I have just recorded the final egg count for the year of 2011. Our nine chickens laid a grand total of 939 eggs! That is just over 78 dozen eggs. It is not until you count them up that you actually realise how productive our little girls really are.
Here are the stats, month by month in reverse chronological order.
December – 86
November – 91
October – 102
September – 102
August – 86
July – 58
June – 74
May – 41
April – 40
March – 79
February – 72
January – 108
Most of the girls moulted in April and May which is reflected in the stats. When they grow feathers, they stop laying to divert energy to that task. As it warms up again the chickens begin to lay again.
That is the happy news. Now for some sad news. The chicken in the photo, Jennifer, is no longer with us. She passed away two days before Christmas, of an infection that started in her eyes. We had her isolated from the rest of the flock for a month and a half before hand, and she actually got better for a period of two weeks, then all of a sudden went down hill really fast. I was sad as she was my favourite chicken who used to follow me everywhere. Any pet passing on is hard to deal with at the best of times. Yes folks, a few tears were shed, I am man enough to admit it. Some may say she was only a chicken, and she may have never laid a single egg in her lifetime, but we had a close bond.
On the bright side, the other chickens did not catch the infection due to the quick quarantine that I put in place. They are all healthy, with only a few scaly leg mites to deal with, but I treat that fortnightly by dunking their legs in olive oil which does the trick. Other than that small issue, they are keeping cool in the nice undercover area I built them, and love to scratch for worms in the morning, and dust bath in the afternoon. The bantams love a dig under the plum tree each afternoon clearing up any dropped fruit and bugs, then they pop back into their run before sundown.
Due to the hot weather, I have been making sure their water is topped up. The chicken nipples that I installed worked fine, but unfortunately the water barrel got contaminated from bird droppings and stunk really bad (the irony), so I now have to install a first flush diverter to fix this problem. Until then I have to hand water each day, sometimes twice. I am hoping for cooler weather to fix it up this weekend.
So all in all, the benefits of having backyard chickens outweigh the occasional heartache. They provide us and our garden with so many things. Eggs of course, compost machines, fertilised mulch, pest control, weed control and continuous entertainment. They are far better at catching pests than I could ever be, and actually like doing the weeding. So they can do what they are good at, and I will do what I am good at like feeding them a bit of mixed grain, garlic and apple cider vinegar as well as giving them first dibs at any kitchen scraps. They are the ultimate garbage disposal unit.
I love my chickens. Thanks for the eggs girls.
Sorry about your little favorite getting sick.
Gavin, that’s a lot of eggs. Around here that’s about $254. worth of eggs, not to mention the value of fertilizer, weeding, bug control, etc.
brenda from arkansas
Bruise Mouse says
Sorry to hear about the loss of Jennifer. It is always sad when an animal dies. It is fantastic that your quick thinking saved the rest of the flock.
The figures you have written really excite me as we are planning to get 4 chicken in the next few months.
Sorry to hear about Jennifer. I love my chookies too and was upset for weeks when a fox killed one last year (plus guilty as it was my fault).
A question on the water nipples – will they freeze in winter when you get frosts? Is there a way to prevent that without having to go out each morning and defrost them?
Sorry to hear about Jennifer-chook, Gavin. It’s never nice. Psycho was the first chook we (and the kids) have had to handle losing.
On a positive note – your post led me to Google search to a link to another link – and I finally worked out what’s wrong with our Snow White 🙂 Started treatment yesterday and can already see an improvement, so thankyou 🙂
Hi Gavin, 78 doz is very impressive! How many chooks do you have? And, can I ask, what do you do with all the eggs? Can they be preserved?
Gavin Webber says
@ brenda, here in Oz 78 doz free range eggs are worth about $390 ($5 a doz)!
@ BM Cheers. Once you get chooks you will wonder why you didn’t do it earlier.
@ Melinda. I am not sure about the nipples freezing. It is still summer here, so will have to wait 6 months before I find that out.
@ Kristy. What did Snow White have? Is it a fairly common ailment?
@ Anon. We ate about 75% and sold the rest for $5 a doz to friends. They can be preserved. Have a look at my post on pickled eggs for more info. These last about 8 months.
It’s always sad to lose a chook. You have inspired me to count our eggs this year. I have no idea how many we get, but enough for our needs and a few more.