Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So, a few weeks back the kids got some baby chicks to raise and be responsible for. Kind of an odd choice for a kids pet, I know, but we took them out to the ranch last trip to Moab and the highlight for them was gathering eggs from the chicken coop. I remember my brothers and I getting chicks one Easter when we were little, Mom or Dad took us out to show us and the dog had gotten there first during the night - it was a gruesome scene. So what do you do? Head back to the local farm store and get another batch. Don't recall what happened to our chickens, but don't remember collecting eggs, so guessing we didn't do a good job taking care of them and they either died by causes other than dog attacks or the parents gave them away.

So we took the kids down to the local IFA to pick out their chicks, and turned the garage into a barn until the chicks got a few chicken years behind them and were ready to move outside.

In the meantime, coop construction began, not many things better than a little project that the kids can do with me, they helped pick out what kind of coop they wanted for their chicks, and the older two got to use real tools, drill, wire snips, etc.... The little dude made attempts with the real tools and was quickly relegated to the plastic tool belt and tools, and took the too little medicine just fine.
The chickens have been in the backyard for a few weeks now and we haven't seen or heard any predators out there in the middle of the night yet. The kids are doing a great job taking the lead on raising their chickens. They won't lay eggs for another few months so the kids are staying engaged as their anxious for the production stage.

So what's the ROI on a backyard chicken setup, assuming they survive until the egg bearing years of chicken life? Pretty sure there ain't one. What's a dozen eggs cost at the store - a couple bucks? At the rate they lay eggs and the rate we eat them (some, not a lot), your looking at years before they pay for themselves. Nope, there's no economic sense to backyard chickens. The ROI is in the kids learning a little about raising stuff and having a small but tangible return on their work that's fun for them at their age. And while I'm a full bore believer in the free market/capitalist system and enjoy the heck out of the real life monopoly game (even these nasty cycles) that most of us choose to engage in for our living, I don't think it's the only route to being happy, - so, I'm trying to find ways to facilitate them getting some real life understanding that life can be pretty simple if they want to go the route I grew up in, and this gives them a small lesson in self sufficiency and a small return for their time that they don't have to trade in a dollar for. Don't know if it will work, but we've got four chickens named after Toy Story characters that second as the neighborhood petting zoo at the very least.


South County Ciclista said...

Nice I am sure your kids will have fun.

evilbanks said...

and all this time I thought you were kidding about the chickens. Come to find out, you were dead ass serious. Very cool!