Thursday, December 24, 2009

What's Another Chicken or Ten?

I haven't sat down and figured out what it costs to raise a chicken yet.  It's probably...well, chicken feed.

We've been planning on getting some poofy-headed Polish chickens once we move.  Why the silly Polish ones, with their Rastafarian feather-do's? Well, just because they're silly and cute.  And because we want to have fresh, free-range chicken eggs. 

I'll probably go on at some point about how free-range eggs are better for you and all, but for now:

The point is, the chicks cost about $1.34 or something when they're little.  After feeding them for a few months they'll start laying eggs.  We started thinking we'd begin with maybe six hens and a rooster.  Once they're grown to egg-laying age, that's about 6 eggs per day, and divide that by the 4 folks in our family, we'd have 1+ egg each/day. 

Then we realized that eggs are a great protein source for our dogs too.  Figure we're going to start with two rescue dogs, and probably have more like a dozen by the time we've "normalized".  Okay, so maybe we should think about starting with a dozen hens and one rooster.

Now, one of the themes you'll probably find as our blog grows is, "what can we do to make the world a better place?"  As an example, on our third date Quantum told me that his favorite TV show was on, and he hoped I didn't mind if we watched that.  I'd never seen Extreme Makeovers Home Edition before.  (I didn't have much access to TV in those days.)  I spent the next hour crying in awe and joy. 

So the other day, I was thinking, "what one small thing can I do to help feed people who need it?"  And I thought, "get more chickens." 

Six chickens, a dozen-and-a-half chickens?  How much more could it really take to feed and house them? And I can find a local church or food pantry to bring the excess eggs to.  Even better, I was having a hard time dealing with the idea of slaughtering extra roosters.  (If I raise something, I can't kill it.)  But if I donated those roosters to the food pantry and found someone else to do the nasty duties...I could perhaps deal.

Just six or a dozen extra chickens would eat hardly any extra feed, since they'd be living mostly on bugs an wild plants anyhow.  But they might feed another family.

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