Skip to comments.Area Residents Raising Chickens for Fresh Eggs (IL)
Posted on 07/18/2009 8:07:22 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
HOMER, IL It may seem like an easy way to save a little money on your grocery budget: Buy a few chickens and start collecting farm-fresh eggs.
An increasing number of families in our area are doing just that, and some are also selling their surplus eggs to neighboring families.
Garry Herzog, owner of Prairieland Feeds in Savoy, said there's been a steady increase in demand for "laying feed" for chickens over the past two to three years. He said his store also gets many requests for how-to information from chicken-raising rookies.
And if Yahoo! is any indication, the interest is skyrocketing. Yahoo! searches on "chickens for sale" is 162 percent higher than last year and searches on "raising chickens" is 576 percent higher than 2007.
The reality of raising chickens, however, is that you can end up paying more to produce your own eggs than if you had just picked them up at the store. This is especially true since the price of eggs has been dropping.
Bob Smith of Homer has been raising chickens on his 5 acres and offering his extra eggs for sale to his neighbors for just over a year now, but has prior experience with the birds from the '80s. He also keeps guinea hens and ducks. He said his 75 chickens produce a surplus above his family's needs of about two dozen eggs a day. The money he earns selling fresh eggs to neighbors helps cover the cost of feed, but doesn't really bring a profit, he said.
No cheap chicks
Smith said the rising cost of birds is also a concern for families who want to keep yard chickens.
"I went to order more guineas this year with a friend who also wanted some. I paid $42 for 40 chicks six months ago. The same order was going to cost $150. The cost more than tripled. We canceled the order because we're not in this for business, we just like the birds."
Apart from the cost of the animals, setting up a chicken operation involves buying or building an appropriate, predator-proof coop, purchasing feeders and waterers, putting in fencing if they are not to run free, and, if you start with chicks, installation of a heat lamp. Depending on whether you use prefabs or construct your own facilities, you may have to invest anywhere from a hundred to several hundreds of dollars before you ever get your first egg.
Experience is showing that the main benefit to raising your own hens is not economic. It's better eggs. Fresh eggs from your own birds can be much lower in cholesterol and higher in nutrients than store-bought eggs, depending on the diet you feed the hens.
Jo Overbye, a mother of three in rural Homer, has four roosters and 11 hens, 10 of which are currently laying. She said she gets about six eggs a day during the summer, though that's slowed down because the birds are starting to molt. Overbye said that the chickens don't save her money.
"I just always have wanted to have fresh eggs, and now that we live in the country, I can. Honestly, you don't have to do a lot to set this up," Overbye said.
Better for the noodles
Julie Dohme of rural Broadlands, also a mother of three, said her chickens produce eggs with a darker yolk and richer flavor than store-bought eggs, which gives pie crusts and homemade noodles better color and flavor.
Chickens are omnivorous and aren't especially picky about what they eat. They can help control insects and dispose of kitchen scraps. And the used coop bedding, which needs to be refreshed weekly, can be composted.
It is important to know specific local ordinances for your area before you start raising chickens. For example, the Champaign city legal department confirms that keeping poultry within city limits is forbidden.
Urbana is more liberal in this respect.
Urbana Animal Control Warden Chelsea Angelo said that in 2001, Urbana removed most prohibitions on keeping livestock and poultry within the city. She pointed out that ordinances relating to sanitation, animal cruelty and noise disturbances all still apply and are enforced. Angelo said that there are a lot more chickens in Urbana than most people would imagine and that regulation is needed to deal with free-ranging chickens in town.
I’d rather spend $2.50 on a carton of Eggland’s Best eggs.
And then the inevitable feud with the neighbor when his dog gets a taste for your Rhode Island Reds.
America in the 21st century(and much of the latter half of the 20th).
Just had some fresh brown eggs for supper that were given to me.
You wouldn’t think there could be that much difference in the taste of an egg. But day-um...it was good!
I was in charge of raising the chickens when I was a kid. The chicks are sooooooo cute. That stage doesn’t last long. Then comes the chicken stage, not so cute. Then the fresh eggs, great! And some eggs are neat shades of brown too! We’re talking the 1970’s here, before the enviroweenies were so loud. I liked those brown eggs because they were pretty not because they were organic!
Then the chickens get to that big stage, the stage where you have to end their laying days before they get too tough to eat.....well, we slaughtered the chickens at the farm ourselves once. Let’s just say the sight of seeing a freshly slain chicken run around with it’s head cut off is still a vivid memory...after that year we sent them to the chicken “processor”.
Farm raised chicken is the best chicken on earth. Breasts as big as store bought turkey breasts. Eggs, the best.
After I went to college in 1980, the chickens, pigs, beef cattle, all magically disappeared...no more free labor from me! So after that it was all store bought meat and eggs. The folks still have a nice big veggie garden though.
Raising the animals was great. I appreciate it more now than then of course. Now I have my own place and 2 horses, 2 dogs (1 husband).
I don’t think city chickens are a good idea. Chickens are rather....smelly. Noisy of course too. And it’s unlikely those chickens will end up on a dinner plate at all. Maybe that’s OK. It’s just not a good idea to have livestock in town.
OK, TMI, but I don’t want to go to sleep yet...
Hey Diana, did you get to see “Public Enemies” yet and did you like it?
My grandson has chickens, we love the eggs but it really isn’t all that cost effective if you don’t feed them a lot of leftovers.
I used to have chickens and I didn’t feed them much I let them out during the day and I kept a light in their pen and they had all the bugs they could eat.
