Originally Posted by Fire Ant Farm
...I am relatively new to this chicken-keeping thing. Keeping this data is helping me jumpstart my experience. It also helps me compare actual weights vs. what I see or feel when I handle a bird, and to see different patterns of growth in big bodied birds over time. It's also helping me as I think through which to cull for the freezer. You have all your experience to lean on... I am the type of person that will probably always collect data..
I resemble these remarks. While I grew up with caring for hatchery chickens, I am quite new to applying rational principles to chicken breeding, and am a lifelong obsessive-compulsive science nerd. I also believe that every personality trait can be either a useful tool or a handicap, depending on its current context. So, while my first two forays into chicken breeding gave me practice at evaluating chickens via tactile and non-tactile information, my flocks have been so non-uniform that they have been easily culled/mated without the detailed records I have been keeping. I am still keeping the records, because I have faith that my flock will improve to the point that those records will be useful! LOL!
(On a different topic, I don't know what is officially recommended for rabbit tractors, but I would put a wire floor of some sort in them. My pet rabbits dug out of their open-floored chicken tractor about every other day.)
Originally Posted by Beer can
...If you noticed I didn't mention feed costs, I would rather not know...
I am not keeping track of costs, for the same reason. It is still apparent to my husband that grocery-store chicken and farmers' market eggs are much cheaper than my meat and eggs. I expect that organizing the hatching/growing/culling season will significantly improve my efficiency, as will tailoring their pens/housing to our property and climate. In the meantime, I remind him that this is a wholesome, relatively cheap hobby for me! Instead of spending our money on fancy clothes, cars, boats, antiques, jewelry, et cetera, I want additional mobile fence-panel chicken tractors. We have about 3 acres of fairly level sandy soil near the house and out of the flood plain, and I don't enjoy shoveling out the stationary coops.
My ultimate production goals are still to produce the healthiest, most nutritious and delicious chicken eggs and meat possible, enough to supply my household year-round. My current daydreams feature learning to can, and possibly freezing or freeze-drying excess eggs. Someday.
Still eating that metaphorical elephant one bite at a time,