I love what you just said, Ana. as redundant as it will be, I want to chime in. I've had chickens for 20 years. 4 years ago I started a flock with 19 birds and today I have 7 hens, 1 rooster. Predators, illness, and mystery deaths. I'm not traumatized by that anymore, but I was when I was new to keeping chickens. It's in the 90°s every day, so I get 2-4 eggs daily. 10-12 hens is a good number for me so since this flock is 4 years old, I ordered 6 chicks in the mail, planning ahead since my older girls will continue to die off, as chickens do. One baby chick died a day after I got them so I have 5. Even with shipping it is so much easier to care for a few birds at a time than 19 all at once. That was really hard, with 19 in a brooder. I had these in the house for 7 weeks😲because it got over a 100° here for a couple of weeks so I couldn't put them out. It wasn't horrible because it was just five, but had it been more I would have lost my mind. It's been practically a full-time job keeping my big girls cool! But the chicks are permanently outside now. I had to modify my coop for a small roosting area with its own door (existing) that opens to a separate completely caged run (existing, and I have the materials to expand it as they grow) and they'll be in that until they're big enough that a hawk can't pick them up. The big girls have a half-wooded half-open fenced 1/4 acre are but the chicks are the size of a pigeon and would get picked off by a hawk in a minute. This is a flying breed, and I had a hard time keeping them in the run in the last flock - one of them flew up on top of my house😲 Needless to say, I am down to 2 of the originals of that breed but because they lay the most gorgeous blue egg and are my most consistent layers even still, even with the risk of them flying off and being eaten I think I'll stick with that breed anyway. I've learned, and because they fly now I know what I need to do to keep them from doing that. As an aside, I did clip their wings. Some of the little shits flew anyway😖and of course, got eaten. I had a 6' fence but once I bent the top in, kind of like prison fencing, they couldn't get out🥳. Again, now I know this breed needs a "flying barrier" so I'll have to put that up again when it's time. The good news for me was that once they got to be a certain age they lost interest in leaving the ground🙏😆. I don't have the means to build a large covered run with buried fencing of the materials that would be required. The fencing I have is to KEEP THE BIRDS IN, but there is nothing I could build on my own that would keep the specific predators I have here out. But I'm home all the time and have a Jack Russell and we are in and out of the house all day, as much as the temperature allows. So touch wood I haven't lost a chicken to a predator in 3 years. If it ain't broke, don't fix it (I have to tell myself that all the time).
The way that I keep chickens, they are not "cost effective". Everybody has a different setup so that varies a lot. I'll repeat what some others have said; they're fun, the setup can be fun or a pain in the ass depending on who you ask, the eggs are not only nutritious etc, but literally the creme de la creme. They are WITHOUT PARALLEL particularly if they are fed organic. I sell them for $5/doz to a couple of regular customers and that mostly covers feed. Organic feed runs $27/40lb., so it's not for the faint of heart but that's how I eat and I want my eggs that way too. I keep a small container outside and the rest of it in the house so it doesn't spoil. They get food scraps too. Obviously, I don't keep them for money. I keep them because I love having chickens around. I love eating my own fresh eggs from my own hens in my own back yard. I'm a dog person, so I always have a dog, and I really like chickens, so I always have some of them, too. This is a long post, and I didn't mean for it to be🙄