My desire to be a homesteader almost rivals my desire to be a type A organizer; the kind of people that have a labeled tote for everything. I frequently buy magazines from Home Depot, Lowes, and Tractor Supply to feed my love of wanting to be self sufficient. Recently I decided that the ultimate start was to raise chickens. My family can eat two dozen eggs per week with ease and chicken is always a good meat to have in the freezer.
I have done extensive research, reading, and have talked to the avid farmer and the backyard chicken farmer alike. Everyone that raises chickens swears that it’s worth it. That they have more than paid for themselves. I believe this. They are very satisfied with their chickens but for all the pros I found I also uncovered problems that I am just not willing to cope with. Call me a wimp, call me citified but I can’t justify getting chickens. Bear with me and listen before you venture out to but the little cuties this Easter.
- The Cost. As of recent, my family has had to be very budget conscious. My grandfather swears that the cost of feed and the meat the chickens provide more than pay for raising the animals but I’ve thought about it. We don’t eat chicken that often we are more of a venison family. I am just as content to go to the local supermarkets when they have their meat sales buy in slight bulk and freeze it for later. Part of us being on a budget means we don’t have meat every meal.
- Support Local Farmers. This kind of goes along with cost but I have local farmer friends that sell eggs for $2 per dozen. Even if we go through 3 dozen eggs per week, I’m still only spending roughly $24 per month and I’m supporting my friends and a small business. I can live with that. If I looked into it I could probably find a local farm that sold meat chickens as well.
- My Dog. Last summer I ran to my front yard to see what my daughter was screaming about. I thought she had chopped an arm off! Good news; she still had all limbs, bad news; my dog had gotten a rabbit out of the brush and it’s head laid on one side of the yard and it’s body on the other. To date we have saved 8 baby birds, 1 mouse, and a kitten from Charlie. She is a full blooded Labrador and the joy of my children but pretty sure if we had chickens running around she would be labeled a murderer and put on the most wanted list. I know our neighbor has called a couple times asking if my dog attacks chickens…
- The Dog Isn’t the Only Thing Threatening A Chickens Life Span. My backyard spans about 2 acres and is surrounded by fields, brush, and a small patch of woods. We have seen foxes, coyotes, bear, and a bobcat. If a chicken gets out of the pen we will never see them again. Then I have to explain to my animal loving four year old what happened to her new chicken named Taco. She names everything Taco.
- RATS! I was beyond convinced that I could get past all of these obstacles when my husband, who grew up on a farm says, “You know you’ll have rats. It just happens,” he continues, “and they smell, and their dirty, and sometimes they’re mean…” But it was like in a movie when the other person isn’t listening and in a daze. No freaking way am I dealing with rats.
This is just my outlook on it of course, but I am just letting all of those wanna be chicken farmers know that it’s okay not to raise chickens. I am happy to support those that do take on the adventure but I think I will find a different one.