How raising chickens saves you money!

When talking about saving money with chickens, most everyone discusses how to cut your chicken keeping costs. I do it quite often actually. Today though I want to talk about how keeping chickens saves you money in your home or homestead. 

Fluffy silkie chickens in their coop

Now I know a lot of people say that you can save money by having chickens for eggs because you get free eggs! I find that idea really hilarious because the first coop alone caused me $1500. So it's going to take a very very long time till you break even on the coop and even after that you still have to feed your hens so you really don't ever get free eggs. 

But you do get to control your food supply a bit so that's definitely a good thing. But I'm talking about the ways chickens save you money way beyond eggs! Like the way they save you money in the yard or garden!

How raising chickens saves you money

Free egg myths aside, there are other ways raising a few hens can save you money. Especially if you have a farm or homestead! Or even just a garden in your backyard.

Free Fertilizer

If you have a garden and you have chickens you have a free source of fertilizer! Most gardeners have a compost heap. You add things like old plants, bits of cardboard & paper, fresh & dried leaves, kitchen scraps, garden rejects etc. and it breaks down over time creating an excellent compost that you can use to nourish your plans. 

Since chicken poop is high in nitrogen which is the greens you need for your compost heap and bedding is usually wood shaving's, leaves, straw which is the browns that you are compost needs to function properly it's practically black gold on it's own. 

Your chickens are basically making you the perfect compost additive every time they poop in their chicken coop.

Also if your chickens are free-ranging they are fertilizing your lawn every time they poop. They are usually spreading it out throughout your lawn which is important because chicken poop is so high in nitrogen that too much in one place can burn out the roots of your plants. 

But since your chickens are free-ranging they aren't standing in one place pooping all day, they are depositing it all over your yard. Which is definitely a good thing for your lawn and garden. They can also be allowed into your garden to help clean it up in fall instead of spending the time cleaning things up yourself.

Silkie chickens by the garden eating bugs

Free Insect Control

Not only are free range chickens adding nutrient-rich manure to your lawn as they go about their day, but they are eating any bugs they may see which can help prevent other lawn problems like moles! If the chickens eat the grubs in your lawn, then there's no reason for moles to move in! 

Chickens love to eat all kinds of bugs. As they're free-ranging they will pick out grubs, ticks, slugs, grasshoppers, beetles and lots of other garden pests. Since your chickens will take care of the yard and garden pests themselves, you do not need to invest in pesticides. 

Organic pesticides can be very expensive but your chickens are the perfect organic pest control because they will remove and eat the bugs themselves. They'll even go looking for them! No need for you to rake under dried leaves in the garden edges to try to treat the soil for pests...the chickens will do that for you! So this saves you time and money in the garden.

Not having to use commercial pest management products also helps to maintain a healthier and more balanced ecosystem on your homestead.

Free bug control was the main reason we started raising guinea fowl in the first place and they have done an amazing job with our woods! Chickens will eat ticks also so if you have a problem with ticks in your yard, raising poultry can keep you from having to spray pesticides on the whole yard!

Reduced Garbage Pickup Costs

One of a chicken's favorite things to eat is your leftovers! I've written several times about things you can feed the chickens that people eat. I talked about it in Feeding Chickens Your Holiday Leftovers, They can basically eat anything you can with the exception of caffeine & alcohol. You don't want to give them a lot of onions or green potato peels, but otherwise most of your kitchen scraps can go to them. 

Chickens are natural omnivores and can eat a wide variety of food scraps that would otherwise end up in the trash. Chickens love things like meat or rice that you can't compost. Of course the more food scraps the chickens eat the less feed you'll have to buy for them lessening the impact they make on your budget at the same time. 

If you pay for garbage pickup like we do, you only get a certain amount of garbage removed each week for the price you pay. Go over that and you pay more. We only get one can per week in our pickup plan. Since the chickens eat almost all my kitchen waste that can't go in the compost, it keeps my garbage bill down because I never have too much on pick up day.

colorful eggs from backyard chickens

Eggshell Uses

There are so many different uses for empty eggshells! I write about using them for seedling pots in Cute Spring Eggshell Craft. You don't have to buy those little peat pellets or pots, just use eggshells for your seedlings.

You can grind up eggshells finely and use the powder as a cleaning scrub which is great if you don't have Ajax on hand! This works especially well for those stubborn toilet water rings, bathtub residue and scrubbing out your sink, plus it's free!

Crushed eggshells can be added to the dirt when planting tomatoes to help prevent blossom end rot thereby removing the need to buy a supplement or those little plant spikes. They can also be sprinkled around the base of plants to keep slugs from getting to your plants and eating them. Cheaper than a commercial pesticide like 7dust!

Heidi from Healing Harvest Homestead fills empty capsules with ground eggshells and takes them as a calcium supplement which can save you a good chunk of change monthly. They are made of calcium carbonate after all!

You can crush them up and feed them to your chickens instead of buy8ing oyster shell as a calcium supplement. Also toss some small bits of eggshells into the wild bird feeders as female birds also use calcium to make their eggs during spring! 

Related reading: 12 Clever ways to reuse eggshells

Reducing Grocery Expenses

Ok, I'll say it anyway! lol By having your own flock of chickens, you can significantly decrease your reliance on store-bought eggs and meat. Yes, that reduces grocery expense but it does add chicken feed expense so that ones a wash if you ask me. 

Plus by using their manure to supercharge your garden, you'll reduce your grocery expenses a little more. Hopefully this means fewer trips to the grocery store and more savings in your pocket.

I have had success hatching eggs from my flock and raising the roosters to butcher weight and then turning them into food. Roosters make really good stew or soup especially in the instant pot, but I do understand that isn't for everyone. 

You won't need that gym membership

Raising chickens is not easy work. Between carrying 40-50lb bags of feed and toting buckets of water to the coop daily, plus shoveling the coop out to clean it you'll get quite the workout! Not to mention chasing around chickens if you need to catch one or doing coop repairs. Farm life will keep you in shape for sure!

Having a hard time hard boiling eggs? Check out: How to boil farm fresh eggs so they peel easily!


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