Okay....I make money. My chickens pay their own way and they are also supporting my other birds that haven't begun paying for themselves. I am willing to tell all my reasons. How about you. Will you tell your reasons for coming out ahead.....or tell us why you not coming out ahead (so long as you realize your reasons might not be necessary and you might just be doing something to pamper some very loved pets)? I may as well do this, because there are other people that insist that you can't come out ahead and if that is true then I'm a liar, or they just believe you can't come out ahead because that is their experience and they can't see any other way to do things. Anyway this is what I do for my chickens, geese and guineas: 1. Start out with the best protection you can. This might cost you, but if you don't make a Fort Knox, you will be feeding the local wildlife, rather than eating fresh eggs and chicken meat. 2. Avoid getting more than what you think you need, unless you want to sell eggs. 3. If ordering baby chicks, know who you are and what you realistically will pull off. Don't order straight run to save on money, thinking you will kill the extra roos, unless you know you will carry out the deed, in a timely fashion and also that you will truely be able to serve it to your family. You might end up with full grown roos that are beating the &%#@ out of each other, unless you are really on top of things. 4. Give them the biggest run your yard can hold and cover it with deer netting. Its cheap and will keep the chicken hawks away. Bigger is better in this area. The more room, the happier and healthier the chicken; plus less yard to cut grass with. 5. Have a big food storage container for all your table scraps, except the eggs, to feed the chickens. Do not put any food in the garbage......Food in the garbage will attract cats and coons, which would be a further danger to your birds. 6. Pasture your chickens in different fenced in areas and plant rye in the fall/winter to cut down on the feed bills. 7. Find out where you can obtain your grains in bulk. You will never be able to make the profits with feed from a feed store that you could make if you were able to purchase from a more direct source. This means an occasional road trip and large bins for food storage. (I personally but 700LBs at a time). 8. When selling eggs or meat birds, don't let the supermarket decide the price. What you have is better. If someone doesn't like your price, let them go to the grocery. I also trade eggs for venison, wild duck, fish, shrimp (until the BP accident), firewood and certain goods I would ordinarily purchase. 9. Know that you can make a lot more money selling chicks than eggs and the older the chick gets, the more you ask for. If not all sold, your egg production will increase in 4 or 5 months, plus you will have extra chicken meat in 12 weeks. 10. A grass catch attachment for your lawnmower can provide your birds with extra bugs and grass, after they have wiped out their runs. It costs money, but consider it an investment in your farm projects. You might even want to section off your yard and not cut it all in one day. 11. My junk mail and old bills are shreaded and then used in the nesting boxes. 12. Pine and cypress needles on the floor of the roost to keep things clean......changed out every few months and put in the compost pile. Free fertilizer. 13. The chickens are put in the garden to clean up after each growing season. They do an awesome job. This means less work for me. Less work, means less ant bites, less gatorade, less sunburns, less gas in the weedeater and tiller=less money spent. 14. Know the difference between what you want and what you need. For example: you may think you need a scalder, plucker and all the awesome tools people use to butcher.....which would be nice, but your grandmother had nothing but an old hickory knife and managed just fine. Also, do you really need the absolute best feeders that cost so much or can you make one out of things you already have lying around. A 5 gallon bucket can serve you just fine for a water container or you can purchase one for about 80 dollars if you really want to. 15. Save the shells from your shell fish to give the chickens. You will have the best tasting eggs by the following day and the yolks will be almost red. Plus extra calcium. 16. Have a big Easter hatch every year to offset any new projects you intend to have. Lots of people will show up if you put up signs @ the ag stores, pet stores and in front of your home/street. You can come out ahead. YOU CAN COME OUT AHEAD. Or you can come out behind. I choose the first. Now what do ya'll do? Some of you might be on to an idea that I haven't caught onto yet. I will tell you flat out that you can have eggs and meat at a profit, plus better tasting, but if I can save on something else, I'm all ears.