A few things became apparent this summer to us. With Maggie out of commission, we had to make a few changes. Jessy and I have learned and adapted to additional chores as well as just helping Maggie out, day to day. On crutches, it’s hard for her to carry things or do much that includes transporting herself and other things. Which seems to be what everyone does all the time! But we’ve gotten by and gotten our routines fixed and settled so it’s really not that big of a deal.
However, something that I had been thinking about, seemed to proof it’s unpleasant head. Our huge flock of chickens was simply not very efficient for us, in any way. We were spending quite a bit of money on our tight budget on feed, and chore time was eating into our contentment. With egg deliveries and sales, we were not even making the feed bill. And to top it all off, the birds seemed to be discontent as well. Kind of a bad situation all the way around.
So we made the group decision to exit the egg business and to sell off half of our flock. There is absolutely no way that we would have NO chickens… because we adore our birds. And we knew that no one would want all our roosters, so we decided that the bulk of them would stay, and just continue to be free ranging roos, as they have been all summer and are doing fine.
We also have decided that this small batch of meat birds we’re raising right now will be the last for awhile. At least until next fall. Raising large numbers of meat birds in the summer when our budget is traditionally tighter is just not making sense. We love the idea of eating our own carefully raised birds, but I think it can be done in the cooler months when it’s easier to care for them and our budget is more able to handle the cost of chicks, feed, processing and all. Just makes sense, doesn’t it?
When I listed our flock for sale on our various Facebook pages, it was only about 5 minutes before we had a buyer! That was pretty neat. Folks know our birds are healthy and well adjusted, heck, half of them are nearly pets and tame as house cats. And it was even better that our angel buyer was a good friend, my weaving mentor, Miss Jessica… And she wanted them all! And what made things even sweeter, is that we traded the birds for weaving supplies!!! She got a bunch of nice birds, we got less cost and chores and I got a big box of weaving warp that should keep me for many many months! Perfect! I just didn’t see any room in the budget for a load of warp… You need to buy the rolls of warp string in groups of 24 and each roll is nearly $4-$5 a roll! That’s a nice little chunk of change in a tight budget. I got a huge box of 48 rolls in exchange! And black and grays, and demin blue which are more pricey! I can’t wait to get weaving again!
I thought that Maggie might be upset about the situation, but was very relieved that she was just fine with it. She’s a realist. I guess she was already thinking that they were a bit too much work, as caring for them all took up a good portion of her day before the accident. She said it was going to be good to get back to knowing all their names! I think she’s right. We added 50 birds to the mix last summer when we thought we would have quite a few interested in our eggs. And the feed costs were lower. But then one bigger client went out of business and then we sold a few birds, but still had close to 80 birds. And often we were having way too many eggs and not enough sales so we were giving the dogs and pigs eggs! So, this is a good thing.
It’s been a week now and I have to say, it’s been a blessing! Chore time has been cut in half, the remaining 25 hens and 10 roos are happy, and our feed cost is going down. Sometimes, one of the hardest things to do is change what you are doing. We are so programmed to think that what we are doing this moment is what we have been doing and will be doing for the rest of time. Guess what ? I think if you really looked at your life, there are very few things you are doing now that you were doing a year ago, five years ago or ten years ago. And most likely, things will keep evolving and changing in subtle ways. It’s the way things are. So be open for change and watchful for things that are not working well. Changing them for the better can lighten your load and bring more contentment into your life!!! I know it’s helping us!