I know everyone has been dying to know how my chickens did financially in 2014 so here is the long awaited summary. I made $762, the most money ever, raising the prices helped dramatically ($378 more than last year). My annual expenses were $394 ($86 less than last year, buying feed on sale in 500# increments paid off). I purchased 1500# of chicken feed an increase of 150# over last year. My average laying hens for the year were 18.5 hens (a drop of 0.1 hens). I attribute the increase in feed to raising babies in the spring and in the fall. I currently have 9 chickens in the pipeline to start laying eggs in March. I will get another dozen this spring also. I am going to add another raised perch in the coop to add space. We keep turning customers away. I collected on average 9 eggs/day (an increase of 3.1 eggs/day over last year) for a hen productivity of 49% for the year (an 18% increase!). This is where buying chicks in the spring and previous fall paid off. If I can keep my productivity around 50% it is perfect for the breeds and free ranging. The hens consumed 0.45 lbs of feed/egg produced (0.18 lb/egg less than last year). It cost me $0.09/egg in feed expenses for a total feed cost of $1.08/doz ($1.32/doz less than last year). My actual cost per dozen with all expenses added is $1.43/doz ($1.87 less than last year). I was charging $3/doz until April when I raised the price to $4/dozen, that price increase made a big difference. 2014 was definitely the year of the chicken. I need to keep my chicken numbers up. I cannot let the predators or old age bring my production numbers down. It takes me 6-8 months to raise the chickens to a productive age and it can drastically change my outcome. I will start keeping upwards of 35 birds all the time. That way if I get 15 killed I can keep that 20 average going for the year.
I had a few issues with my chicken door but now have lots of spare parts and can repair it myself. We talked about adding a solar panel to the old chicken coop and running 100 birds. I am unwilling at this point to do that. I would need a small fridge that could hold 25 dozen eggs and they would have to be collected every day. I would need to add a subdivision in the building, clean out the feed room, add another electric chicken door running off of a car battery and solar panel. Plus, I would need an enclosed yard with a top! The coop is 100 yards from the house and if we are going to be gone I would need the birds to be safe. I would have an external gate that would be open most of the time to allow free ranging. I figure around $500-1000 to install. I would then move all my chickens out to that coop. I would use the close up coop for raising babies as it has electricity. If the price continues to rise on eggs I may consider it. I will watch out for those feed sales and jump on them. I know I will need at least 1500# for the year so It will be much easier to figure out how much to buy. I did find a calculation issue in my chicken spreadsheet. We had one month were we did not use any chicken feed. The spreadsheet didn’t use that month when calculating its averages. I will have to get Annmarie to make it smarter! I do data entry only on any spreadsheet and if I could figure out how to get out of it I would! She maintains the sheep and cow spreadsheets. I messed it up a few times too many.