Raising Chickens For Fun – Profit And Food

Polish top hat

Polish top hat

Having a small flock of laying hens is a great way to save money, provide you and your family with all the ‘Fresh’ eggs you and your family can eat and provide your family with a steady supply of fresh healthy meat. As an added benefit your excess eggs can be sold helping off set your feeding cost.

Silky Bantam Hen

Silky Bantam Hen

How much do chickens [chicks] cost? Chicks can be purchased for as little as $1.50 each, slightly more when buying sexed birds. Ten to fifteen week old pullets and laying hens range from $3.00 to $10.00 each depending on the breed, age and availability in your local area.

How many hens do I need? On average you can except to get 1 egg per hen about every 27 hours. Each hen will lay 5 or 6 eggs a week. Two(2) hens will supply all the eggs an average size family can eat. In general each hen will lay from 250 to 300 eggs a year. A flock of 3 hens will produce 1 1/2 dozen eggs or more a week. So unless you plan on selling your excess fresh eggs think small flock of 2 or 3 hens. A rooster is not needed unless you plan to hatch some of your eggs. Be a good neighbor, don’t get a rooster that will wake the whole neighborhood when he starts crowing at 3 or 4 in the morning.

White Leghorn, egg laying machine

White Leghorn, egg laying machine

What breed is best for me? Chickens fall into 3 general classes. Bantams, layers and multi-purpose breeds. Generally speaking, Bantams are miniature copies of the standard breeds. They are small to very small in size, fair layers of ‘small’ eggs. Layers are light weight birds at laying age but produce the most eggs for the amount of feed you provide. Multi-purpose birds are the heaviest and also good egg layers making them a duel purpose bird. They provide a good supply of eggs and are good meat birds as well. McMurray Hatchery website contains a ton of useful information and pictures of many common and ornamental chicken, ducks, geese and turkey breeds that I am sure you will find useful.

Barred Rock multi-purpose breed

Barred Rock multi-purpose breed

What do I need to house my chickens? Number one consideration is safety. Almost everything likes to eat chicks, chickens and their eggs. Dogs, cats, rats, skunks, raccoons, opossums, hawks, owls and even snakes. With this said, you will need a chicken coop that is predator proof to lock your chickens in after they go to roost at night. DIY – Build Your New Chicken Coop

What do I feed my chickens? If your chickens are confined to a small coop it will be necessary to provide them with a balanced commercial chicken feed. This is the most expensive method of feeding you backyard flock. If you have a fenced yard they can be allowed to free range over your yard eating weeds, grass, seeds and insects of all kinds as well as ridding your yard of most insects. You will need to provide very little supplemental feed for a healthy happy flock.

Here is a little tid bit of information I didn’t know about free ranging chickens.

* A recent study conducted by Mother Earth News has found that eggs from pasture raised hens have higher values for a number of nutrients than USDA data for eggs from hens in confinement houses. Pastured eggs contain: 50% more vitamin E; 4 times the beta carotene; 35 times the omega-3 fatty acids; and half the cholesterol. And, they contain 10.5 mcg of folic acid (that is 10.5 mcg more than USDA’s data for eggs).

* A recent study funded by the USDA shows meat from chickens raised on pasture contained: 21% less total fat, 30% less saturated fat, 28% fewer calories, 50% more vitamin A, and 100% more omega-3 fatty acids.

* A study conducted by James Madison University found bacterial contamination to be lower in pastured poultry: 133 colony-forming units per milliliter (cfu/ml) in pastured poultry compared to 3600 cfu/ml in conventional poultry.

* A Virginia Tech study found pastured poultry to be 70% lower in fat, and of the fats present, poly-unsaturated were much higher than mono-saturated.

* A study by Pennsylvania State University found 3 times the omega-3s, twice the vitamin E, and 40% more vitamin A in the eggs of chickens on pasture compared to conventional confinement laying hens.

Your backyard flock will provide you with eggs, meat and a lot of enjoyment. Providing you do not get any roosters, chickens are very quite, easy to raise and handle and will provide you and your family with many hours of enjoyment. {A rooster is not need for hens to lay eggs.}

Start planning NOW for you small backyard flock. Purchase your chicks now or wait a while and buy pullets or laying hens this fall when other growers start reducing their flock size for winter months.

Not from the USA Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is common sense so uncommon?
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7 responses to “Raising Chickens For Fun – Profit And Food

  1. Great post, research excellent! :)


  2. Living in suburbia, I’m not sure what the neighbours would think if we got chickens! But would love some. Must live vicariously through your posts instead!


    • Re: howdoesmyvegetablegardengrow
      Many towns and even large cities allow keeping a small flock of laying hens, most will not allow the keeping of roosters because of their early morning crowing.
      Thanks for your comment and finding time to visit my Tiny Blog.


  3. Thank you for stopping by. This post was the perfect amount of information. I recently picked up a Dummies book for raising chickens, but I am a long ways away from that . Your blog will be a great source for my endeavors into Sustainable Landscaping as well. Cheers!


  4. COOL!!! This is cool information. Also, I’m suprised and shocked with some of the facts.


  5. Pingback: Keeping Chickens for Fun and Profit | Chicken Ark

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