Friday, April 3, 2009
Our babies have arrived! When first discussing on how many chickens to get we settled on 5 or 6 of them. When we realized they might lay eggs for up to 5 years, we decided (well me…lol) that we wanted to start with 3 babies and 3 grown hens for our eggs. We could get the best of both worlds by having hens that lay immediately and having the experience of raising them from babies. So I’m now a new mommy, and Gabrielle is a first time mommy! I have 3 babies that are named Hazel, Quinnie and Matilda. 2 of them are Isa Browns (known for being a great “layer”) and one is a Bluff (known as a good “starter“ chicken). We built a very inexpensive brooder, a temporary house used to raise the chicks till they are ready to go outside, out of the following materials; A clear plastic tote with lid (free). Pat cut the top out to leave space to put the wire mesh in it for airflow (mesh $6) and affixed it to the lid with duck tape. He tried using a staple gun but that didn’t work so well, so good ol’ duck tape to the rescue. We will use the excess mesh for our chicken coop. A old desk lamp with 75 watt bulb in it (free) to warm the chicks. A special watering device that uses mason jars (free), mother-in-law Sally had one of those from a while back and was happy to see it put to good use. A lid off a chocolate milk drink mix container for the feed “trough” (free) and a 3 pound bag of medicated feed $3. Once they are grown we can let them free range off the land and give them scraps form our garden which will cost us nothing. The chicks themselves were $1.99 each. So our total came to $15. They say hens will lay 1 egg every other day, so we hope to have a couple dozen eggs a week. For 3-5 years of laying by 6 hens, we stand to net a big savings! I estimate $600 - $700 or so worth of eggs in 5 years we will no longer be buying from the store. And not to mention we know exactly where they came from!