Monday, August 23, 2010

Country Homestead Tour #1: Hens

breakfast in the #14

Well isn't this timely. We are in the midst of a half a BILLION egg recall in this country. Seriously. Something is terribly wrong. And I think most of us know what that is.

I thought, as we started this blog that it would be fun to periodically give a "tour" of the parts and pieces that make up our homesteads. Here in the Country we have a diverse range of animals and vegetables (weeds) and other random things that make life here what it is, and what we love. So, to kick things off, lets start with the very thing that got us started on our path. The simple, lovely, and oh so tasty egg.

Years ago we started out with a half dozen hens. Somewhere in the middle we got up to about 60 hens. Now we are happy with our 8 hens. Things are constantly evolving here!
So here's the deal. We eat eggs. We eat our own hen's eggs. We eat fresh eggs. And after that--all other eggs seem pretty...well, pale in comparison. If you have hens, you know what I am talking about. Having a few hens in your yard is a no brainer. Its easy, inexpensive and a wonderful lesson for the kids on everything from care of animals to reproduction to responsibility. The birds are good for pest control and, properly managed, offer fertilizer in return for being well fed.

Lets look at some Eggonomics, just in case you are on the fence about whether to bring feathered friends into your life. A dozen organic, pasture raised eggs (organic feed and grass and sun) costs $5.00 retail around here. A dozen of the same eggs from your own back yard will add up like this:

$7.00 pullet will lay about 60 doz eggs over her 2 year laying life. So she costs about 12 cents a dozen. A good layer (RI red, Golden Comet, Barred Rocks) will eat about 5 pounds of feed for every dozen laid. That 5 pounds of organic grain will cost you about $2.20 around here. So your cost per dozen is $2.32! Using non-organic feed you can cut the feed cost in about half.
Of course, there is some up front cost for housing, fencing and whatnot. Some people go crazy .
We go with the more "homebrew" set up involving yard scrap lumber and free tarps. But we have no neighbors to offend, and we take advantage of that.

So now if you are not totally numb bored from me taking you to egg school, you can enjoy a few pics of our ladies and their lovely accomodations. No egg recall worries at this house. We encourage everyone to do the same!

Toasty warm in the winter inside their hoophouse
Summer living, easy, with their mobile range house and fencing

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Thanks for visiting with us girls...put your feet up and stay for a while.