Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Egg Economics

Chicks last March
  Last year demand for our eggs often exceeded supply.  Ken and I decided to increase supply this season.  That meant ordering some day old chicks at about $3 per chick, and caring and feeding them.  Organic Feed costs $23 per bag.  Chicks take about six months to grow to maturity and start laying eggs.  

We ordered straight run (as they hatch) which comes out to about half males and half females.  The cockerels (males) grow into roosters - they do not lay eggs, and if there are too many they fight and harass the hens.  Why do we order straight run instead of ordered sexed chicks?  The male chicks once sexed, go into the garbage bin.  We choose to give them a life for six to eight months before they head for the freezer.  We butcher our own birds as we believe it is not only less stressful for the bird, the small amount of waste can be kept on the farm.

Ken moving the Eggmobile
Additional birds require housing - minimally during the night when most predators strike (there are birds of prey during the day).  Ken has just completed an "eggmobile" for the hens.

Afternoon feeding
He designed it so there is plenty of light, outdoor access, and easy ways to winterize the structure.

It was a big step, but we hope steady sales from loyal customers will continue to support the expansion.

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