Well, it seems that there is a market for free range, organic eggs. Who knew that they could be this popular?
I should have known, since that is why I bought 6 hens – I couldn’t guarantee myself a fresh supply of eggs from others. Then, as documented, I liked this breed and that breed and…
Then some of my friends liked them, so I bought a “few” more chickens. Then Carolyn said that her friends would love to have any extras. So, now I have (at last count) 63 hens, and not enough eggs for everyone that wants them.
There are a few variables affecting the egg supply here at Stone’s Throw.
One is room constraint. I only have one chicken coop. It would be nice to build another one for roosters and to brood chicks, but do I really want to do that? That’s a lot of coop cleaning!
The second issue is the Egg Supply Board that limits me to 99 laying hens, unless I want to buy a quota. Of course, the smallest quota is for 2,000 hens. Not likely.
As well, the supply goes up and down naturally. Chickens go broody: they stop laying and sit on a nest as if there were eggs under there to hatch. It is very difficult to persuade them to change their minds. You can see that they come from stubborn dinosaurs originally. They puff up and glower and screech when you try to move them.
Some of the hens’ eggs will be diverted to breeding chicks. Not a huge number, but it will impact numbers in the spring.
Late in the summer or early fall they moult, and stop laying. They are putting their energy into producing new feathers. I have read about fellow poultry breeders who have 300 hens and no eggs. They have to buy eggs themselves. It is quite embarrassing.
So, what to do to keep everyone happy?
I am thinking about it. I have to have the right number of chickens to be able to do things the way I want to.
For example, I am now looking at 3 large trays of wheat grass that are going out to the chickens today. Lest I forget, there is the yogurt and the bananas and the cabbage and the squash…
I have ordered extra hens – in fact I will have about 180 birds come summer. That would include turkeys (about 36) for Thanksgiving/Christmas, Redbro meat birds (number to be determined) and the various laying breeds, some of who will be roosters. Unlucky roosters, unless they’re especially handsome.
But that should help. In the meantime I ask for your forbearance as we try to make sure everybody gets some. Perhaps not every week, but with some regularity. Spread the joy around.
UPDATE: 3 large flats of wheat grass – 5 days to grow. 30 minutes to eat down to the dirt.