Some of you may remember when last August a raccoon got into our chicken coop and killed all of our chickens that the boys had been raising for 4-H but one lonely chicken. We found somebody through 4-H that had bought extras and sold them to us for a lot more than they had cost as chicks. We actually spent $135 so the children could jump back into chicken raising and be able to show chickens in the fair. At the fair last September, we won two 2nd place ribbons and 1 first place. Then the children participated in the Premium Auction which local farms businesses and individuals can "bid" money to each participant (they don't really take the animals.) For such a small community, there is great support for things like 4-H. I think there was around 200 children participating and over $22,000 was raised. Our family received $500 total (3 children.)
That money was enough to pay us back for what we spent on the second round of chickens, let the children have a little money for themselves, and the rest went into a fund for future livestock. Our chickens lay about 16 eggs a day and we sell them for $2 a dozen ( I get mine for free.) There is a big difference in the taste and quality of fresh eggs. We get enough money from that to pay for feed and other small expenses (hay, new water er etc...) In about 2 weeks we will be getting our new set of chicks and this year we ordered 40. Art, Nick, and Alex drew up the plans for the new movable chicken coops which they will build in a couple of weeks. The chicks will start out in a brooding box in the shop. Raising chickens have taught the children a lot of important things about responsibility, caring for others, money management and other business skills, design and building, and (sorry) "processing chickens" for us to eat (they just watch.) They also still enjoy every day of taking care of their chickens and will come up from the chicken pen with funny stories and always announce how many eggs they got. The little boys like to help out too and ride on the tractor to take them water. Next year I would like to hatch some of our own chicks. The chicken business has been a great experience for all of us.