Feeding the Family: Chickens & Eggs
Whew! We made it through Christmas without going into debt. That in itself is an accomplishment. Actually it does not feel too much like winter here in our part of Texas. It is 75◦ F at 8:00 in the morning. We had a few tornadoes a couple of hours away from the house last night and are on high alert for more today as a cold front tries to push its way on in.
As we now have a week between Christmas and the New Year, our thoughts turn toward making plans for the upcoming year. Part of our plan making is how to feed our family. When we think about how to feed our family, we are not talking about how cheap and how we can stretch it all barely keeping our family fed. Instead, we want our family to eat nutritious abundant meals that will benefit us in maintaining our health, keeping illness at bay, and giving us strength to do our best at work and school. Of course when we plan our meals by doing our own fruit and vegetable gardening and raising our own animals to slaughter and butcher for meat we do know we are providing good and healthy foods for our family because we know how we grow and raise them.
Today we are planning our meat for our family. Our first order of business is our chickens. Currently, we have 9 hens and 2 roosters. The only reason we have 2 roosters is because one of them is faster than lightening and we can’t get him cornered, but our goal is to eat our extra roosters. Hopefully when the hens get a bit broody in spring we will have some chicks and can have more roosters to eat. The 9 hens are providing us with about 3 dozen eggs a week. Usually they don’t supply us with this amount of eggs in winter, but it has been unusually warm this year. We’ve been putting the eggs to good use with all of the holiday baking and using them to feed all of our holiday guests.
In the spring we expect even more eggs. Our plan is to sell our abundant eggs for $3 a dozen. In Texas a person can sell backyard eggs if they sell only eggs that are produced by their own flock. A person needs a license to sell at a farmer’s market. We usually sell to friends and neighbors, but might put a sign up in front of the farm next to the street and see if we get any takers. It would be nice to increase our farm income or at the very least break even so that the eggs our family eats is at least free to us. We order egg cartons on line and print up some labels to add to the carton. There are many places to order egg cartons. We personally use www.eggboxes.com. On the labels we have to have our name and address and add that the eggs are non-graded, which means that the eggs have not been determined by grade nor size. Of course after gathering the eggs we follow clean sanitation procedures and store the eggs in our refrigerator.
Of all the farm animals we have, chickens are the easiest to take care of especially if they are allowed to wonder about the backyard supplementing their own diet with fresh insects. They tend to be happier and produce more eggs to feed our family when given a bit of freedom.