On our quest to be independent we decided to get busy with livestock. We have had chickens in the past and know how much fun they can be and about their easy care. Well, almost easy care.
This time around we chose Australorps for eggs and meat because they are a great dual purpose bird. They are docile, meaning they usually are not going to give you any trouble by pecking you. They lay well, up to 250 per year (or more). With ten hens, production should be about 2,500 per year. Feed cost per year per bird is about $304.00. The eggs economic value for this region is about $729.00.
Chickens are not the only great source of eggs and meat. Ducks are a great choice too. We chose Khaki Campbell ducks. They are beautiful to look at and will produce about 300 eggs per year. With ten females, there will be about 3,000 eggs per year. The economic value for this region is $1,250.00.
If every now and then we let some chicken and duck eggs hatch, those birds can be used to increase the flock for more eggs, or as meat birds. These birds are nearly free since baby chicks eat small amounts of food, and by the time they do eat 1/4 pound of food per day, it’s time to cull them. The number of birds to cull every year depends on how many times you allow your females to go broody.
Given all this, there is the added work of feeding and watering the birds each day. Those processes can be automated, making it only necessary to check the flock each day. In the end, your family will consume tastier birds and eggs. Considering that duck is only found in certain types of stores in some parts of the country, for us, to have a meal of fresh duck or duck eggs would be considered something otherwise unaffordable.
Knowing the products are healthier to eat and free from all manner of antibiotics, diseases, salmonella and other hazards of the poultry industry is priceless.