The Chicken Budget

Image

When I decided to raise backyard chickens for eggs, I knew that I needed to establish a start-up budget.  Like any project, without a budget expenses can spiral out of control.  My family is deeply in debt and I did not want this project to add to that.

One of the reasons I wanted chickens was because I’ve been paying $3 for a dozen eggs at local roadside stands.  With six mouths to feed, we go through at least a dozen eggs per week, sometimes two dozen.  I’m always looking for ways to trim our food budget, so raising chickens for eggs seemed like a great way to reduce our food budget.

Other bonuses, they make great pets (hopefully, keeping my kids wishes of a dog at bay for a little longer) and I can sell any extra eggs to further help our household budget.  A win-win-win situation!

Back to The Chicken Budget

I set aside $650 from our tax refund.

So far I’ve spent the following (the amounts below include all taxes and shipping costs):

$45.23 for this brooder

$7.50 for 4 oz of quick chick

$16.50 for this book

$7.50 for chick starter from my local feed store

$2.25 for 1 lb of chick grit

$15.00 for pine shavings from my local feed store

$1.25 for a rope to hang the heat lamp

$40.00 for four baby chicks from a local breeder

$7.41 for hardware cloth to cover brooder

$299.97 for a coop

Total spent so far:  $442.61

Budget remaining:  $207.39

What do I need the remaining money for?  Well as I mentioned here I need to make some improvements to the coop I purchased.  I want to add some additional locks to keep predators out and I need hardware cloth under to coop to keep predators from digging their way in.

I also want to build a larger coop so that I can expand the flock next year.  As I’m researching coop building, I’m quickly learning that the amount of hardware cloth I will need is going to eat up most (if not all) of my remaining budget.  I’m looking for creative ways to save money on it.

In hindsight, should I have done anything different?  YES!  I should have trusted other bloggers that said I could make a brooder out of a cardboard box.  If I had listened to them I wouldn’t have purchased the brooder kit, and would have saved about $20 by only purchasing the heat lamp, waterer and feeder.  (I could have saved even more if I used common household items to make my own waterer and feeder.)

What was your Chicken Budget?

Advertisements

We Got Baby Chicks!!!

On Saturday we picked up the four baby chicks that we had reserved.

My kids were so excited and so was I!

Aren’t they cute?

DSC_0840

This is the two week old Easter Egger.  She will lay tinted eggs.

DSC_0841

These are the four day old Wyandottes.  We think two of them will be Silver Laced and one will be Golden Laced.  They will lay brown eggs.

DSC_0844

We wanted eight chicks which is the maximum that my town allows, but the breeder that I bought these from only had these four left.

Also, a coop for eight chickens is much harder to come by if you are on a shoestring budget like I am.  I decided to buy a coop similar to this one which is large enough for four chickens.  It will need some minor modifications to be fully predator proof, but I saved about $100 by planning to do these by myself.

My plan is for the girls to live in this coop for the summer while I build a larger coop to house eight chickens.  I haven’t been able to find plans on line with the dimensions, design and building materials that I want, so I’m designing it myself.  Stay tuned for that project!

Why I’m Giving Up Eating Out For Lent

I thought long and hard about what to give up for Lent.  I have lots of options…Facebook, chocolate, Candy Crush Saga, coffee, etc.

I wanted something that would be a sacrifice for me, but would also benefit my family.  I decided to give up eating out for the following reasons.

1)  It’s healthier for my family to eat home cooked meals.  I control the ingredients and portion sizes.

2)  It’s a sacrifice for me because ordering out or running to McDonald’s has always been what I did when I was too tired to cook or too stressed to figure out what to make.  Now for forty days, I don’t have that option.

3)  It’s healthier for our budget.  Eating out is expensive!  Our family of six can easily spend $30 on fast food.  I can buy lots of whole foods for $30 and even splurge on items, like shrimp, that I don’t buy on a regular basis.

4)  It’s forcing me to create and stick to a meal plan.  I’ve been trying to do this for over a year, but I always give it up after a few days because I have a stressful or exhausting day and I default to take out food.

What did you give up for Lent?