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Posts tagged ‘Flock Management’

Egg Money

One’s (butter and) egg money Fig. Money that a farm woman earns. Farm women would often sell butter and eggs for extra money that would be stashed away for an emergency. “Jane was saving her butter and egg money for a new TV. I’ve got my egg money. Let’s go shopping.” — From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

Image credit apronmemories.blogspot.com

Growing and/or producing some portion of your own food supply can have liberating effects on your wallet and your life. It is a small step towards self-reliance and peace of mind, and not only are you able to feed yourself and your family, you are also sowing a more local food economy.

For some, greater control over food sources means producing their own food. For others, it’s having direct, face-to-face access to local producers. Eggzy enables both; providing tools for producers, and direct access for consumers, while emphasizing community, transparency and cost sharing.

The advantages of a small home-based business like an egg stand can be empowering. What if you aren’t able to grow your own?  Find local egg stands near you and help support a flock owner by sharing the costs of production.

 

Reduced Daylight Affects Egg Production

For those of us in northern climates, the cold weather is an indicator of the slowing of egg production, a time for the hens to rest a little more and produce a little less.

Interestingly, temperature seems to have less to do with slowing production than hours of daylight.  It seems that the bird’s reproductive systems are highly affected by the amount of sunlight received per day – “When day length falls below 12 hours per day, egg production decreases and may cease completely. (eHow)

Generally, there are many factors affecting the egg laying rate of a bird; the age of the bird, it’s feed and housing conditions, and whether or not it gets free range to run outdoors; remember a happy hen is a productive hen.

Probably the greatest determinant of a bird’s year round productivity is its breed. The breed of the bird will help to identify strong layers vs. say, show birds or dual-purpose birds. Some breeds are known as ‘cold hardy’, these are birds that have been breed for optimal performance in northern climates.

In addition to relying on hereditary traits for optimal productivity, many people supplement the amount of light their birds get with artificial lights in order to stimulate production.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “… When darkness falls artificial lighting can be introduced for two to three hours, which may increase egg production by 20 to 30 percent.”

To create lighting schedule that’s right for you, “… a good rule of thumb is that the total length of light per day, both artificial and natural, should be no shorter than the longest natural day length the hens will experience…” (thepoultrysite.com) In other words, calculate the average day length during your summer hours and replicate for your birds in the winter.

For your convenience, we whipped up the little widget below that calculates your latitude (based on your IP address), and then recommends how many hours of supplemental light you should apply based on the day length at your latitude:

Eggzy’s Supplemental Daylight Calculator

And if that seems like too much work for you, feel free to take the poetic advice of Terry Golson and just let your hens rest up over the winter in preparation for another busy season come Spring. According to Terry’s HenBlog Before there were battery-cage “farms,” eggs were a seasonal food. By New Years an egg was precious.”

Resources:
http://www.ehow.com/
http://www.fao.org/
http://www.albc-usa.org/
http://www.eggzy.net/
http://www.thepoultrysite.com
http://www.hencam.com/

 * Originally published on December 14, 2011

Flock Owners: 5 Good Reasons to Create an Eggzy Egg Stand

Got a backyard flock? Eggzy puts you in control. We’re building easy-to-use-tools to simplify flock management and record keeping. You control how things work – whether you share, barter or sell your eggs, Eggzy gives you the information you need.

  1. If you’re a registered Eggzy flock owner, creating an Eggzy egg stand is fast and easy (http://www.eggzy.net/flockowners)
  2. Keeping an egg stand encourages regular usage of Eggzy tools – which encourage good agricultural practices (GAP)
  3. Egg stand owners can share flock info and egg availability with others easily by way of the subscriber feature (http://www.eggzy.net/help/#posting)
  4. Egg stand owners gain exposure from press and promotions
  5. Launching an Eggzy egg stand is free to create and free to use, so why not start (or update) yours today (http://www.eggzy.net/help/#customizing)?

* This post was originally published on September 24, 2011.

Count Your Eggs!

We speak to lots of folks who keep chickens and the degree to which flock owners’ track flock productivity varies wildly. Some flock owners track productivity mentally, taking note of things like egg count, color and size. Others we speak to go all out and create complex spreadsheets to track things like time of day laid, size, weight and location of each egg laid for each bird!

Keeping a record of your flocks’ egg production and laying habits is actually an important part of raising healthy birds. At a minimum, it is important to keep a record of the amount of eggs laid, preferably daily. As pointed out at farmingfriends.com “Poultry can stop laying and if you know the dates that this occurs it allows you to track any changes that may have occurred such as change in feed, weather, housing, lighting or the introduction of new birds which may all effect the egg laying of poultry.”

For us at Eggzy, we also believe in the many benefits of small-scale entrepreneurship that selling your eggs can enable. What Patricia Forman calls the Home Eggri-business. By tracking how many eggs you are getting from your flock today, you can determine how much you can expect to get tomorrow and next month and so on.

Why is it so important to track your flock productivity?

  • Helps to identify disease or illness
  • Helps to compare breed productivity – which birds are better layers
  • Allows you to project how much you can sell and as such earn from eggs sales
  • Helps to determine your return on investment from the birds

When you use Eggzy to track your flock production you’re accomplishing two things at once;

  1. You’re capturing important flock behavioral habits and gathering important information that will help you to manage your flock.
  2. You’re sharing your flock info with others who are interested in any surplus that you may have to sell.

Do you count your eggs?