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By the author of What School Should Have Taught You.
We’ve covered before here about the importance of being as productive as possible with your time. Production equals wealth, and if you’re having a hard time with bills and debt, then you really have to hone in on making sure that you’re getting your money’s worth out of your time. With that being said, are there ways that you can save money on chicken upkeep with your regular landscaping chores?
I have a couple of ideas here that may help you to save a few bucks on a monthly basis.
I’ll start by saying that I’m a huge fan of Joel Salatin, his books, and his methods of farming. I think that he has the most logical, economical, and healthy way of raising food out there that there is. It’s because of this that I try to incorporate as many of his concepts into my own place as possible.
So, for chickens, I am always trying to add as much carbon to the coop as possible. This is a Joel Salatin thing, with carbon being any type of plant matter possible. By adding in this carbon, I help to make the chicken coop warmer in the winter as everything begins to compost, generating heat.
This carbon also helps me to create an environment for little buggies to live throughout the year, giving the chickens a little bit of extra food on a daily basis. If you’ve ever had chickens in a clay floor coop, you know that they quickly grow bored during the winter months, and they can resort to picking on each other. Having plenty of carbon on the floor of your coop (mine is typically a foot deep) helps to give the chickens something to do if it’s snowy outside, as they’ll spend a lot of time scratching around to see what kind of little goodies they can find.
Sometimes, I’ll even throw a little bit of cracked corn on the floor of the chicken coop so that it falls down into the carbon bedding, leaving a little surprise for the chickens throughout the days to come.
That’s a bit of my philosophy with chickens, anyway.
However, if you’re constantly running out to the farm store to purchase straw to do this, you will find yourself spending quite a bit of money on gas and straw. Trips to the farm store typically result in my picking up a few other things that I probably wouldn’t have purchased otherwise as well.
When possible, I try to get my carbon from the land around me.
Every time that I mow the lawn now, I end up raking up the grass clippings. Joel Salatin would smack me with a stick if he heard me say that (he says you should leave them for the grass), but that’s what I do. After gathering all the clippings together, I throw them all into the chicken coop, and chicken run.
Not only does this make for happier, healthier chickens, but it saves me a bit of money as well. The chicken poop decomposes into compost instead of causing hygiene and disease issues, I don’t have chickens (which are an investment, by the way) that die from illness, and they get to eat a little bit of the carbon on the ground as well. I’ve never tracked if that made me spend less money on chicken feed, and maybe the amount is marginal, but it’s at least something, so I’m cool with every little savings there I can get.
I figure, why not make my front lawn save myself a little bit of money?
You can do the same thing in the fall when the leaves fall off the trees.
Don’t burn them all! Collect as many of them as you can and throw them in your chicken coop. This is a seasonal way of helping to make sure that you’re still able to save a bit of money on carbon costs for your chickens without having to go to the store.
The cool thing about using leaves for this purpose is that it allows you to keep some aside for later applications. I’ve added all my leaves at once before, but I end up with 2’ of carbon in there, and it’s a little awkward to walk through all of that to get the eggs every morning. The chickens will break the leaves down into a fine powder fairly quickly, but you’ll likely have a more pleasant time if you add your raked-up leaves in increments.
And may I say that chickens LOVE leaves. When they see me throw the chickens into the coop, they’ll all run back from all over the yard into the coop to scratch through everything. They have a fun time scratching, I have a fun time watching, and I get to save a little bit of money in the process.
Use what you have.
The point of all this is to start to think about what you can do with what you have around you right now to save yourself some money. If you can figure out ways to repurpose what you would otherwise throw away, you’ll be able to save yourself a significant amount of change.
Are there ways that you regularly save money this way? Let us know in the comment section below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.