Raising chickens isn’t just about saving money.
The eggs are healthier and the hens are downright entertaining.
Aren’t they awfully noisy to inflict on your neighbors? Just asking ... don’t know too much about chickens! lol
Do you mean the inevitable fued with my neighbor when my air rifle gets a taste for his trespassing dog's hind end?
Wow 2.50? They’re FOUR dollars where I live.
I hope not!
Roosters are quite loud, but hens lay plenty of eggs without a rooster for miles.
Our barred rock girls and Mr. and Mrs. Turkey eat their weight in ants and weeds now. We set them on an ant hill and well...poor ants!
I’ve read that it’s not too hard to keep clean if you keep them in a movable hen house.
If chickens eat fleas in the yard, I just might be able to talk my daughter into it! lol
My chicken tractor is almost done and yes it seems to be true about the cleanup being easier.
Chickens will eat almost anything you put in front of them I think. They’ll eat whatever bug that crawls into the chicken run!
The economic stupidity of Obamanomics is breathtaking.
Chicken run? :~) Explain, please?
I sell my extras at work, and I get three bucks a dozen for mine. Bought 20 more chicks this spring.
I market them as eggs from happy chickens (which they are).
They also eat grass and weeds I toss into their pen. Probably I use about 1/3 the feed in summer as I do in the winter.
The cool thing about chicken poop is they grind up the seeds, so you get no weeds (unlike from my cows manure)
Poet laureate of FR!
Only Roosters are noisy, and are not required for eggs.
Supplement the diet with weeds from the garden. That really helps cut down on the feed needed.
Anyway...took about 15 minutes of pecking before the snake died....chicken then got the tail end and gobbles it up.
I wanted fresh eggs and liked the idea of having a few chickens around.
My wife and I are nearly finished with building a chicken mansion. LOL
I bought 8 chicks about 3 months ago and they should all be laying brown eggs in about 3 more months.
In for a penny, in for a pound... A friend called me yesterday and needs to get rid of his 20 brown layers, and these should start laying within the next two weeks. I’m paying $1 each.
I didn’t plan on doing this for the money, I’m doing it for the fun, it fits with my country living and I like knowing what the rascals have been feed.
I plan to get fryers next and within 8 weeks, I can put 30 chickens in the freezer. LOL Part of my GSD’s raw diet is 1/4 chicken (hind quarter) each and every day.
Heck with eggs. That’s way too much trouble for eggs. If I go to that much trouble, I want meat. These are easier to catch and there’s plenty of meat on them:
These got even more meat on them, but not as easy to catch:
Domesticated pheasant is the tastiest, imo.
A coop has an “indoors,” a run is just fenced-in “outdoors.”
Se my post #31.
I’m 60 years old and haven’t raised chicken since I was about 10 years old. I’m flat having a ball. I love having these gals around and they are goofy as can be.
My next project will be a chicken tractor or two.
Regular eggs taste really bad to me compared to what they did when I was a kid.
Don’t know what they feed them these days but although cash is scarce, I’ll spend the extra for taste.
Thank you! :~) Are they connected? Do you have to move the chickens from one to the other? Don’t they peck you? Didn’t know I had so many questions about chicken raising!! lol
Mr. Turkey used to peck but since Mrs. Turkey showed up he’s calmed down a lot. Watching petronski catch the chickens and turkeys is better than a movie.
Ours are not connected, but the tractor I’m building now will have a detachable run, precisely because moving the young birds from one to the other is an unnecessary bother.
If they are accustomed to getting food from your hands, and you offer your hand, you will get a peck.
It’s not exactly what I’d call painful, but you’re sure aware it happened.
Just looked it up on Ask.com. Found a site with a gazillion pics of various styles. Detachable sounds like a good idea. I’d have to have someone help me build it as I’m not electric construction tool inclined. lol The idea does intrigue me for lots of reasons. Bookmarked for future reference because all the great knowledge here! Thanks, Petronski, cyborg!
I would love to have chickens! So would my dog. My dog would be beyond thrilled if I’d buy chickens.
lol Thank you, stlnative! :~) The more informed, the better and more plentiful the eggs, right?
“Backyardchickens.com” is an excellent resource. Tons of good info.
“Hey Diana, did you get to see Public Enemies yet and did you like it?”
I didn’t. Husband and I have been working oppostive shifts these days, and then doing lots of family things on top of that.
We will, though! :)
“Raising chickens isnt just about saving money. The eggs are healthier and the hens are downright entertaining.”
Awe, jeeze. There’s no one worse than an ex-smoker or a new chicken convert, LOL!
I’ll never make money at it anymore. I used to, but it was a lot of work. Now I sell all of their eggs to one customer who sells them to others, which works out well for us both. I get $2 a dozen (about $16 a week) which helps cover feed costs of about $60 a month for 48 hens and a few USELESS roosters.
I just enjoy their company and the fresh eggs.
Was that girl ‘naughty’ and must now wear a chicken on her shoulder to announce her shame to all, much like Hester Prynne? LOL!
None more zealous than the new disciple?
I plead nolo contendere.
I’m just glad you guys have joined ‘the flock,’ so to speak! :)
Our chickens free range but need feed in the winter. The turkeys work much harder, they are up before sunrise catching cold bugs in the grass. Two turkey hens raised 19 poults this year, we hatched more in the incubators. It’s nice having turkey at times besides Thanksgiving.
Wait until they start writing articles about backyard hog raising. We have those, too, along with rabbits.