Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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How much does it cost to raise your own eggs?

Brown eggs

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.)

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.

Golden Comet eggsHow 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 eggs.

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.

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock laying at peak production.

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