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Date:12/27/2014 5:41:25 PM
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Everyone should have Chickens
This morning while I am sitting at the breakfast table eating my breakfast before my walk into work, watching my six hens eating their breakfast, I ponder the question “why don’t more people raise chickens?” My wife, son and I have had chickens for three years now, and would never go back. Sometimes when I tell people I have chickens they say, “you have chickens, … where?” I know they are thinking National Geographic pictures of third world areas with chickens running wild. Not so for our household. I have a chicken coup with enclosed run in my back yard. I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s and contend with raccoons, foxes, skunks, mountain lions, etc. They need protection, that and I don’t want them in my garden during growing season.

So why is it that you don’t have chickens? Answer this question before moving on. If you answered: because I live in an apartment/condo, well then… If you said it is because it is too expensive, let me tell you how I started.

The first thing I had to do was convince my wife that we needed chickens. I had the year previous convinced her to let me dig up all but the front yard grass and plant a garden. It took some time but then I took her to look at baby chicks and I was good. My wife did some research and decided what breads we needed. We ordered 2 Rhode Island Reds and 2 Americanas, brown and blue eggs. So our initial investment was a large cardboard box that I found free. We got a no-drown waterer and a chick feeder (check out www.beaktime.com) for $20. I got a brooder lamp and bulb for another $15, a bag of pine shavings and chick starter food for $20 and four straight run chicks for $2.99 each. Not an expensive start. If I did it over I would spend more for the better equipment found on beaktime.com.

While the chicks were growing, they were only 2 days old when I picked them up I built a chicken coup and run. The whole thing is 4 feet wide, 10 feet long and 6 feet tall. I got all the supplies at Lowes for $138. I told my wife I could do it for $125, oops. My wife wants a new one and I will use some different materials this time. I will explain coups at another time.

Ongoing expenses are not much. I do let the chickens roam the back yard in the evenings and on weekends when I am around. They eat the grass, scratch for bugs and roll in the dirt. It is hilarious to watch them. We also give them all the vegetable scraps that used to go into my compost. I supplement their free ranging with layer pellets and oyster shells. This cost less than $13 a month. On average I get 4 eggs a day, or about 30 eggs a week. Where I live it is about $3.50 a dozen in the store. So right there I have more than $7 a week in eggs. They more than pay for themselves. My house hold does not eat 4 eggs a day. My parents get eggs, free of course. I give eggs to my friends and neighbors, all of which usually donate to the fund. I use this money to buy layer pellets.

The benefits of raising chickens, if you garden t
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