Small-scale Egg Production

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by millbrookfarm, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. millbrookfarm

    millbrookfarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    3
    26
    Nov 16, 2014
    Oklahoma
    I don't claim to be an expert at small-scale egg production, but I am doing some research on the subject with plans to increase our own production with the intent of selling more eggs to others.

    I would like to discuss here the methods you've used increased the production of your hens either through management practices or breeding methods.

    My idea is that by focusing on small scale production the exchange of information will be greater given that we are most likely not in competition with each other selling our product.

    I hope that this first post will be continually updated with more information that I can refer back to as well as others.

    (if there is already a thread like this then mods please delete)

    Small scale egg production from Penn State Extension
    http://extension.psu.edu/business/a...-scale-egg-production-organic-and-non-organic

    Breeding chickens for Egg production
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/ALBCchicken_assessment-2.pdf

    Book?: Egg Marketing from the UN
    http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/Y4628E/y4628e01.htm#TopOfPage

    Small-Scale Pastured Poultry Grazing System for Egg Production
    University of Hawaii
    http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/LM-20.pdf

    Book: Profitable Poultry Production; has chapters on egg production
    http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library/ppp/pppToC.html

    Here are some threads here at BYC that have to do with production qualities:

    Breeding for production eggs and/or meat
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/845018/breeding-for-production-eggs-and-or-meat

    Sustainable Meat/standard bred dual purpose bird thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1076131/sustainable-meat-standard-bred-dual-purpose-bird-thread

    I will add more information as I find more.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  2. nsscchd

    nsscchd Out Of The Brooder

    94
    9
    33
    Jun 3, 2015
    Thank you for this list! I found it interesting in the Penn State article when it stated you could get started with 1,000 hens. Such a high number for a starting point but I know that is extremely small compared to the commercial egg farms. I find that the work hasn't even started until the eggs are in their cartons. I love everything up until then. Sometimes it can be trying dealing with the public.
     
  3. millbrookfarm

    millbrookfarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    3
    26
    Nov 16, 2014
    Oklahoma
    Yeah 1000 hens isn't my idea of small either. We have decided to go with the CSA model for selling our eggs. So far it has been successful. What is your experience with this model?
     
  4. nsscchd

    nsscchd Out Of The Brooder

    94
    9
    33
    Jun 3, 2015
    I have no experience with a CSA. I am talking small. I only have ever sold from about three dozen hens at a time so sorry, not much help.
     
  5. nsscchd

    nsscchd Out Of The Brooder

    94
    9
    33
    Jun 3, 2015
    May I ask, how many hens do you have? What made you decide on this number and has it been economically sustainable?
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  6. millbrookfarm

    millbrookfarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    3
    26
    Nov 16, 2014
    Oklahoma
    What you just described is about our size. Just over 3 dozen hens.

    We started this year with about half that many hens and decided to do a test run with a couple of friends. Four shares total. Next year we are planning on having 10 shares (6.5 shares already sold). It is pretty exciting when you are doing something you love and make a little cash from.

    Ultimately, I have plans to have 50 shares with about 150 laying hens. Still small scale compared to the big "egg factories."
     
  7. nsscchd

    nsscchd Out Of The Brooder

    94
    9
    33
    Jun 3, 2015
    In all my experiences, it seems there's such a fine line in everything between finding a way to profit and going too far and burning out on something you once loved.

    I don't want to get into how much I love my chickens because we all do here. Whenever I tried to sell too many eggs, brood too many chicks at once, or raise too many meat birds at once it became drudgery instead of a hobby.

    Please don't get me wrong, if one is truly trying to make a profit to live off of, there will always be some tasks that are pure work. Myself, I was just trying to lighten the feed bill so I could Enjoy my hobby.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    36,751
    10,519
    686
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you have a CSA contract detailing cost and expected production, would you care to share it here?

    How old are your birds?
    Have you been thru a molting/winter season yet?
    Will(do) you use supplemental lighting in the winter?
    What's your population turnover plan?
     
  9. millbrookfarm

    millbrookfarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    3
    26
    Nov 16, 2014
    Oklahoma
    I do not have a contract per se but I do have an order form and a letter I give to every potential member. I will not share the order form though for this reason... it apparently sucks. :) I've had to walk people through filling it out over the phone.

    The letter I give them simply tells my story and why I am doing this. I'm currently in a completely different field of work and some people wonder why I'm getting into farming. I tell my story that it's a boyhood dream.

    I have a group of chicks right now that will serve as our main birds for next year. I will probably have five 2 year hens next year. I will be butchering/rehomeing my hens for this year.

    I have been through a molting/winter season. I have had no problems with people understanding about the drop in production.

    I do not now use supplemental lighting, but I am considering it to just have a better understanding of when the eggs will start and stop. I would still give the girls a two or three months off.

    I have kept hens for 3 years and I don't think its that great. I think I will keep them for as long as a commercial operation would but instead of just processing them at the end. I would try to sell them to our members if they would like a flock at home or on craigslist. I have also just been using sex links/production hybrids and they simply don't produce that well in their second year. My plan is to get a couple of breeds and focus on production qualities with the hopes that they will maintain a decent production in their second and third year. I really wish that there were a lot more breeders that were focused on production not just the SOP which isn't inherently bad either. It just doesn't serve my needs.

    I want to say again. I am NO expert. I am just starting out, but I am trying to learn which is what this thread is really about.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Pasturedpeeps

    Pasturedpeeps Out Of The Brooder

    32
    0
    34
    Nov 10, 2015
    Talent Oregon
    I have around 100 laying hens and sell about 90+ dozen a month and use primarily RIR from hatcheries. But turns out they are not really RIRs at least not SOP. They are ok but definitely not my favorite.
    I would also like to have a pure bred flock. I feel like it would fix some of the problems I have with my hatchery birds. I would love to have a standardized size and weight, fast growth, better point of lay, and better egg size and shape to name a few. I’m planning to slowly grow the size of my flock up to the 200 range and I think it would be possible to do so with a purebred flock. My hang up is starting. I get cold feet due to lack of experience in breeding for production.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by