Chicken financial update

Having gone to quarterly updates i am now able to procrastinate even longer than before.  Unfortunately, they are not true quarterly reports, they are progressive annual report for the first three, six, nine and twelve months of the year.  I will have to talk Annmarie into alterring my report spreadsheet.  She is very busy now at work so it is going to have to wait.  I want a predator tracking section also.  I am thinking about making a tunnel to connect my greenhouse to the chicken coop.  I just need a greenhouse.  I am picking up the windows next week and after taking some measurements I can start working on some dimensional plans for it.

The first six months are on track for a possible break even year.  The sad part is I have stacked all my major expenses in the last quarter.  I dug out the coop and installed new litter and bedding for a cost of $90 and just ordered 25 baby chicks to arrive next month at a cost of $77.  I am still having issues with my chicken door.  It keeps blowing fuses and I am not sure why.
For the first six months of this year I averaged 25.4 laying hens/day,10.7 eggs/day, 43% productivity (slackers), 0.35 lbs feed consumed/egg produced, feed cost $0.09/egg, income $69/month, expenses $46.38/month, net income $22.62/month, profit to date $135.70, amount of feed consumed 640#.
For the first nine months of this year I averaged 23.5 laying hens/day, 9.6 eggs/day, 41% productivity ( should have been better over summer), 0.33# feed consumed/egg produced, feed cost $0.09/egg, income $59.33/month, expenses $37.31/month, net income $22.02/month, profit to date $198.22, amount of feed consumed to date 840#.

Rainy chores

It rained most of the day, which just makes working outside miserable.  I had on two light jackets, a heavy vest, a knit cap, gloves and a baseball cap.  I thought I would be cold.  I was supposed to be working on the barn yard gates but got distracted.  I ended up digging out the front creek.  There was still an upper section that had not been done yet.  I dug it out with a metal rake from each side.  I had to drag over two wooden panels to go over the creek so the sheep cannot crawl under the fence.
Annmarie`s plan was to make the barnyard sheep proof so we could let sheep out both ends of the barn.  Plan B was in order, I cleaned out all my tools in the anteroom just inside the barn in front of the tackroom.  I moved a feeder in and tossed out a bale of straw.  The momma and baby got moved in and now they can get themselves to water and shelter.  We did shut the sliding door tonight so no predators can get them.
I found a local source for straw and am picking up a ton on Monday.  We are using it on the floor.  It was only $60/ton, which is a great price plus I don`t have to drive very far.

Babies… it really is time again.First

 It is that time again.  Annmarie went out to let the sheep out of the barn two days ago and found this little guy laying next to one of the feeders.  She coaxed momma into one of the prepared jugs (sheep creche) so the momma and baby can hang out together separated from everyone else.  This lets the baby get stronger without having to run around everywhere and try to keep up with mom.  It also keeps them out of the weather and warm.  This is our first baby from the new ram.  If you look closely you can see his face is more square than our other babies from years back. 

First baby of the fall and our new ram.

He was also very healthy and strong.  We are not sure if it is because he is a single or if it is the new ram.  The first few twins will tell whether the ram is the cause.  If he is throwing stronger lambs then go boy!  The jugs worked out great.  The only problem now is I don’t have the barn subdivided to keep the mommas and babies in one side and everyone else in the other.  Subdividing is not the big deal.  The big deal is there needs to be two separate entrances into the barn and the outside fencing has to keep the two groups separate with both groups having access to running water.  We hate carrying water in the winter and since the front creek never freezes we don’t need to as long as the animals can get to it.  This means more fence building for me.  I need to put hanging boards off of two gates so the sheep don’t crawl under the gates.  I also need to drive in two metal posts into the ground on the back fence.  Hopefully, this will make the main barn lot sheep proof.  The momma/baby area just needs a panel across the creek so they don’t crawl under the fence at this location.  I also need to finish nailing the back barn lot/ram pasture dividing fence in place.  It is currently held in place with two fence tighteners.  Not ideal, but really I have been busy at the new job and haven’t had a lot of time. 

I also need to make a metal lid for the grain bin in the barn.  I have decided to do this out of two pieces of tin roofing.  I am just going to beat them flat on the anvil.  I also have to make a handle so you can let the grain out of the bin.  So fencing and grain bin are the next two projects.  I really want to get to the sorting chute, but alas not yet.  This may very well become the Thanksgiving project with Doom. I was hoping to do a closet in the laundry room instead of the chute.  There are still two closets that need to be built in the laundry room. We will see. 

