This is catchy!

chicks-4My sister used to raise her own animals to feed her family. A few years back she decided it was to much work and not any fun. She has sat back all winter and listened to me talk about the chickens and the pigs we want this summer. She would smile and tell me, ewww I have had enough of that, it’s too much work for me, they are messy, they tie you down you can’t go anywhere with animals around….

….and on it went every time the subject was brought up….I would smile and tell her she would have them again it was only a matter of time.

…my niece decided she wanted chickens again at her new home and we ordered hatching eggs together, incubated them and 4 hatched. She took hers home and just this week bought 2 ducklings to add to her home (farm?)…and my sister wrinkled her nose….

….Well, well, well…guess what….she called me last night and asked if I had any chick starter she could use until this weekend. She has 14 chicks in her barn now. 🙂 I’m smiling all over! 🙂 I said I thought you didn’t want any, and listed all her reasons why that I have heard for months now. She said Welllll…have you seen the price of chicken in the store lately? I chuckled and told her enough said…I told her welcome back home farmer Lu!

The need to provide our family with safe and reasonably priced food has won her over, I knew she would come to her senses, that the basics of simple living taught to us our entire life growing up would reemerge like a spring flower.

The new interest in self sufficiency from the general public isn’t really all that surprising to me. Many grew up in a time when there weren’t super stores on every corner and they had to rely on themselves if they were going to have anything. I see it as a bad marketing campaign and sales pitch that has lived it’s time. The people are going back to what they know. Also because these greedy companies have priced themselves right out of business, and lost the trust with selling unsafe food……

Can I convince you to buy some tomatoes, lettuce, peanut butter, almonds, Tylenol, alfala sprouts? How about some of this nice meat here in the cooler, it’s only injected with who knows what and only 14% salt water and preservatives, and it’s only $7 a pound. How about some of this nice pre-packaged food made from genetically modified ingredients, oh’ come on, our FDA says it’s ok…..I know, how about some of this nice fresh bread that has more preservatives listed in the ingredients than the actual ingredients needed to make the bread….

Oh it’s fast easy and convient to swing that cooler door open grab a carton of eggs and be on your way, but at what cost? Is it worth gambling with the quality, paying the price, and hoping that when you get there the store actually has them?  Those that know are finally willing to say NO! Those that don’t know have heard the stories told, are finally willing to learn the old ways and are happy and eager to do it.

Yes, this life style is indeed catchy but it’s better than catching some new ailment due to the food offered to us and the price paid for it…

My dear sister Lu welcome home, back to the farm….

 

I don’t mean to imply that properly caring for and raising food animals is an easy or inexpensive job. It’s not. These animals need proper shelter, quality food and water, routine vet care, daily cleaning of their environment. To do this requires lots of equipment and a fair amount of space for them to live.

Before deciding to raise an animal do your homework:

  • What is the cost of purchasing the animal?
  • What do they require for room, both outside and while in the barn?
  • What are you going to use for shelter, is it big enough, safe, and healthy for them?
  • What do they require for feed?
  • What is the cost of that feed?
  • Where are you going to properly store that feed?
  • How are you going to get that feed to your home?
  • Do you have room to store that feed?
  • What do they require for care-daily/monthly/yearly?
  • Who is available to provide that care?
  • If an emergency happens who is going to care for the animal?
  • Do you have an emergency evacuation plan for the animal if needed?
  • Do you know basic first-aid care for the animal?
  • Do you have the basic supplies and a first-aid kit for the animal?
  • Do you have a vet who is willing to come to your home any hour of the day and night even on weekends?
  • Who will care for the animal if you want to go on vacation?
  • What would the cost of this be?
  • What special equipment is going to be needed?
  • Who is going to butcher the animal when it’s time?
  • What is the cost of butchering, wrapping?
  • Do you have storage space for the food after all that hard work?
  • How long will it last your family and will it be eaten before it goes bad?
  • How are you going to handle their manure?
  • What are your town’s ordinances for having this animal?
  • What will your neighbors think of this? (keeping happy neighbors will safe trouble later)

 

There are many more question I would ask everyone I know about the animal but these are just the ones off the top of my head.

