Sep 10 2009

Egg Production Skyrocketing!

Last week we got seven eggs in one day for the first time!  So now we know for sure that they’re all laying.  (For those who don’t know, chickens lay one egg a day at most, and usually skip every third or fourth day.)  One of the last ones to lay was the Ameraucana, and they sometimes lay a pinkish-brown egg, so we couldn’t be sure she wasn’t laying some of the brown ones until we finally got a green one.

Here’s that day’s haul:

First Seven-Egg Day

First Seven-Egg Day

You can see that the green eggs aren’t exactly green like a colored Easter egg, but they’re still pretty cool.  The brown one next to the green one was huge; it didn’t even really fit in the carton.  It turned out to be another double-yolker.  We’ve gotten several of those, but they’ll cut back on that as they mature.  We actually got seven eggs three days in a row, but since then we’ve been getting 5-6, which should be normal.  They’re getting bigger too, so I don’t need six for breakfast like I did at first.

After five months of feeding and watering them, keeping them warm at first, building their chicken house, and chasing them back in when they jump over the fence, it’s pretty cool to be putting our own eggs in the fridge every day.

On the economic side, the chicks cost us about $20, and their feed costs about $20/month.  The big cost was the chicken house, heat lamp, feeders and waterers, fence, and other equipment, which probably comes to $250 or so.  But we’ll be able to reuse that stuff, so let’s depreciate it over a fairly short period of 4 years, or $60/year.  So to buy, feed, and house 8 birds for 17 months (to get 12 months of full egg production) should cost a rough estimate of $450.

On the plus side of the ledger, each hen should lay about 270 eggs in that year (the Leghorn should be closer to 300), for a total of 1890 eggs, or 157 dozen.  The most expensive eggs in the grocery store are the brown, organic eggs, and they’re on a vegetarian diet, which isn’t ideal.  It’s okay for birds, unlike mammals, to eat grain, but they should also get bugs and worms and stuff.  So our eggs are better than those: almost definitely better in Omega-3 fatty acids and a number of other factors.  But even if we only consider our eggs worth $3/dozen, that means we should get $472 worth in the next year.

So we’ll be ahead cost-wise, without even taking into account the superior quality of the eggs, or the fact that 1/8 of our feed is going to a non-egg-laying rooster.  And if our chicken house and equipment lasts longer than four years, which it should, we’re even further ahead.  I wouldn’t mind if this was costing us a little—most hobbies do—but it’s nice to be having fun and eating well while saving money in the bargain.

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