Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An egg!

I went out to feed the chickens this afternoon and what did I find?  My first little Black Star pullet egg!  (How's that for fast turn around?)

Soon enough I'll be coming back from the hen house with 2 dozen or more eggs a day.  A little overwhelming when I think of it, but surely I'll be able to find enough customers.  Since the big factory egg recall, most folks have gained a new appreciation for farm-fresh eggs laid by happy, pastured hens.

Storage is not a problem.  My mother-in-law got a new fridge recently and gave me her old one.  I've got it set up in the basement and have been using the extra space to rest processed chickens before packaging to freeze and to hold extra produce that I can't squeeze into my upstairs fridge.

I've been tracking my egg production on a simple spreadsheet for almost a year now.  I've found it helps me spot problems early (like egg-eating).  It also gives me some numbers I'll be able to play with later on. 

I also want to factor in my feed costs, which I am recording with a handy little program called Chicken Trackin' that I came across over on BYC.  Although I got my copy free as a promo, after using it for nearly a year now I feel that the $14.95 for a licensed copy is well worth it.  If you sell your eggs, you need something like this to help you determine if you are pricing them right.  I will be punching some numbers before I put up my Eggs for Sale sign again.

I've made a few mistakes in the management of my flocks over the last three years I have been keeping chickens.  (Putting up with mean roosters longer than necessary has been one of them.)  I got these Black Stars late in the season because I didn't plan well enough and I wanted to wait until I had money in the checkbook for them, rather than putting them on the credit card.  I was afraid that since they were hitting 20 weeks of age during the winter there would be a chance that they would not lay until spring.  That would have ruined me!  I can't believe how often I am filling up the feeder.

I am currently pondering ways that I can reduce my feed costs.  I will definitely be looking for another feed dealer where I can get my feed in bulk, like 1000 pounds at a time.  Thirty-one chickens eat a lot more than you'd think.  I am also planning several additions to my garden that will supplement their feed next summer.

I have a few ideas for articles to write on managing your small flock poultry.  That will be coming up after Christmas when things slow down a little here on my one sunny acre.

1 comment:

  1. I thought I was the only person who has heard of chicken trackin. When I mention this program people act like I've lost my mind.