Friday, November 27, 2009

My $3,500 breakfast

The chickens are old enough that they should have started laying by now.  I have been concerned that they are just laying their eggs in the woods, where I won't find them.  So I locked them in the Moop all day on Tuesday.  When I got home from market and let them out, there were four eggs in their nests.  My friend Pam tells me that I will have to keep them locked up most of the day for at least a week, and then they will get the idea what the nests are for.  She said after that week, they will come back to the Moop to lay.  I sure hope so!!  It requires a whole lot more cleaning when they are in all day.

Here is a rundown of my investment.
  • The truck, retail value at time of conversion, $2,500
  • Materials to convert it, $200
  • Chicks, $75
  • Organic starter feed and laying mash, $136.50
  • Fencing and posts, $60
  • Feeders and waterers, $35 (used)
  • Payment to shareholders who helped with conversion (in eggs), $425
  • Shotgun shells to scare off the hawk (didn't work), $15
  • Monofilament fishing line to keep the hawks out of the pen (did work), $3.50
They were excellent eggs!  I savored every bite, as well I should have.  I just keep reminding myself that I learn the best by doing, and I did it, didn't I?


    1. Susan, I don't think you have to do the whole week-long thing. Here's what I do whenever I have new chickens and I'm trying to get them to use the nesting boxes--or AT LEAST, lay somewhere IN the coop: Don't collect the eggs promptly. Leave them in the nests and let them accumulate a couple-three days. Chickens like to lay where other chickens have laid their eggs. I've never seen them but I've heard there are even fake eggs sold to be put in nests to get new chickens trained this way.

      Also, if they are like any chickens I've ever had, they'll lay between daybreak and maybe no later than 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon this time of year. So, you should be able to let them out of the moop in the afternoon for at least a little free-roaming and the eggs will be in the nests.

      With my latest batch of chickens, once I thought I had them trained I began collecting the eggs promptly, all the sudden I noticed my egg production declined. So I stopped collecting daily, leaving eggs in the nests again to show them WHERE I wanted them to lay and, sure enough, production recovered. So, like you, I've got a bunch of eggs out in the pastures somewhere rotting or hopefully providing a meal to some wild critters....

    2. Hey, Mark, I just read this. I'm heading back out to the Moop with the eggs I picked up the last two days. Thanks for this excellent advice!