Have these questions answered first then purchase the animal, NOT the other way around. You are going to be responsible for the health, safety, and well being of this animal. It’s a full time job and there are no days off unless you pay someone to do it for you. It’s not a thankless job, that animal will become part of your family and daily life and will you be prepared to actually put it into your freezer?

After all that hard work you will provide safe and healthy food for you family. It will taste so much better for many reasons, but the one I think is most important is that you did it yourself and know exactly what that animal has been fed and is now feeding you.

 

 

Here is a funny/not so funny but realistic breakdown on the cost of my 2 little chickens. Some of the cost will spread out over time such as the fencing, housing, incubator, but some won’t.

  • 12 hatching eggs $18.00 (2 hatched=$9. each)
  • Shipping for those eggs $15. ($7.50 each)
  • Incubator to hatch eggs $ 56. (I am guessing this will last 6 years=$9.30/year)
  • Electricity to run the incubator 21 days $2.15
  • Brood pen (this I am using a dog crate I bought years ago)
  • Heat lamp and bulb $10.60 (lamp will already need to be replaced the on/off switch is not working well. but should last the year=$4.)
  • Electricity to run heat lamp ??don’t know yet it’s still on
  • Chicken wire and posts to make temporary pen untill the coop is built $16. (I will be able to reuse these in the new coop and should last 5 years=$3.20)
  • Chick starter $13./50# bag I will have lots left and it might spoil before the rest of the chicks arrive here

 

So my 2 chicks I don’t think are Black Java and not the birds I want so far 2 weeks into having them, cost me $48.65 that’s a $24.32 chicken and they aren’t any where near ready to put into the freezer.

I also haven’t accounted for the feed they will eat during their life, the veggies I will grow for them, and the worms I intend to raise and feed them. It also doesn’t account for building the new coop and run they will live in, the cost of butchering and wrapping them then storing them in the freezer.

I was going to use a breeding birds but their faite now is eggs for the next few years then into the stew pot. Did I tell you their names are Stewie and Dumpling- as in chicken?

Obviously the cost per bird goes down with the more you have, and nothing is going to compaire to the quality of the eggs they will produce.

This is just an example how well laid plans can go wrong. I had not really counted on many of the eggs hatching as I know shipped eggs have poor hatching rate. I was counting on the actually being what I wanted and increasing my stock from there…

I did contact Superior Farms several times by e-mail and try to get the chicks replaced with the order of live chicks that are supposed to be coming. As of this morning they have not answered my e-mails or even acknowledge they received them. What I want them to do is send 14 chicks, BLACK JAVA chicks…They were supposed to send out the order of chicks a month ago. No sign of the chicks so far. I might just be out chicks all together this year. If they don’t end up filling my order, it will be to late to purchase another breed this year. The chicks are at the feed store now and most likely will be gone in another week or so.

I’ll let you know how this turns out.

Black Java?

Black Java?

Bridget left a lovely message about the chicks a couple of days ago.Telling me she thinks she has Black Java chicks but wanted Ancona, and that my chicks look like Ancona. I agree with her especially since the newer feathers are coming in black and white. These could also be Mottled Java. Here is a picture of her chick she thinks is Black Java….Any one know?

Anyone interested here are pictures of my chicks and pictures of Black Jave found on the net.

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Posted on April 30, 2009, in Chickens, Food Storage, Planning, The Barn and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great post! I just picked out 5 starter hens last week. They are at a friends hanging in the tub with a heat lamp until we move and the weather gets warm enough for them.
    These will be our first chickens and right now they are just for eggs, but I’m hoping I will get to the point of being able to raise my own meat.
    Step by step!
    I think your chick is a Black Jave, but I’m not 100% certain. I believe my friend got a few of those last week as well. ?

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