Are you tired of posts about chickens and eggs yet?
We have been busy this week with extra rehearsals for a concert tonight by the local orchestra and choir we sing and play in. Plus we've had a crew in finishing up our workshop for us (more on this later). But everything ground to a halt when we realized our original pullets had laid their first eggs.
We've had eggs for a number of weeks now, but they've come from the slightly older flock we got from Ev. Our original birds, the ones we raised from day-old chicks, have been showing a lot of interest in what the big girls have been up to in the nest boxes: they've been cruising in and out of the coop to see the laying process in person, and have been practising the clucks and calls that seem to be a necessary part of the whole process.
And then two days ago Kim found the first egg in the younger flock's enclosure in the coop. Celebration!
The first eggs that a pullet lays are often smaller than normal, or oddly shaped. In the photo above, the top egg is one laid by an experienced pullet, while the bottom two (one long and skinny, one very small) were the second and third eggs laid by the first-timers. They are the sweetest eggs ever.
We're currently averaging seven eggs a day from the nine older pullets, so when the seven younger birds are up to full steam we're expecting about a dozen eggs a day. Consequently Kim has plunged head first into the sales side of the equation. Our friend Margaret, who still works at the school we left to become farmers, has been our guardian angel: she volunteered to take on the task of distributing our eggs at the school and collecting the money. Kim goes into Victoria to the school every week for a band rehearsal, so this week she brought in the first 3 dozen for Margaret to sell - and they were snapped up before she could even put the word out. And Margaret had the wonderful idea to include stories about the Mucky Boots Farm chickens in each carton, so that's what we're doing.
I have to say, nobody would ever get rich selling eggs. Once the chickies are up to full production they should be covering their costs (organic feed is not cheap), without much profit to speak of. I was worried Kim might be discouraged by this, but she is content looking at it as a hobby paying for itself, with fresh, high-quality eggs for us to eat as a bonus.
But it has given us even more respect for anyone who tries to make a living producing food for the rest of us.