Chickens cost relatively little to maintain and more than earn their keep in egg production. Our girls have a constant supply of chicken feed and get our table scraps on top of that. The rule of thumb is...."if you would eat it....so would your chicken". The converse of that is true....don't ever feed your chickens something that you, yourself, would not eat. Since we are very careful about our own diet, our chickens dine like gourmets. During the summer, they get the extra harvest that does not get preserved....tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries are a favorite treat. They also have time every day to roam the farm scavenging for bugs and tasty foliage. This type of diet produces eggs that outshine any that you can buy in a store. In fact, I can assure you we will never again eat pale, tasteless, store-bought eggs. Chickens will always be a part of our farm!
Currently, we have about 30 layers....producing about 15 (plus or minus) eggs a day. We have a dozen more Rhode Island Red adolescents that will begin to lay later this winter. The amazing thing to me is the variety of color and size that we get in any given clutch of eggs. They range from a pinkish brown to a spotted tan/brown and from small to jumbo. Chickens are probably the best investment you can make if you have a little extra land and an absence of zoning restrictions.