This is probably a post that I should write in January so I can look back at our records and have all the numbers, but I’m a rebel. I do what I want. Booya.
Full disclosure I will probably write a part 2 in January to look back at the numbers.
Last year I, ahem, slacked on my record keeping. Let me stress how important it is to keep records! Seriously, it will help you know what you’re investing into the farm and what you are getting out of it. I love to eat. We’ve talked about that many times, but in order to know what is cost effective and what isn’t records need to be kept.
But to give you an approximate look at what it costs to have a backyard farm let’s take a look at where we are at 6 months into the year.
This year I bought 2 egg plant starts, tarragon, sage, oregano, cilantro, basil, yarrow, 3 blueberry bushes, 4 apple trees, and 2 pear trees.
We were given tomato plants, bell pepper plants, and cucumber plants from our neighbours. I planted sunflowers, cucumbers, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, spinach, lettuce, pumpkins, pie pumpkins, zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, jade beans, navy beans,lemon cucumbers, and peas. I did not buy seeds this year as I had enough from last year left over.
Notes: The apple trees, pear trees, and blueberry bushes were bought at cost. Hubby is an internet/satellite technician and has done a lot of extra work for the nursery that we bought these trees and bushes from. As a result of good service the owner offered us everything at cost instead of retail. Building connections everywhere really helps.
I bought all of the herbs and the 2 eggplants for half price because I waited until the garden center was closing down and put everything on sale. You don’t always get the best selection but you get the best price.
The herbs, trees, and bushes are perennials which means that they will give for years to come with a very minimal investment on my part. The apple trees and pears trees are going to be the longest wait for a return but are worth it.
Every time I buy a bag of feed I write it down. Every night I count the eggs and record the number. Every time we sell a dozen eggs I write it down.
We currently have 45 chickens, 4 of which are roosters.
On average the chickens cost us: $109.36 per month. That’s feed, bedding, and medical.
We also sell eggs for $4/dozen. On average we earn: $116 per month on egg sales.
So on average we earn a profit of $6.64 on eggs. Not much, but it means all the chicken expenses are paid for and the eggs that we keep are free.
Notes: The summer months are always the best. Our hens are pastured for a good portion of the day and are let out to free range when we get home. They are never locked in the coop. This means that our feed costs are substantially lower in the summer months when there is lots of forage for them. Summer is also when egg production picks up because of the longer days. We sell more eggs in the summer as well because we live in cottage country and sell to a lot of tourists.
I do the same with goats as with the chickens. I write down how much milk I got per milking and whenever I buy feed, hay, bedding, or something medical I write it down. We are currently housing 6 goats. 2 breeding bucks, and 4 does. 2 of the does are in milk.
To date the goats have cost us: $520.61.
Since April we have gotten 55 litres of milk.
We also sold 3 goat kids earning us $600.
Just for fun I estimate that it will cost us $1041.22 to feed, bed and medicate the goats for the entire year.
I’m also estimating that we will get about 110 litres of milk in that time.
Which means our milk for the year will cost us about $4/liter.
The Final Total
So what is the final total for the last 6 months?
$1497.44 in cost – $1296 in sales = $201.44 in total cost or $33.57 a month.
The garden was calculated as a cost but as of yet I haven’t harvested anything from it. When we start harvesting I will weigh each harvest to get an approximate cost per pound, and will update the post at the end of the year.
For just over $30 a month we get fresh eggs, raw milk that provides cheese, yogurt, butter (when I have enough cream saved), ice cream, and eventually I want to make goat milk soap. We also made a future investment with fruit trees, blueberry bushes, and the majority of our produce will come from the garden in the next month or so.
Our farm is also almost set up at this point. If you are just starting out the costs are much higher. You have to provide the shelters, fencing, buy the animals, and even silly little things like food dishes, milk buckets and filters, a milking stand, water buckets, and mineral bowls. The first year is going to cost the most. I highly suggest looking for things that you can re-purpose and reuse instead of paying top dollar for everything.
Once you are mostly set up the cost of running it is quite low.
So look around your property and see where you can start making your own food. Plant a garden, grow food in containers on your balcony, keep a few laying hens if you can, start a rabbitry if you like rabbit meat, and if possible even look into getting goats. It isn’t as expensive as you may have thought and the freshness of it makes it all worth it. For reals.
shared with: Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop