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    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Simple math: more chickens, more eggs

Posted by joeabbott on March 7, 2012

imageI’m home this week and all thoughts are about Spencer. He’s with us now and we have time off this week to share with him. I find little energy or interest in carrying on with the normal routine: we’re eating a lot of fast food and snacking, I’m playing video games, and taking naps. Whatever you can do with a cat at your side. In the minutes we give him respite from our constant doting, I look for things to do and little is of interest. But I did promise a post on our chickens and egg production from last year so here it is.

The chart to the right shows how many eggs we’ve gotten per month since we’ve started raising chickens.

In our first year, even though we didn’t get our three hens until 2/26, we managed to haul in 544 eggs! Even more curious is that we didn’t really give any away. Through Suzy’s baking and our weekend breakfasts, we managed to consume them all. And, to the unasked question, I answer “no, we do not have a cholesterol problem”.

All was well that year but, as you can see, things slowed down in 2011. Our production never really picked up in late Spring and in early July, our Alpha hen died. She wasn’t contributing much to the egg production toward the end so we still managed a few more eggs that month.

We knew she was dying so, around that time, we got four new chicks to raise; they wouldn’t be laying until late Fall, but we picked up young ones anyhow.

We believe it was their cheep-cheep-cheeping on the property, however, that brought the raccoons. About two weeks after getting the chicks, our prize layer was killed and three days later (in the middle of the afternoon) one of the young chicks was killed. Adding insult to injury, (and likely due to stress) our final adult bird started molting and so all egg production stopped from mid-July through August.

imageIn mid-September we picked up three new hens, still too young to lay for a while, and we slowly started getting eggs from the second generation of birds. At this time we had four laying hens.

2011 ended up seeing 366 eggs in our nest box… about an egg a day: the first nine months saw about 180 eggs; the last three months saw 190. It was that summer we had to buy eggs from the store for the first time in over a year.

As you can see from the chart to the left, however, 2012 promises to be a bumper year. It is just barely March and we’ve had 275 eggs already! We’ve had so many that we once had eight dozen in the fridge and started giving them away to family and neighbors. At least Suzy’s side of the family. For my relatives back in MN, they’ll have to visit my sister Laurel for their poultry produce: she’s been raising chickens for years and I’ve contacted her several times for help or advice. Thanks, sis!

To read the chart above, the colored bands labeled ‘6’, ‘5’, ‘4’, … are the number of eggs we got on a given day. In Jan 2012, it looks like we got just one 6-egg day; but in February 2012, we had five six-egg days! The overall length of the column is the number of eggs in a month. Pretty clearly February 2012 is the month to beat! And, yes, August 2011 we really didn’t get a single egg: the loss of our layers and a bad bit of molting saw to that.

The chart to the right shows the egg production we’ve had, year-over-year, since we got the chickens. Our first year (the blue line) we had a bunch of eggs but our second year (red) we flattened out until our second generation birds started laying; and look how 2012 is starting out! That’s with seven laying birds, though.

I’m hoping for a nice, quiet 2012. No predator drama, no additions to the flock, just the status quo of feeding and watering, and seeing to the hen’s well being. Oh, and picking up all those eggs every day! Thanks for reading.

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