My Blog List

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chicken Feed

I'm off for a road trip to another state in search for property that does not contain a California zip code.  My wife and I have narrowed the areas in this state where we'll consider moving, and now we're fine-tuning the search to the district and neighborhood level.

Exciting times!

One of the considerations is the ability of the property to support us with food.  Water and land for vegetables, fruit trees and berries, and enough space to have a few meat animals.  Chickens and rabbits will most likely be on the menu!

Having never raised either of these, I'm obviously curious to understand the cost of raising these animals specifically to be slaughtered (plus eggs from the hens).

This article ("Cost of raising chickens in 2014") offers a glimpse into the ongoing costs of raising chickens and other fowl.  Quite interesting stuff.

I've read a number of books on raising chickens and rabbits, but this is the first, "real time" cost estimates I've seen.

For those of you with chickens, do these numbers seem reasonable?

For me, cost is only part of the reason we'll be raising meat animals.  The primary reason will be for self-sufficiency.  Chickens will cost $100 a pound if the local Safeway has its supply chain interrupted!

On a related note, my wild pig hunt has been rescheduled.  We're heading into the wilds in northern Sonoma county in late January.  Wild pigs in California have no bag limit, and no season.  Take 'em when you want, and as many as you want.  Most land owners consider them to be vermin.

The young man that's obtained access to this land has indicated we're welcome to hunt there as often as we'd like.  We'll see how this first hunt turns out, but if all is good, the pork aisle at the local supermarket may never see me again!

Accept The Challenge

If, for whatever reason, your local supermarket is unable to obtain food to sell, what would you do?  How would you provide for yourself and your family if we had a disruption of 3 months?  6 months?  Two years?

Could you provide for yourself, or would you become a ward of the state?  A FEMA camp "guest"?

No problem.  It looks like they have plenty of space left.

Skills and the proper resources will keep you alive and free.

Copyright 2014 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Quail said...

Doesn't seem to allow for feed waste. Chickens are messy eaters.
We hatched our own eggs this year- 2 out of 12 hatched and one was male. Bought chicks- 3 out of 4 were male. Now that one is finally laying 6 months later, hubby is teasing me about the cost per egg.
I like my Coturnix quail better since feed to meat and egg conversion is better, plus they sound wild instead of edible like the chickens. Couple of drawbacks to quail: can't free range since they migrate and they don't set on their eggs reliably necessitating an incubator. Maybe I can convince one of the chickens to be useful and sit on quail eggs...

I like your blog. Keep posting!

3for3 said...

If your property is large enough and the chickens can be restricted to protected areas, they will feed themselves to a large extent. The area where they will scratch should be changed every week. You will have to supplement their diet to increase their yield.

Anonymous said...

I've had very good luck with Welsummer chickens (the Welsummer rooster is the Kellogs corn flakes logo). They are medium sized, lay 3-4 terra cotta colored eggs per week, summer and winter, and are very hardy and great foragers. I had about a dozen that free ranged all day every day and never lost one chicken. I also had Austrolorp and Buff Orphingtons and while they were better layeres, they weren't very hardy and I lost several, and the ones that survived were always in worse shape than the Welsummers. The Welsummer roosters were really tough and even chased away a fox from the flock. I had a single Black Cochin brood chicken and we'd collect the Welsummer eggs and she would sit on them and hatch them, and was a great mother. With 1 rooster to about 6 hens ratio, the Cochin would have about 60-70% of the eggs hatch and she'd raise them to young adulthood.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Wellsummers.
I never fed them any feed unless there was snow on the ground. I'd make my own scratch mixed with Diatomacious Earth and call them back to the hen house each evening with about 2 cups of that scratch mix. The DE helps keep them free of internal pests.

- Just another Jack

Chief Instructor said...

Quail - best line ever: " they sound wild instead of edible like the chickens."

I was out scouting property and nearly ran over a wild quail. I don't understand why they cross a road instead of flying over.

Thanks for the conversion information. I'll have to take a look at them as an option.

3for3 - I've got a friend who has built a "chicken tractor" that has wheels so you move the whole thing around letting them eat and scratch in different areas of your property.

Anon - Interesting. I've got so much to learn about breeds, and their strengths and weaknesses. Great info - thanks.

Anon Jack - the DE doesn't mess with their ability to absorb the nutrients of their food? I've got some gray cells firing that there is some sort of pest control where you leave out food that is covered with DE, and they basically starve to death. Pigeons maybe? It was some white typically non-toxic powder.

Anonymous said...

RE: Diotamacious Earth. It's actually some millions year old microscopic water diatoms that have been buried in many places around the world and have many applications. However pure DE is edible and a source of many trace minerals and is often used for dietary additives for people and animals. It is also used for insect control, because the diatoms are so dry, small and sharp that it dries out insects and the sharp edges cause them to suffer death from multiple invisible cuts. It's great for flea control in your house. Anyway, I'd buy it by the 50 pound bag and give it to my chickens, sheep, and my cow, and I'd use it to control fleas in the carpet and dump it on anthills and anywhere insects traveled. Just make sure you buy food grade DE. They also use DE for water filters, but they put other additives in that DE. - JA Jack

Chief Instructor said...

Jack - ahh. Much thanks.