So this is about our 6th month or so of raising chicks. My daughter’s horse riding teacher gave us 5 baby chicks only a few days old. We were hoping to raise some strong egg layers, and instead…we got 4 roosters and only one hen! So, after our last night of not being able to stand 4 crazy roosters in one coop crowing at 4 something in the morning all together by our bedroom window…we decided they had to become chicken stew and chicken tacos…Pretty tasty but because their muscles were pretty strong at this point, they had to be cooked from morning till dinner time in the crock pot on HIGH to be able to chew through them. Not to mention chopping the meat up very small.
All that to say we got 7 more chicks from a local lady who had hers sexed at the hatchery so we are pretty sure they will all be girls. It is such an important thing to make good local connections with people for so many reasons! As I said earlier, we need each other, we were designed to live in community. Being able to make quality products fresh and trade them locally for other quality-made products is optimal. Knowing where your food and house products come from is great!
I have included some photos of our 2 chicken coops built by my awesomely handy hubby, and the waterer and feeder he designed so that we do not have to do too much to take care of them. He cut a few big slits in 5 gallon buckets, and melted them slightly to bend them inward…simple… We just have to make sure the food is filled and as they eat, it naturally comes down on its own. Same with the water…
Another important step I have learned is to sprinkle Organic Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in their food/water/cages. There are great resources on this helpful mineral, such as:
We get ours here in a 50 lb bag because its locally distributed and sold near us. They also treat the animals excellently and produce the highest quality of organic D.E. that I have found! That bag will last us just about forever…it cost about $43 or so. We stir it into our water each morning as well, to drink. It will not hurt animals or humans because the elements are microscopic and only work on a microscopic level.
In short, D.E. is a fossilized mineral which attacks any microscopic pests in your or your animals’ system by dehydrating them, thus expelling from your system…please check out the website for more info!
We also put raw ACV into their water to keep their feathers healthy and robust, and sometimes Grapefruit Seed Extract to act as a natural antibiotic during the colder season. Here you can see my husband built a little cubbie to store the backup food and the “medications” to protect and treat the birds.
We choose to let our chicks run around the yard for a good chunk of the day so they can forage for lots of bugs and greens (right now we have to bring them greens from other parts of the yard). But it also gets them exercise and they can rub their feathers into the dirt and sand to clean off.
Arent they cute?! These little girls are just over 8 weeks old. By about 20-24 weeks they will be of age to lay eggs for us. If its too cold, they may not actually lay anything until Spring, so we will wait to find out…
I calculated for eggs for our family of 4 from cage free hens, at the grocery store it costs us about $36/month (we eat a lot of eggs as they are high in protein, and have almost every vitamin and mineral needed by the human body, they are also the cheapest form of protein)
It costs about $9 per month to feed 8 chickens once they begin laying. On top of that we will know exactly what they have been eating and that they are as strong and robust as possible because we will be the ones caring for them. We can estimate getting 8 eggs per day, which is roughly 240 eggs a month (right now we eat about 144 per month). This is exciting! You can feed the extra eggs to your dog as a supplement to their other food, and give them to neighbors or friend or family. No doubt we will be using extra eggs for quiches and omelets and baked goods as well. Nutritious!