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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rancher hicks, Sep 23, 2011.
Is anyone here considering downsizing due to feed costs?
If so how do you decide who to keep?
Either the ones you are most attached to. The youngest ones, or the ones that lay the best eggs (or the ones who lay the desired color.)
I am not downsizing but if i were these would be the questions i would ask in order to find which ones i am getting rid of.
Oh, and another way to minimize feed costs try free ranging in a bigger area if you already free range and if you dont just let them free range.
Mine are starting their third year next spring. It is time to make some serious decisions on how many useless mouths I plan on feeding, or if it is even possible.
I am thinking that the layers of thin shelled eggs will be the first to go. The mess they make on the other eggs are a problem.
The second ones to go will be more difficult. I have 22 of them and would like to keep the best layers.
Only problem now is that they are slowing down due to the shorter days, and also I do not know who lays what.
I would like to hatch out some new blood soon, but I already have more than I want. I may just pick my best layers let them hatch a dozen. I would assume half of those will be male, so six chickens for eggs sounds about right.
I am not sure how to figure out who lays what. I had heard of putting food coloring in their vent and seeing who lays what color. That would probably be my best route.
Out of 22 hens, I get about six eggs a day. I may just keep those six hens and chicken stock the rest.
I am feeling old and tired and weary, and poor. some chicken soup might help.
6 eggs out of 22 hens?? lol! Those poor girls better up the output!
Lot's of chatter about this lately.
If I had to pay Purina or similar $16 a 50#? Yes, I'd downsize the flock to a personal use size, as egg sales prices just won't support that feed cost.
However, I've found local, old fashioned feed mills that sell layer mash for $9.50 for a 50#. We'll just have watch the price of soybeans and corn to see how high this is going to go. I enjoy keeping the hens, but will not do so at a loss.
I understand that chickens waste alot of mash type feeds. I was using crumbles and switched to pellets on advice from my BCF. (best chicken friend )
I think there is a mill here though.
Now as far as whose who. I just had an idea to put color bands on my birds using three colors so I can tell who is the oldest. Keeping a record of the color of the youngest birds and rotating them. I figure I can remove the bands as I sell the birds right? I have Dels mostly so unless there is a specific pattern to their feathers they can be hard to tell apart. Right now I have 20 or so hens and 2 roosters. I also have 11 br's that are new from MO. Not laying yet. I also have an assortment of Orps. 13 , 1 Lav Amer roo and 5 EE's, and 2 frizzles.
I'm considering selling 6 of the younger Dels , since I need the older for hatching. I also noticed some black spots on some of the BR hens so they're no good for breeding.
As a worm farmer I have to get creative to get the composted food for my 1000's of worms every week. I have learned that there are stores and companies out there that are willing to help folks out. I have 2 Subways that donate veggie scraps to me on Weds and Sat. I have contacted the local restaurants for food scraps for my composting. I have talked to local Grocery Stores to save waste products for me from the produce dept.and bakery dept.
You do not have to feed your birds pellet food or specific grains only. A balanced meal like any other living creature you have lots of sources but you have to go out to get it bc its not going to knock at the door and say to you here you go you can have all my scraps. Go meet the local Manager in the produce department and get friendly. Go shake the store managers hand and tell him what you need and ask for help. People are friendly and helpful if you just ask nice. For your information every restaurant has prep stations and they throw out tons of trimmed food that can not be served to the general pubic but it can go into the run or coop to feed your chicks. Go to the local bakery and get breads day old buy muffins day old. There is a will if you want to do it.
Quote:I would begin keeping the most efficient birds to include the older hens that are past their prime of two years or so. I would consider converting my flock to Production Reds and White Leghorns, which are very efficient egg layers.
We stay with 35 to 40 hens and go through 100 pounds of layer pellets a month at 14.50 a bag (was 9.50 a bag just 1.5 years ago)....
We go through custom mix of scratch and other seeds weighing about 70 pounds every 2 months as we use very little and that adds 30.00 to our costs.
Add to that a bale of alfalfa at 14.50 a bale and lasts several months used as treat.
They also free range in a 2.5 acre fenced yard (sometimes let out into the larger area of property) half the day.
Our hens lay enough to support themselves in egg sales, give us all the eggs we need, and have a good bit to put away.
We are in Arizona and sell our eggs for 2.50 a dozen to a well established customer base.
We rotate hens at about 3 years old and average between 25 and 35 eggs a day in the good months less when over 100 degrees and molts, but still get enough to stay out of the red.
We have no other expenses really and coops etc. were paid for years ago being made from mostly free materials we have laying around stored on the property.
Labor is not figured in because I enjoy caring for our 2 flocks.
We will likely be staying with this number as it works for us and no downsizing needed as long as we have buyers for our eggs.
I get layer feed for 9.50$ form my local IFA. and when bakeries get stale bread I also get that.