Originally Posted by junebugmidwife
It's not *too* much work--we have a set up that holds several days' worth of food & water, so you only need to peek at them and collect eggs daily; this makes it easier to find chicken-sitters.
Our waterer holds enough for a couple days, but I figure if I don't like stale water, my birds wouldn't either, so I give them fresh water daily. It only takes a minute to dump the old and put in the new, even in the dead of winter. Every week or so I use a towel and clean the ick out of the waterer, and then I dump the feed and fill the feeders up with fresh food since they love leaving the teeny crumbs at the bottom.
We get enough eggs from our 19 layers (14-16 a day) to eat for ourselves, share with our kids, and barter with the feed lady for a good portion of our chicken feed. Since we use a higher-quality feed, ours isn't as cheap as some, but we also get better egg quantity and the birds aren't prone to plucking feathers like they are when we use the lower protein feed. We also mix DE in with the feed and free feed oyster shells.
I love my birds. This is our fifth year, and I like it more every year. We finally found a breed we really, really like and I plan on moving on to show birds now that I'm happy with the temperament, coloring and egg-laying of our birds.
Trisha in MO