I usually don't discuss current events in my posts because I like for my blog to be a happy place to visit.... but we're feeling the pinch of the bad economy around the farm these days. Those of you who have any kind of animals, whether it be cats, dogs, or farm critters know feeding them is not cheap- and getting more expensive all the time. Our feed bill is becoming higher than our grocery bill and it's not that our animals are eating more because we carefully ration everyone's feed to eliminate waste- but the price of feed is going through the roof. Grain prices have almost doubled in the last year.... a bag of scratch feed for the chickens was around $7.50 just a year ago- now we're paying over $11 a bag and layer mash (which is vital to the hens egg-laying parts) is an unbelievable $14 a bag. The sheep feed is also higher than it was just a few months ago, but thank goodness the pasture is starting to green up which means the sheep will be eating mostly grass now.
But even that isn't free- we need to put down a bag or two of seed mix in order to have quality pasture.
At $40 a bag. *Sigh*
I had high hopes last year when I bought some new laying-breed chicks to raise that by now I would be selling fresh eggs on a regular basis to help with the feed bill, but it hasn't worked out the way I had hoped. The local farmer's market wanted so much commission off what was sold I wouldn't have made enough to break even. I also thought about trying a "fresh eggs" sign at the end of the driveway, but since we live off the beaten path I'm a little afraid of strangers driving up to the house with me here alone during the day.
So, it was with a heavy heart I decided over the weekend to sell off my 6 Rhode Island Red hens to help cut back on feed..... it was not an easy decision, but one I felt was for the best. I still have my green-eggers and the 4 young New Hampshire Red girls from last year, and that will be enough to keep us in eggs with a little left over to give to some of the elderly ladies at our church.
And of course I still have my fuzzy-bottomed Silkies who I love having around just for the entertainment value, and they don't eat much so they're not expensive to keep. (Although they would like to think they are...)
We are also hoping gas prices don't skyrocket any more than they already have... we have to fill up the diesel barrel for Hubby's tractor to cut and bale hay this summer. Yikes!
What about you.....
Are you feeling the pinch more than usual these days?
Sorry for the downer post today...
I promise this week's Friday Farm Fotos will be a happier place to visit!