Feed conversion rate and cicadas
Joel Salatin opened my eyes to the fact that I've been comparing apples
to oranges with my feed
He explained that the industry standard I've been trying to live up to
(2:1) uses liveweight of the chickens --- in other words, how much they
weigh "on the hoof" with feathers, guts, and all. I've been using
carcass weight in my calculations, the industry standard for which is
closer to 3:1. That seems much more achievable...
...Especially if I
supplement our flock's diet with cicadas! Yep, I'm here to admit
that my feed conversion rate for this first batch of broilers is going
to have no relation to reality because the 17
year cicadas are
going strong this spring. I suspect that if I had a way to let the chickens run free without
having them decimate the garden, I wouldn't be feeding the flock
anything at all --- our broilers snap up the cicadas like candy, and
there are so many of the insects that I can easily gather a jarful like
the one shown above in twenty minutes.
Because I just can't resist
throwing in numbers, here are some to think about. An ounce of
cicadas (liveweight) consists of about 38 individuals, with the number
depending on how many are males and how many are females. (I'm
guessing the big ones are girls, but thirty seconds on the internet
hasn't confirmed this.)
My flock of broilers can
eat those 38 individuals in about three minutes, but only about 16% of
the humans I offered insects to were willing to taste
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