We've had the chickens for nearly 15 weeks. All three chickens seem to be surviving this weather just fine. The coop is *full* of poop every time I open the door, implying that they are spending most of their time inside. That's fine; it's too cold for the litter in the coop to be pass-out-stinky. Unfortunately, if I don't collect the eggs in the evenings, I get to throw them out in the morning because they break as soon as they hit the 10-degree air.
I'm ok with losing some eggs to the elements, though, as we have far more than we need now. The first big freeze in January was, apparently, inspiring to my white chickens. They really turned up the production and started beating out the red chicken for number of eggs produced right after that first cold snap, and they haven't let up since. This month, we went up from an average of ten-twelve eggs per week to eighteen
eggs per week.
And we have just hit the point where the chickens are paying for their own food, provided I assume their eggs are gold-plated farmer's market eggs.
So, the updated "chicken math" would be as follows:
Chicken chow: $20/bag, lasts 6 weeks. (Actually $17/bag plus tax.); total purchases now $60 approximate
Eggs produced: 186. 1.8 average per day, or 12.5 per week (includes the first week, but only counts edible product)
Eggs average over the past month: 18 per week (edible eggs only)
Cost of a dozen "free range" eggs at the farmer's market: around $4. (I can find them for $3.50 sometimes.)
Chicken payback is now complete if I only count food expenses and the most expensive eggs at the market. 186/12 = 15.5 dozen. 15.5 dozen at $4 a dozen is $62. Or, in shorthand, $60 < (186/12)*4
Next expenses to add into the calculation include the oyster crumbles (still on the first bag - $8) and the two bales of straw bedding (also $8 each) I've used.
As mentioned, I am keeping a spreadsheet regarding egg production and expenses. The interesting part of the report is the summary section:
|Total good eggs
(My last "chicken math" post was November 20
. Right after that was my Nine Weeks of Chickens
report on December 16th.)