Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2010 Egg Count

Well, we've done it. We've collected a full year's worth of Egg Counts. Over the course of the year, the accounting became more finely-grained. We began to record significant weather events, such as the May rains that brought the flood, the record drought from July to September, and the November snow that once again caught us unprepared for the shift in seasons; we began to record precisely (i.e., in decimals) the odd eggs at the end of each day; and we began to count the number of eggs discarded, whether from being dirty, broken, or otherwise inedible. In addition, we also began to note the days on which I moved the hens to fresh pasture, as well as any major disruptions to flock life such as a hawk attack. Below find the numbers, as well as some hen highlight photos from the year that end with them in winter bivouac.
Throughout the course of 2010, the hens of Ecotone laid a grand total of 26,906.28 eggs, or 2,242.19 dozen. Over any given day this works out to an average of 73 eggs, or just over 2 dozen, from an average of 284 hens over the year. (Remember that the first flock of 150 hens was joined in March by the remaining 150 or so, which didn't begin to lay until late October.) Each Ecotone hen, then, laid an average of 10.02 eggs per month.
Of these, however, only 2,204 dozen actually got into the hands - or rather the mouths - of Ecotone egg eaters, as we discarded a full 40 dozen eggs in the course of gathering, cleaning, and transporting. Noteworthy is the fact that only after I began to record this number does it actually seem to have gone down. A welcome artifact of accounting, I suppose.
For the entire year, the Ecotone hens ate a total of 21,436.90 pounds of feed grain at an average of .24 cents per pound. While for the first six months we fed commercial grains from Edward's Feed at an average of .17 cents a pound, in July we transitioned to organic grains from Windy Acres Farm at an average of .29 cents per pound. Total grain costs for the year, then, were $5,078.87, or about $450 a month. Add to this the supplements such as kelp and calcium we've mixed in since transitioning to organic grains, and total feed costs were well over $500 a month.
To view these same numbers from a different perspective, each Ecotone hen ate an average of .26 pounds of feed per day, or 9.49 pounds a month. Each day, in other words, both flocks ate a total of 58.73 pounds of grain, for an average daily feed cost of $14. Thus for the year - which included three months of almost no eggs at all - the grain to egg ratio was 9.56 pounds per dozen, or .80 pounds per egg. In this way, the average feed cost per dozen of Ecotone eggs for 2010 was $2.26, or .19 cents an egg.

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