There are seven more ewes that will deliver in the next few months.  Our babies are not old enough, we don’t expect any of them to birth until they are over 12 months old.  On a plus note we have already gotten almost 9/10 of an inch of rain this month.  Amazingly, the ground is not muddy and sloppy.  The ground has absorbed every drop of rain and croaked for more.  I think we could tolerate another whole inch before it started to stay on the surface. 

Chicken Coop Blues

Chicken coop deep litter hand dug out.

 Today was the day to clean out the chicken coop.  I love the deep litter method because you don’t have to clean the coop out all the time.  I am supposed to clean it out yearly, but I think I went almost 18 months this time.  It needed it badly.  It wasn’t helping that Annmarie and Monica were getting eaten by some bug.  I shoveled out the entire coop and then drug the shop vac in and went to town with it.  I vacuumed all the cobwebs and dust from the coop along with the floor.  I vacuumed out the nest boxes also.  After it was nice and clean I used two bug bombs in the place and locked all the chickens out.  Two plus hours later when I went in to lay down the new floor litter I found all these tiny little bugs covering the floor outside of the nest boxes.  I had some powder to dust the chickens with that I used in the bottom of all the nest boxes first before filling them with a layer of pellets then some pine bedding.  Now I just need to get some more wooden eggs out to the coop.  Two boxes are missing wooden eggs.  Annmarie asked me what I was going to do with the pile outside the coop.  I am just going to spread grain over the top of the pile every day until the chickens have spread it out evenly over their yard.  Much more energy efficient that way (no energy on my part).

Baby area ready for chickies.

 The baby chicken area is all ready to go.  I just need to install a new light bulb in the warmer and get the feeder and waterer down and ready to go.  Next week we will mail order some new baby chickens.  I only have 17 hens now and they are only producing about 7 eggs/day.  So it is time for new blood.

It rained last night we got 1/2 inch of rain.  That was the second longest dry spell in recorded history for us. It is supposed to rain again on Sunday and Monday and we need it.  I would love to get at least 1 inch total. 

Chicken coop looking in from front door, cleaned and ready for use.

More Work.

More work.

 I had been meaning to go by the scrap yard and look for some more fencing.  I ran out after this last round of fence building.  I had just dropped Sarah off at school after her job shadow so I figured I would just drop in on the metal scrap yard.  I was actually greeted by a nice rough looking gentleman and inquired about some woven fencing.  He asked if I wanted sheep fence and I said yes.  Mind you I was wearing a t shirt, no hat, cargo pants and my slippers, not exactly scrap yard attire.  He had three very large rolls which is plenty to get me up the hillside.  It might even be enough to put some on the horse fence my brother-in-law installed this summer.  If I could stop the sheep at that fence it would cut down dramatically the amount of outside fence I would need to repair before I could turn the sheep loose.  On the off chance I asked about a small set of discs.  He showed me some that had just came in yesterday.  The set I had seen this summer did not last.  Packy, the owner, had told me that they typically don’t last, but they come in every few months.  So I told him I would take those also.  The price for scrap is $0.25/lb.  I ran home, put some boots and a hat on and hitched up the trailer.  I showed up and he loaded the trailer for me.  I picked up 584# of fence and a 742# disc for a total of 1326lbs at a price of $331.50.  In other words, I paid $150 for the fence and $180 for the disc set.  The fence new, it is red brand, would cost about $750-$900.  So I saved a minimum of $600.  I was also able to put in my order for more used tin roofing and more sheep fencing for the spring.  I LOVE the metal scrap yard!!  They have saved me a small fortune already.  The nice gentleman gave me a business card, “Irish Iron” a subsidiary of the Doherty, LLC.  I love the name.
I need about 10 minutes of welding on the disc to make it 100% functional.  I was pretty excited.  I passed up the 3 point plow with two blades.  I just don’t think I need that yet.  In the future maybe, but not now.  I have been resting for the last couple of days.  My left elbow has been bugging me for a couple of months and fencing always makes it ache.  The chicken coop has priority this weekend.  I will get it all dug out and bug bombed and new wood pellets in it. Then I need to fix the gate in the barn lot and put a handle and lid on the grain bin I mounted in the barn.  We are getting there slowly. 

Disc set so I can start getting ground ready for reseeding.