Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Todd asks: I’ve been following your occasional articles about raising chickens and ducks for self-sustaining/renewable food. I have a small flock of chickens myself – six birds – and the cost to feed them is getting high. A 50 pound bag of pellets is around $20. They eat through that in about two weeks, which means I’m paying – roughly – $10/week for eggs, which is still cheaper than the $6/dozen store-bought “organic” eggs since I get easily 2-3 dozen a week. But I’m worried about the cost of the feed, per your article about the cost of everything going up.
My reply: Well, I am as well. The rising cost of everything is worrying. I pay less for the pellets I get because I am able to get them directly, at the local mill. This reduces the cost significantly, to just over $13/bag. Still, your point is taken.
So what do I do?
I am fortunate in that I have acreage to allow my girls to forage – for free – during the warm months and this greatly reduces my feed costs. But come the fall – and the winter – it becomes necessary again to provide them with food since the stuff that grows no longer does and the bugs are all gone for the duration.
Luckily – for us both – chickens are omnivores and will eat practically anything. So that’s what IU give them, including scraps from my table as well as scraps from the tables of people I know – who I give free eggs in exchange for the free food. My girls produce many more eggs than I can use, so this works well.
Having a year-round garden also helps, a lot.
I think the best course, if you are keeping the birds mainly for your own needs, is to keep only as many as you need to meet your needs, which is probably 3-4 birds – who ought to give you at least 2 dozen eggs per week, or almost 4 per day – which should be plenty for a single individual’s daily protein needs.
That number of birds can be fed on a 50 pound bag for a month. Buy four or five bags in advance – as a hedge – and you should be ok.
. . .
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The guys I listen to on the A.M. radio while I’m working have said that – if fertilizer & fuel prices remain this high – farming will Not be profitable next year.
I wonder about that from time to time & what it means. Or, may mean?
Those A.M. radio guys were featured in a ZeroHedge article today:
‘”I’m Shocked”: US Crop Tour Reveals Drought-Stricken Cornfields’
“The size of North America’s upcoming crop harvest will have a meaningful impact on global supplies next year.”…
There’s this, too:
‘Near-Total Crop Losses Ravaging US Agriculture – SC Farmers Sound the Alarm on Tragic Harvest Season’
… “Beginning with an unexpected Spring freeze, followed by a chillier than expected May and an accompanying drought, utterly massive crop failures of peaches, watermelons and blueberries have devastated local growers, trickling down the economy to the restaurants, breweries, distillers and markets that depend on their produce, according to the Post and Courier.” …
Growing fodder to feed your chickens might be a good option?
One of the things I’ve been looking at is how long does chicken feed last. The feed might be ok for them to eat, but after awhile, the vitamins in the feed may not be, ‘the best’ and available to the chicken. Ergo, yer chickens might be vitamin deficient at the worst possible time and problems could develop. Idk.
It’s a good thing chickens can eat your UN/WEF cricket rations, eh?
…Just thinking out loud.