Cost and Coop Considerations for the Heritage-Breed Chicken Farmer


A water bottle provides clean water and entertainment.

I’ve raised chickens off and on over the past 20 years. Over that time, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve worked hard to figure out a way to make the chickens generate a profit or at least pay for themselves. I’ve purchased adult birds and sometimes bought chicks. I’ve bred birds and seen many a chick hatch. I’ve witnessed miracles and suffered losses.

The biggest poultry losses I’ve undergone have been from predators. Building a solid chicken coop solved part of the problem.

Risks with Free-Ranging Chickens

If you are going to let your chickens free-range, you will probably end up losing a few. Letting one’s chickens run free means choosing freedom for them to enjoy natural surroundings, over the risk involved. A dust bath enables a chicken to lie in the bosom of Mother Earth, to dry out their feathers, and be renewed in spirit. Still, I take a risk every time I let my chickens out.

My coop is surrounded by forest, dense brush and long grass, and some birds will venture 200 feet away. I’ve walked out to the coop mid-afternoon and found a dead chicken every 20 feet, down to the road. I lost about 10 that time. Some predators won’t simply dine and dash; they’ll kill as many chickens as they can.

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