Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Some facts and figures

Posted by Rosie

I have been doing some figures today to work out if keeping animals and growing veg really is a cheaper a way of doing things. It's all very well saying our shopping bills per week have dropped from about €120 to €40-80 per week but you need to budget back in animals and their feed costs plus the costs for growing veg.

Well, according to my maths these are the figures for animals bought, fattened and lasting approx one year plus vegetables:

One pig = 8€ per week

16 chickens and 8 turkeys = 6.50€ per week

Income from eggs = 2.50€ per week

Vegetables - income from veg sales to date is almost exactly the same as costs for the year so any further sales puts us into profit and I have hardly had to buy any veg this year (a few spuds and onions, the odd lettuce that's about it).

I have, however not included sheep. Last year we lost two sheep and had no lambs so financially we lost out big time. This year we have "adopted" three lambs - one as payment for helping a friend collect a new flock of sheep, one a freebie who needed bottle feeding (32€ for the milk) and another has been given to us and we will give one of our lambs back next year. They will have cost us a bit in worm and tick treatments but providing we have no disasters this year we should have meat from 3 lambs for about 70€ or just over 1.30€ per week. The ewes and ram will have additional winter feed costs but hopefully we will have our own lambs next year. And last year the local farmer gave us a free big bale of hay in exchange for the old hay we gave him from the barns.

So I reckon that works out that we grown veg for nothing and the animals cost approx 13.80€ per week, having calculated in our egg/veg income.

But if course it is not as clear cut as that - I have not included costs for replacement layers (thank you Mr Fox), the costs for fencing, shelters, water, fruit trees or our labour. But as a one year snap-shot of a life living more and more off our own land I can say we succeeding in raising our own meat, growing our own fruit and veg and saving money in doing so. We have also minmal food miles compared to supermarket food, virtually no packaging and whilst not organic we have free-range, very happy animals who give us some of the best tasting meat I have tasted.


  1. Very interesting post, Rosie.
    Tom and I were only chatting about the same thing last week; after costing in seeds, raised beds, time and everything else that goes with growing our own veg and salad as well as feed for the chickens etc we haven't even broken even our first year! BUT saying that, as the last paragraph of your post also suggests; we're on our way and there are far too many other benefits to outweigh the cons! :)

  2. it's nice to actually prove what you are doing is worthwhile - we are keeping an account of costs for rearing our pigs - and hope we come in cheaper than buying. but as you say, its not just financial, also about happy animals raised in the most natural way, least food miles. if you can do that AND save money. well its a winner all round!

  3. To know you are at least breaking even is good, but the main advantage to all of us who grow or raise our own, is that we are eating the best, freshest and most environmetally friendly (no air miles etc) products. Therefore we will be healthier and happier as a consequence.

    And you can't put a price on that!

    Sue xx

  4. Good for you - and as you say, that's a lot of carbon you're not responsible for. My problem is that time spent on the garden is time not spent doing other essential business tasks, and the cost, in economic terms, becomes all too clear. Yet it seems so wrong not to be growing more of our own. For now I have to compromise and let others do the actual production - at least I have a good farm shop up the road!

  5. Good on you. Our supermarket shopping has also dropped enormously as we haven't bought fruit and veg for months. Pigs? Not sure how economic they are compared with supermarket pork but they taste a lot better!
    And we are selling honey for the first time this year. It won't make us a fortune but just a little goes a long way!

  6. And even if it didn't save us money I would still keep the animals because it is not just about saving money - it's a lifestyle and the best lesson possible to give to the boys on how good food can and should be produced.

    UtGP - Honey ..... one day .....


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