GRIT Country Skills Series

CHICKENS in the GARDEN

Fresh, nutritious eggs and homegrown roast chicken dinners are reason enough to raise your own poultry. If you use your chickens in the garden, you can also harvest rich manure to create homemade fertilizer, and put your flock to work mixing organic wastes into superb compost. Plus, if you let your birds range on your property, get ready for a big bonus: They’ll provide terrific control of ticks and other pests.

The Cost of Raising Chickens

An adult standard hen eats about 84 pounds of feed per year, according to Ohio State University (she’ll need less commercial feed if she is free-range, penned on pasture, or given lots of table scraps). Bagged feed at a retailer, such as Tractor Supply Co., currently costs about 35 cents per pound, so feeding one hen for a year will cost close to $30. This number will be higher if you pay a premium for organic feed, and lower

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