Making Plans for Chickens!

Ballerina Girl's Chicken named "My Black One"The other day, my dad had sent me a link to a site that shows the prices of commodities.  It was kind of scary because it was a visual reference to the fact that food prices are at an all-time high.

Given our economic troubles and that the higher-ups seem to think we can borrow our way out of debt, I am not thinking we’re going to see any kind of stellar recovery anytime soon.

Our food budget is about $100 per week and that is just too high.  I remember I could feed my hubby and I on less than half of that when we got married, which was less than a decade ago.  It’s not like my 4 yr old and 2 yr old eat much, either.

So I was talking to the landlord and mentioned it and he was pretty gung-ho about me getting chickens, and mentioned he was thinking about them himself.  It is unbelievable how much better our new landlord is here than the old one!

So, I’m gonna do it!  Probably just about 5 of them to start.  I’d like to get some that lay the colored eggs, we had gotten some but they are up at my parents place.  We’ll leave them there and just start a new flock here, I think, just to keep things easy.

I know many people say that you don’t really save much money because of costs of chicken feed but I plan to let them forage in the yard.  We have 17 fruit trees here in a fenced half or 3/4 acre or so, cane fruits and one big ole tree that supposedly is a walnut.  We also produce lots of table scraps and I raise worms in a bin.  I think that I can feed them pretty decently with just using commercial feed as a supplement.

Something I’ve been working on for quite some time is a spreadsheet that calculates how to make your own chicken feed.  My intention for the spreadsheet is to have all the values for each type of food (wheat, corn, amaranth, greens, etc) so that a person could potentially use the tool to formulate their own chicken feed from items they can produce themselves.  It’s definitely a work in progress but this might be a good time to finish it.

Because of the lack of sunlight in my yard, I don’t have hope of producing a whole lot of extra for the chickens.  I am pretty sure I will be at my limit trying to produce as much as I can for us.  However, buying bags of cleaned grain and whatnot is a whole lot cheaper than buying feed.  So if I can formulate my own chicken feed with oats, corn, worms, etc, I’ll be getting the end product (eggs) significantly cheaper.  Especially since I can produce the main protein source (worms) myself.

So stay tuned for more on this – I won’t be really getting started for a while because the old coop needs renovating.  I may just decide to leave the old coop abandoned because it has so much trash in it (and a creepy skeleton of some unnamed creature in the back that was obviously placed there with its limbs arranged carefully).  I could probably build a portable shelter pretty easily with the scrap that’s around here and some hardware cloth.

Plus money is tight right now!  Been getting some things paid off the last couple months and so we’ve been putting every extra penny towards that.  Can’t wait for tax refund… lol

Here’s some pictures of the old coop:

From the outside.  You can see some of the junk inside.  It looks open but is in fact enclosed by old rusting chicken wire.
Old Chicken Coop

Picture taken from the inside, you can see some more of the junk.  The door leads to a small back room about 5×5 that is full of scrap lumber.
Door to the back enclosed area

Looking outside from in the coop.  There’s no door in the doorway, so I’d have to add something.  To the right you can see the cane fruits (not sure which kind yet) and to the left is the main orchard with 10 of our 17 fruit trees, mostly apple and cherry.
Looking out at the yard from inside the old coop

And last but not least… El-Creepo Skeletor!  Not sure what this is, people tell me it’s a fruit bat maybe but the thing is close to 2 feet long!  It is in the back room with all the lumber and didn’t die there, you can tell because it is laying on it’s back with it’s limbs splayed out to the sides.  Plus, we live in the Pacific Northwest, fruit bats live in warm tropical type places.  I think it’s a wild animal, it doesn’t look like a cat or dog.  This alone is reason enough for me to not want to do anything with the old coop… lol

And I will end this post with a cute quote from my 4-year-old.

Mom, I’m hungry.
My face wants something to eat!
My teeths needs to feel some foods on it.

– Ballerina Girl

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  1. I hope you can get your chickens soon. I think I will go make me an omelet. Yum. Cool Photos. Good think chicken coops are easy to make. They are also a great family project.

  2. Saw the post regarding the chicken shelters. We offer fabric covered hoop buildings which have metal frames covered by polyethylene which is tensioned to the frame using ratchets and straps. These can fully enclosed on both ends for a complete enclosure. These are popular for any type of storage. Website URL is below. Take a peak.
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