Raising chickens for eggs always becomes more popular during a recession and more people seem to be getting a couple of back yard hens for egg production. We have two garden hens who very generously provide us with two eggs a day. Our chickens are Columbian blacktails which is a hybrid bred specifically for egg production. They are in their second year of lay so in theory their egg production should be starting to reduce, but so far nobody seems to have told the girls.
According to Channel 4’s Super Scrimpers programme based on having two hens raising chickens for eggs will save you about £150 a year. You also know have the assurance that your eggs truly are fresh daily and are free range. Keeping hens in the back garden or yard is not difficult. If you live in a flat it may not be practical, but you could always rent an allotment and put a few chucks on there.
What you need for raising chickens for eggs
- A coop – we purchased a ready made one in financially rosier times. Making your own is a lot cheaper and there are plenty of plans for chicken coops online.
- Woodshavings for the floor of your coop – agricultural merchants sell large bags and are cheaper than pet shops
- Food for your chickens – what type of food your birds require will depend on what age your girls are when you get them. If they are just about to start laying when you buy them or already in lay you will need layers pellets. I pay about £8 for a 20 kilo sack which seems to last forever.
- Oyster shell – this helps your girls with egg shell production
- Containers for food and water
- Hens!! When you are raising chickens for eggs do some research and pick a breed you like the look of. If you are new to poultry keeping I recommend hybrid hens as opposed to pure breeds as being bred for egg production they are hardy and will give you the best return for your money.
Want free cinema tickets?
I am not a film buff, but if you offer me free cinema tickets and it’s a film I think would be interesting to watch I’m going to accept. A lot of people don’t seem to realise that you can get free cinema tickets, although you are limited to 2 free tickets for each account registered at See Film First. If a group of you wanted to go see the same film I guess there is nothing stopping all of you registering at See Film First.
The advantage of these freebie film tickets is that not only are they 100% free, but you also get to see films before they are on general release nationally. This Sunday morning I took my daughter to see The Big Wedding at the Odeon Sheffield. As usual it was fairly quiet at the cinema with less than half the seats full, so there are obviously a lot of free cinema tickets still available for these events.
Money Saving Tips – gas & electricity bills
This week I decided to look at ways I could use money saving tips to reduce my household bills and generally do a quick stock take of where my family’s finances are at. My house is a 4 storey Edwardian detached property and despite my best efforts to reduce our energy consumption we are still a high energy user. I’m pleased to say that by only having the heating on when needed and encouraging the use of showers instead of baths the gas and electricity bills are starting to come down, but not fast enough!
I don’t know if you saw the news that it’s predicted the average annual energy bill will be bigger than than the average annual mortgage payments within the next 12 years so I thought it was a good time to review whether I could save any money by switching to a new energy provider. I have been with First Utility for the last few years and been very pleased with the service, but at the end of April they withdrew the tariff I was on and switched me to a more expensive one.
So I went online and had a hunt around to see which was the cheapest gas and electricity provider for me by entering my energy usage for the last 12 months. I used a number of different comparison sites to ensure accuracy. According to the comparison charts Spark Energy could save me £999 a year but having seen they featured on Watchdog and have a terrible customer service record I didn’t think this was a good choice. So in the end I plumped for npower signing up through Energylinx which will reduce my bills by £577 a year and earn me £32 cashback at Quidco. I subsequently saw I could have earned £60 cashback at Quidco by switching to npower direct, so I could have done even better!
So in terms of money saving tips I’d advise to always review your utility bills regularly and see whether you can shave any money off them. However, I would never recommend using money saving tips that are going to cause you stress so if you see a provider has a poor customer service record with a lot of online complaints avoid them. True you may save more money in the long run, but if you have to spend hours on the phone you are wasting your valuable time when you could be doing something much more pleasurable.
I’ll be looking at other household bills I’ve managed to reduce in future blog posts. If you’ve recently reduced your own energy bills feel free to leave a comment and share your tips too.
In an effort to cut my outgoings even more this week I’ve been looking in to cut price hair cuts. My hair has been coloured a variety of shades since I was the tender age of thirteen so I wanted to find somewhere I could get my hair cut and coloured at a budget price. I’ve tried leaving longer periods between hair appointments, but this has resulted in my kids begging me to go to the hairdresser as my appearance gradually degenerated in to unkempt cave woman with issues.
The other options I’ve trialed have been alternating between visiting an expensive salon and a cheaper one at varying intervals and just having my hair cut by a hairdresser but colouring my hair at home. My home hair colouring has been hit and miss with some very patchy results so I wanted to find somewhere that would give me the cut price hair cuts I desired and colour my hair at the same time.
Well today I went and had my hair cut at the local college. The cost for a cut and colour was £21. This is a quarter of the price the expensive salons charge locally and less than I would pay just for a cut in a cheaper salon. The college as well as offering cut price hair cuts and hair treatments also offers budget beauty treatments.
So was my cut price hair cut and colour a disaster? Well sorry to disappoint but I was very pleased with the end result and will be going again in the future. Students are supervised by their tutors at all times so the chances of your cut price hair cuts turning in to cut price disasters are slim. If you’ve a local college I’d definitely recommend giving them a call to see if you can further the education of the next generation of hairdressers at the same time as getting yourself regular cut price hair cuts. Some local salons also offer this service if you volunteer as a model for trainees so it’s well worth asking.