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Sunday, April 15, 2012
Chicken or the Egg?
Last week at a friend’s place, the sight of brood of chicken digging and searching for food over a pile of lawn clippings evoked fond memories of the kampong lifestyle I knew from my visits to my maternal grandmother at her village during my school holidays. Sadly, the old village was bulldozed to give way for the construction of blocks of HDB flats after it was zoned and destined to become Ponggol Housing Estate in Singapore.
I am now seriously toying with the idea of having a couple of chooks in my backyard as they bring a bit of old-style living back to my suburban existence. I am pretty sure that I am not the only one going “chooku”, as it is reported recently in the news recently that the retail giant Bunnings who owns a chain of home improvement stores has noted a recent trend towards people trying to create a more eco-friendly environment for their kids at home.
Before I build a chook pen and rush to buy a couple of day old chicken, I have to sell my idea to my wife who has always been not too keen of having backyard chooks. It is going to be a tough sell on the economic point of view. Not only will I get a negative answer but for sure to receive a question in return. Is it economically viable to produce your own eggs? Sadly the answer is no. I have done some calculations which to begin with, will make the cost per egg more than purchasing eggs from a store, especially when you take into the account of the initial costs involved with raising chickens in your own backyard.
I also learned that chicks up until the age of around 2 months should also be fed a special chick feed, this will set you back between $10-$15.The purchase of a chicken coop will be your largest expense. Unless you are lucky enough to have an old shed that can be turned into a coop but if not you will either have to build your own or buy a pre-made coop. Pre-made coops can cost anywhere between $200-$2000. The other option is to keep an eye out for second hand coops in your local classifieds. You can save a lot of money by building your own coop. Costs in building your own coop with involve timber, chicken wire and nails and vary in costs depending on the size required.
There isn’t much ammunition left for me to convince my better half to come to the party, but there is no harm telling her that chooks makes great pets even if you are not interested in egg production.