Saturday, March 19, 2011

reflections on single-family chicken farming

We got chickens this week, as I mentioned in my last post! We got two of them that are a year old from my brother- and sister-in-law, as well as a coop that Joel fixed up. Then another friend gave us two more. Today we got two baby chicks!

So far I like having chickens. I'm not sure it's more cost-effective than buying eggs, but...probably better for the Earth because the eggs don't have to be transported, and the chickens are probably happier when they're not in a huge warehouse-chicken-coop.

For those of you thinking of getting chickens, here are the things we had to buy and/or assemble:

--Fence & posts
--Chick food
--Chicken food
--Water holder
--Food holder
--Bale of straw
--Wood shavings (for chicks)
--Chicken scratch (so the egg shells are strong)

Most of these things should last for years, so although it's a bit of an up-front cost, it's not really all that bad. But of course you have to continue to buy food for them, as well as straw for their nests.

And they poop a lot. I cleaned out their coop from 4 chickens for only about 5-6 days worth (and part of the time there were only 2), and there was quite a bit already. It's not that bad if you keep on top of it, but I can see it being a really gross job if you wait too long.

The eggs are soooo good, though! The yolks are a deep orangish-yellow, and they're much more flavorful. It's fun to go out and collect eggs and eat them for breakfast!

We have had a little trouble with one chicken escaping, so we're going to have to clip her wings. That will be another adventure!

I'll keep you posted on whether we still like them after we've had them for a while.

For more pics of the baby chicks, see this post.

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