Learning That “Free” Isn’t Always A Good Deal

Jerry and I are big time suckers for anything “free”. Well, almost anything. But I am quickly learning that just because something is free, or being sold incredibly cheap, it doesn’t mean it’s such a great deal.

Do you remember those white chicks we bought at the Poultry Swap last year? We paid $10 for 21 chicks… and totally thought we’d scored.


Almost a year later, I know exactly why that guy was so eager to practically give his chicks away. These chickens… I swear to you… are the dumbest chickens I’ve ever seen in my life! Good for nothin’, dumb chickens.

I don’t even know what in the world they are, but they definitely are NOT White Leghorns, like we were told. I’m convinced they’re some kind of mutated hybrid breed, that are too scrawny for meat, but aren’t physically able to lay eggs. All they do is run around and get their heads stuck in places they shouldn’t be.

Just dumb!

And I know you haven’t forgotten about those eight free chickens we caught not that long ago. It was a lot of work, but we were proud to bring home seven hens and one gorgeous roo.

Um. Yeah. Well, we’ve recently discovered that five of those eight chickens are actually roosters.


What the heck good will that do us?! No wonder we aren’t getting more eggs!

We have to laugh. What else can you do?! But good grief… we have got to be more cautious of a deal!

At least I kept my wits about me when I was recently offered a free lamb. Don’t get me wrong… I was totally tempted. But he was castrated, and the deal was that I would give my word that he was not to be eaten. And when you’ve only got an acre to work with, you really need to use the land to its fullest potential, which means not keeping anything that doesn’t do something in return. And a fixed lamb, as cute and fun as he would have been, would be of no real use to us.

So, here’s my word of warning: that old saying, you know the one, “if something is too good to be true, it probably is”, well… try to keep that in mind when snatching up a deal. There just might be a reason somebody else is so eager to get rid of it!

Have you ever been a sucker for something that seemed too good to be true, and ended up being a real dud? Come on, I wanna hear what you fell for!

12 thoughts on “Learning That “Free” Isn’t Always A Good Deal”

  1. My sis in law offered a free hen–she’d given away the rest of her flock and this straggler managed to elude capture.

    My expectations were of a sweet-natured, human friendly girl like the hens I’ve raised from chicks. Ha! First, she was a breed called egyptian fayoumis (high strung and not particularly docile) and she had leg mites, to boot! (Which she thankfully did not get the chance to pass around.)

    She escaped isolation the second or third day and wouldn’t come back. I admit I was unspeakably relieved when a passing fox or hawk handled the situation for me.

  2. I have learned from friends of mine that were giving free chickens, it’s never a good idea. Most people give them away because they can’t sell them. My friend got a bunch of free chickens last year and they ended up being egg eaters. I purchase my chicks from the hatchery. Cackle Hatchery has some really nice birds and they also have reasonable shipping costs. The birds I bought from them 2 years ago gave me another generation last year. It’s best to buy dual purpose birds because they will offer you both eggs and meat. Though I do have some leghorns and Ameracaunas specifically for there high egg production. Some good dual purpose breeds are Dark Cornish (very good meat bird), Plymouth Rocks, Cuckoo Marans, Orphingtons. There are many more but those are ones I have had experience with. 🙂
    I have made plenty of mistakes. We live and we learn, right?

  3. 😀 the trials…it is an adventure!

    It seemed like we were never going to get to the point of being sustainable…now that we are, we may be moving and our flock will not be making that very long trip.

    Also if we were in your situation we would be culling those roosters (no matter there size) because with that many you are not going to get eggs…if they are ready to be mating they are stressing the hens out. You can do it..I just culled our “mean guy” alpha tom. (He sure was a big boy!)

  4. We brought home an upright freezer three years we found on craigslist for free. Lady said it works. What she didn’t tell us is that while it does work, it doesn’t freeze.

    We still have it, the Farmer wants to turn it into a smoker.

  5. PUT THEM IN A POT!! lol

    Even though they are small, I would cut my loses and feed my family!! The little ones can be used as cornish game hens and the roos can be fattened up and processed later when you think they are big enough!!

    The local feed stores have chicks right now so you might be able to replace a few that your cooking with breeds you know are good!!

    Good luck!! Enjoying the journey with you!!

  6. Our “white leghorns” were like that too! Dumb. LOL and they had to be some poorly crossed hybrid bc way before it would’ve been time to butcher they started growing too large too fast (but not large in the tasty meat part one would expect) and popping legs out of joints and other bizarre disabilities. Also got some pygmies for free once. SO NOISY and little troublemakers they were. We learned our lesson!

  7. I totally agree….every living thing at our house has to contribute in some way, from the chickens to the cat to the kids! If you do not, you are just dead weight and will be culled from the household…including the kids!!!

  8. I was given a free above ground pool once. All I had to do was take it down from the guy’s property and reassemble it on my own. Easy peazy right? Twenty year old pools don’t go back together real easy, in fact they don’t. Now I had three kids anticipating a summer of swimming and mean old dad was going to have to tell them no….. My free pool cost me a bundle as a new pool was installed the next day!

  9. Well you can always fatten up those roos and put them in the freezer…I am like you and learned the hard way being so eager to get our little farm filled with the animals necessary to produce food for us…don’t give up hope there are still a few good ones out there. 🙂 Worse comes to worse you can always sell them for $5ea with a chicken and dumpling recipe haha!


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