So today, as I sat outside eating my chicken sandwich while watching my own chickens (disturbing, I know) I thought I would do a follow-up post, hoping to answer some of your probing chicken questions. I figured who wouldn't be thrilled to start their Monday off with a post about chicken shit.
No really... that's one of the questions... chicken shit...
And yes. You're right. Having eight chickens definitely is a little messy. Initially, we kept the girls in their run (fenced in area), so the poop really wasn't an issue. But now we open their run during the day so they can have free-range over the entire backyard... so, to be blunt, there is basically crap everywhere. But I will say this, chicken poop dries up very quickly, so while there is a lot of poop... it's not necessarily "messy" if that makes sense. Also, as soon as the yard is mowed, it will be good as new... poop free, but extremely fertilized:)
Yes. They eat pretty much anything growing in the ground. They eat grass, but love our patches of clover and dandelions. And as I found out yesterday, they will also eat Cheddar Sun Chips.
For sure. We definitely plan to sell some of the eggs... especially if we have as many as we think we will. I mean, a girl can only eat so many omelets. We will be sharing eggs (free) with several of our neighbors, and we also plan to do some trading as well. I'm hoping we can find someone to trade a dozen eggs for homemade bread.
This is a great question. Surprisingly, chickens are pretty cheap. We paid just $12.50/each for ours. It's the coop that can end up getting expensive. If you decide to purchase a pre-made coop, it will likely cost anywhere from $300-$500... and that was a little (okay, a lot) out of our price range. So, Lance, being the handy man that he is, set out to purchase all of the materials and build our own coop... all for just over $60. Then he probably spent another $15 on the run (cage) portion. If you can build your own, or know someone that can help you, that is definitely the most affordable route to go.
I'm going to say yes here. Although technically we haven't experienced any of the "free" eggs yet (the girls will start producing in about 7-8 more weeks). But here's the thing.... for us, this endeavor is more than just the free eggs. Sure, that's part of it... and I'll be sure to let you know if free-range eggs that come out of your backyard are really that much better than the eggs you buy at the grocery store. But a bigger part of this for us is building relationships within our community. We are having conversations (about eggs) with neighbors that we have never spoken to since we've lived here. We are talking to local farmers and restaurant owners about trading goods. We have neighborhood kids stop by the house to see and feed "the chickens." And that is awesome.
Some backyards and neighborhoods are totally not chicken-friendly... but you would be surprised. We are also renters, but we have an awesome landlord that has pretty much given us free reign to do as we please in the backyard. We don't have any restrictions on backyard chickens in our neighborhood (no roosters though)... but we did make sure to check with both of our next-door neighbors before bringing any feathered friends home. Both of our neighbors have been extremely supportive and excited about the chickens. One of our adjoining neighbors has a large black lab, who on occasion likes to bark at the chickens, but other than that, she's been harmless. Our backyard is obviously well-fenced in, which helps.
If any of you decide to take the plunge and become "city chicks" yourself, I would love to hear about it... In the meantime, I'll be sure to keep you posted with our own stories of chicken adventures:)