you’ll get a ton of eggs.

But they can’t lay if they are starving.
 

Vicker

Songster
Jun 28, 2014
131
220
133
Texas
My chickens have access to layer feed in the coop. They spend the day digging holes, chasing bugs, eating grass, etc. But they are hypervigilant for signs that I might throw them some scraps or scratch, as if they are starving. They have an innate drive for that easy meal. Nevermind the method you use to feed them, I'm still trying to wrap my head around chickens that don't busy themselves with foraging. Is this the same flock you started with, and with birds that you raised from chicks? Sometimes you need just one chicken to figure out how to do something and the others will learn by watching.
 

crystallight87

Hatching
Nov 14, 2020
1
2
5
So I've been trying to do chickens for a few years now and it's been a losing process financially. The coop is basically in the woods, and constantly dealing with predators etc. But my real question is. Food. I gave a few auto feeders in a tree that sling food around, my hope was that by throwing food onto the ground they would dig around and get natural sustenance as well but it seems that they are just too stupid to feed themselves AT ALL. They are free roam totally. There is plenty of leaf litter with bugs in it everywhere. They wait for the feeder, etc. Whatever comes out of it, then stand around and wait for it again. It only goes off 1 time a day. I feel like at the cost of food for them to stay in a healthy laying stage I could just buy eggs from the store and avoid all the other problems that come along with them. Its become a "don't want to give up" situation because I feel like this should not be difficult. I thought OK I'll just set feeders to every other day, force them to look for food on off days. Well they just stand around and starve. Is the only way to get them to look for food on their own to not feed them in a cage as chicks? It's like they learn 1 way, 1 food or water source and then never deviate even at cost of starving to death.
I’m very sorry you’re having this experience. I don’t know how many chickens you have, but at 17 we’re only spending less than $30 a month on feed. We buy organic eggs so it’s evened out. Aside from the initial building of the coop, it’s not been a huge hit financially. The chickens are also super friendly and laid back so great pets all in all. I would have feed available all day for them, in their coop and let them go forage for bugs and rocks etc. they won’t really go very far from home base, mostly to keep safe and have somewhere to run from predators. I hope you get the advice you’re looking for!
 

spaceylocust

Songster
Oct 19, 2013
53
36
110
southern Missouri
It sounds like your breeds aren't very good at free ranging. Attached is a chart I found and it helps me decide what breed to buy. Good at free range-check! Large eggs-check! Good meat and large size-check! Hope this helps you find some birds that can forage. I have Black Australorp and they are wonderful free-rangers. A rooster was gifted to me and he is, I think, a redcap. Lazy lazy lazy and he doesn't protect the girls worth a flip. When it rains, he runs for cover. The BAs are out foraging and just say, "rain? what rain?" Best of luck with your flock!!
 

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