Once all of our pullets
started to lay, I decided to crunch the numbers and figure out the feed
to egg ratio. I estimated that our free ranging, six month old
flock currently has a feed
conversion rate of
2.1:1 and a feed cost of about $1 per dozen eggs. (We don't
spring for organic feed and do free
range the flock so
that they eat less then you'd expect.)
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Of course, you also have
to factor in the six months we spent feeding those hens before they
started to lay. I estimate each bird ate about 20 pounds of feed
during that period and will eat another 23 pounds or so during her
second six months of life. If she lays 0.067 pounds of eggs per
day (4 medium eggs per week), her first year's feed conversion rate
will be 3.5:1 --- right up there with the meat from pastured Cornish
Cross. That equals a cost of $1.67 per dozen medium eggs.
does that compare to our previous flock of Golden Comets? Unfortunately, I just
didn't keep enough data to know for sure. Mark dutifully writes
down the number of eggs he brings in from the coop each day and I can
estimate how much I fed each hen per day. But I didn't realize I
should weigh the eggs as well --- our Golden Comets laid extra-large
Live and learn!
From now on, I'll try to keep track not only of how many eggs are laid,
but also of their average weight and of how much feed goes to the
laying flock. It's just as important to make your laying flock
cost-effective as it is to make broilers pay for themselves, and it's
hard to know if your strategies are working if you don't have numbers
to back them up.