Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Time for Eggs!...And Calendars?

Who wants a fridge full of eggs? ME!!

Sadly, we didn't always get eggs, even with our properly mature birds. For the longest time I had been feeding our birds (what I thought was) plenty of food, and they almost always had food left in their feeders the next day. My reasoning for this coupled with the strange lack of eggs made me think that they simply preferred the taste of egg over the feed mix we'd been giving them. I was panicking big time. I did a bit of research and asked everyone I could and the only consensus was that I would have to slaughter all the birds because they would never eat anything else again.

I just love the range of sizes we get!
As it turns out, I have picky birds! They had food left in the feeder because they didn't like it, so I switched up their mixture, put a 5-gallon feeder in their coop and --voila-- eggs are coming out of my ears! We even started getting our first duck eggs, quite the milestone for us (duck eggs are truly a culinary delight).

Its a little like Christmas morning to go into the coops when I get home from work and see how many eggs the ladies have given me, and now they have started laying anywhere between 3 and 8 eggs. What am I going to do with all of these cartons in the fridge? I love eggs (especially cage-free and hormone-free, etc-free eggs) as much as the next person, but we just can't keep up!

Here's the method I use to track my eggs (which I learned from a very smart country gal pal). On the inside of a kitchen cabinet door right next to the back door to the yard I've hung an extra calendar and always keep a permanent marker next to it. That way when I come inside either through the back door or the basement I can quickly write down how many eggs I've gotten that day.

Calendar tracking system
"C" is for chicken, "D" is for duck
Why track, you ask? Well, given that mine stopped laying and it took me a while to notice before, a list of numbers would sure make any problem obvious. Let's face it--if something's wrong with the birds, egg production would be a fairly reliable indicator. Also, I'm a visual person and to see that big number "8", I take a lot of pride in that.

We are beginning to use the calendar system for other events as well. For instance, on a couple of days you might read that we slaughtered some roosters and on another day we slaughtered ducks. That's helpful in the event that if I toss a bird in the deep freeze and forget to label it, I've got a good idea of when it was put in there. And, like with the eggs, if we slaughter a few birds and notice some odd behaviors in the rest of the flock, we could get a good idea of what might have contributed to that.

Now, I'm off to hustle some eggs!

Betty Crockett

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