Today I realised that adding up the cost of the chickens and ducks to see how much my lovely free range eggs are is a very bad idea. Once you’ve added the housing, feeders, drinkers, medical kit, tonics, feed, bedding and then the vets bills on top it soon adds up to be an expensive hobby! I sell about 2 dozen eggs a week which gives me £4 and I save another £2 on the dozen or so eggs I eat myself each week and feed for them costs £6-8 a week without adding treats and greens so in this I just about break even, but I will never recoup the initial outgoings. However, it is worth it. I love watching them run around the garden and knowing how happy they are to me makes the eggs worth every penny.
I also had a think about what I couldn’t be without when looking after them. The galvanised heavy duty feeders and drinkers were worth the money paid as they survived a harsh winter (unlike 2 of my plastic drinkers) and keep the feed fresh. When it comes to keeping them clean I couldn’t be without Stalosan F, I use it in the coops and duck house, in the enclosed run and in the garden around their pools and where they afternoon nap to dry up poop. I also love my rake in the run, everyday I give it a quick rake over and when needed the dusting of Stalosan and it stays fresh and clean. In the summer I am also a huge RedTop fly catcher fan as it makes a real difference to the numbers around the run.
My biggest bit of advice to new keepers would be to try to stretch your budget at the start. Buy a good quality house for them and get galvanised all weather feeders and drinkers. Plan the area they are going to be in well so they don’t destroy the garden. When it comes to keeping it clean and tidy do a little each day as the mess they make can soon build up and seem like a huge task to tackle otherwise.
There has been a fox on the prowl and I’m concerned they are locked up safely before nightfall. At night I shout out to them “Bed Time Muckers” and before I have even opened the gate they start making their way to their house and but the time I get to the bottom of the garden (and a small garden at that) they have tucked themselves up. When anyone else puts them to bed you watch them run in 12 different directions and whoever is trying to get them in gets an exercise session! The chickens are far better behaved and tuck themselves up at night, but they refuse to use the safer chicken coop and I am worried that a fox could perhaps get into their ark even though I have reinforced with weld mesh.
This evening I have had a little helper making dinner with me. Always one to pose for a picture is my little Shia Puss as you can see below. Problem is she is also one for stealing the food I’m preparing even when it is vegetables as she is such a silly kit!