My family has been increasingly motivated to integrate homesteading practices into our unapologetically urban life.
This Spring we have added five chickens to our 50′ by 90′ urban homestead.
Here’s the deal, despite all the sentiment out there about “all the money we will save” through homesteading practices, the reality is that it just doesn’t pencil out. I hate to bust the myth.
Our five hens will lay between 10-20 eggs a week total. An egg from the store costs around 20 cents. Now, it is true that it costs us less than $5 per chick. But they cost around $20 dollars a month in feed. Also, the start up costs for materials to build our urban coop (we chose a tractor design. photos to come) was over $100. And we haven’t even discussed labor hours (dozens, with more added each week).
It doesn’t take a PHD in mathematics to figure out that the whole process will never be a financial windfall. In fact, we will most likely lose money, compared to just blowing through 12-holed-cartons like self-respecting Americans.
Here’s my point: I DON”T CARE if it doesn’t pencil out. Money is not the only economy in a life of meaning.
Here is what my family gains:
- A hobby that even my 3 years old can fully participate in (how often can you say that?).
- Integration with the creaturely world
- Integration with historical/rural human practices
- Greater connection to food production and supply (do you know where your food comes from?)
- More excuses to be out in our yard together
- More excuses to be near our neighbors (even provide regular oval-shaped gifts to neighbors)
- Little featherly assistants in the art of “slowing-down”
- Glorious piles of chicken-poop for our vegetable-friends
- Have you ever had a fresh-egg?
Seeking a life of meaning. Sometimes it is a pleasure to waste a little time and money.