Monday, 16 January 2017

Food cost of raising chicks and hens.


2017 is going to be our start in trying to get things to pay for themselves and see what income, if any, we can generate from the smallholding.  We've lots of thoughts as many people who have done this, will have had over the years.  Ultimately the main goal is to feed and sustain ourselves from the smallholding.  Part of that may also be financial but it isn't the main focus.  Self sufficiency is the focus with a side order of thoughts on making an income.  Clear as mud?
So to do this we need ideas and records.  Lots of records!  I don't mean LP's, I mean the kind I should have kept last year but didn't manage to 100%.  So we're off with a flying start when I report in with this.
We started a little experiment when out chicks hatched in December.  It took 14 chicks 39 days to get through a 20kg bag of chuck crumb.  The bag was £7.50.  That means the cost per day was 0.19p so it was slightly over 1p to feed each chick per day.  We will weigh one tonight to see what weight it got up to over the same period.
I’ll run the exercise again in the summer to compare a summer hatch to a winter hatch and then we know if it’s worth it or not.
Here they are trying to make an escape:
The cockerels will either sell or go in the freezer.  There's 7 cockerels and 7 hens.
In addition our remaining 46 poultry (including 4 geese and 4 ducks in that total), got through a 25kg bag of layers pellets plus almost 2 20kg bags of corn in 6/7 days.  This is around £20 worth of food in a week!  The corn was fairly expensive this time round, however as we will get it from the farmer most of the time, it’ll be a lot cheaper then.
Eggs sales have made us £25 in 10 days, so I’d say at the moment, they are just covering themselves!  Of course it is winter and we’re lucky to be getting eggs at all, however we got 15 eggs yesterday, and the previous days haven’t been too shabby so as long as we can keep up the egg sales and they feed themselves then that’s ok.  However we need to be mindful of these figures going forward.  I haven’t taken into account bedding  or time and effort. 
They will potentially bring some pennies in if we sell a trio of the chicks, and some geese and ducklings when they hatch some out, plus there’s always our rare breeds.  So watch this space. 
Of course the eggs are feeding us too, so that isn't a bill I need to pay the grocery shop for.  Little things...


15 comments:

  1. Oh there's some maths there! I didn't keep many records of things like costs last year apart from I know how much the chicken enclosure including the birds, material first lot of feed and the straw. I was only thinking the other day that I will start to keep a note of this from Jan onwards because I, too, would like to pay for the feed and bedding via the eggs where I can.

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    1. Haha I did question myself on the maths a few times. I don't know how much the wood and things were but my thoughts are that will add value to the house whereas the hens as value to something we can touch now either as food for us or them. Xx

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  2. You have to do this sort of hard maths or your future dream could evaporate. Knowledge is power and in your case the power to possibly become self sufficient. Its very interesting for others who could be considering the same.

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    1. I second this completely! I find it fascinating.

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    2. Yes I suppose I hadn't even thought that others may learn from us one day. It's very interesting to go through and see if it's viable. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. I love keeping records, dont forget to include, wormer etc, Its good to know exactly what the eggs are costing to produce so you can price accordingly, ours only get a few handfuls of mixed grain in the afternoon, layers is ad lib they also get some extras in the way of fruit and veg because they are not free ranging, our feed supplier has now switched from 25kg bags to 20kg bag across all the feeds something to do with health and safety when lifting bags,

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    1. Good idea re wormer too. Ours prefer the grain over the layers. I'll keep an eye out for the shift in weight to make sure they change the price too!

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  4. Love your working out, livestock is hard work, and to go forward you do need to know what brings in the best returns for your money and effort.

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    1. It feels very exciting and already an eye opener as to how much it is costing. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  5. Well done for being brave and costing things out...it can be surprisingly expensive sometimes! x

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    1. Absolutely - we need to see what's worth it and what is costing us or leaving us out of pocket

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  6. have you thought about starting a mealworm farm to bring your feed costs down a bit? also I hear fermenting chicken food makes it go further and gives a whole host of health benefits for the chooks plus makes the eggs bigger and better

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    1. No I haven't - I will look into that thanks. I've never heard of fermenting it! We live and learn :D

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  7. It shows how important it is to really cost things out doesn't it. I hope that all of the animals prove themselves to be worthy of their expenditures!

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    1. It does indeed and so do I lol - thanks

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