Vamping Up Egg Production

Jr. vamping up egg production by helping collect eggs.

It’s been nearly six weeks since our hens started laying. I can’t tell you how much we have been enjoying our farm fresh egglicious treats! Our homemade waffles, pancakes and baked goods are so much more light and fluffy. It’s amazing. And the girls have been saying they notice a difference in how the eggs cook as well.

Our original flock of hens.

I was slightly ambitious and marketed our eggs right away and quickly sold out of them! Yeah, even before we had eggs to fulfill orders….but we have a waiting list in case anyone dwindles off! Incredible, eh? We even had someone stop by the other day and asked if we have eggs – that’s with no signage whatsoever except for the farm magnet on our van which only states our farm name and phone number…no products but I guess they can see chickens when they are out. ;)

All my marketing efforts were simply via email and we have a paid listing on Eat Wild ($50/yr) and Local Harvest ($25 suggested donation/year), but only one egg customer came through Eat Wild and she’s on our waiting list. Gotta love free to low cost marketing.

So based on this experience we will be increasing our flock for 2013 and have already started. We have a broody hen setting on two eggs now. It’s kind of an experiment because we came across two fertilized eggs while candling them so I decided it won’t do any harm in letting a hen sit on them to see what happens.

Broody hen update: The hens are sitting on the eggs but they don’t seem to be sitting on them consistently so I think we will be looking to borrow or rent an egg incubator to hatch out a batch of fertilized eggs. It’s kind of disappointing not to have one devoted hen unless something went wrong with the eggs or something. We may try again…we’ll see.

Candling to those unfamiliar is simply putting a light under the egg and slowly turning the egg to see if you find a dark spot, otherwise known as the fertilized egg. Candling is also used to detect any defects or cracked eggs.

Our hens have laid up to 17 24 eggs a day, then we had that cold snap and their production trickled back down to several a day. Then we (or my hubby did with Peanut’s help) winterized our coops since we will be over-wintering 32 hens/roosters and two turkeys and today we are back up to 15 eggs in a day. So we should be able to supply our egg customers with eggs this weekend. Yay! I am so excited to finally see our hens start paying for their keep! ;)

New flock of 100 red sex-links, not a heritage breed, unfortunately.

Please Note: this was written weeks ago and just kept getting pushed back. And last week we purchased a flock of 100 one year old hens, sooner than we thought we would buy more chickens, but when the opportunity came from an area family farm we know and trust and with people waiting for local eggs we just went ahead and did it. The “new” hens are giving us 60-70 eggs a day and I really need to get marketing them as a few leads fell through from our waiting list. I have a couple of leads to follow up on and we have an event on 12/15…but I won’t be taking two week old eggs there because our slogan is “Fresh. Local. Every Time.” and I don’t want to be accused of not having fresh eggs.

Turkey egg and yes, they are a brown speckled egg.

Brownie, our turkey hen, also started laying…but bah-humbug she’s not very maternal. :( Disappointing to say the least but we have a farmer friend who asked if one of our daughters would be interested in incubating turkey eggs for her and we’d split the hatch, which will be a very cool farm, homeschooling learning experience! Farmer C has heritage breed turkeys which is what we wanted to try next year so here’s to hoping it all works out and goes well. We might even try and incubate some of Brownie’s eggs as we do want to do Midget White Turkeys again. They are very yummy! We ate one for Thanksgiving dinner!

Tom and Brownie, our Midget White turkey breeding pair.

Tom, our turkey tom, is still strutting his stuff. ;) Every day this is what our pair of turkeys looks like with Tom following Brownie around.

So we are really vamping up egg production around here!

Oh and we finally got our electric fencing, but have yet to get the solar panel up and running. Technically we aren’t suppose to use the fencing or the solar panel during the winter or with snow, but we haven’t had any heavy snow yet….so we are keeping it up until the snow flies at least.

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