Chick Order Placed!
Last night I placed the order for chicks to fill the big new coop! The new flock will arrive the week of August 24, 2020.
Today being March 30th, that gives us just short of 5 months to get the micro-farm ready. Even that isn't entirely true, what with the flock already jumping from 18 layers to 36 this spring (plus one other planned addition to the farm that we'll talk about in a future post). It's going to be a busy spring and summer!
When envisioning the "big coop" flock, I was originally picturing 50-55 Red Star hybrids. Our first 6 chickens were Red-Stars (right around 6 years ago). They're great layers of big brown eggs and smaller birds, so they have a good feed-to-egg ratio.
Looking through a hatchery catalog a few weeks ago, though, I stumbled upon two interesting breeds - Whiting True Blue and Whiting True Green. These appear to be very good layers, smaller birds, and also good feed-to-egg ratios. They are a little different looking, both from the Red Star and from each other. Oh, and they lay colored eggs...a pale blue for the Blues and an olive-ish green for the Greens.
I figured if we're going to be giving away eggs to those in need, we might as well give away eggs that bring a little joy. Our current mix of eggs range in color from white to green to light brown to dark copper (see a picture here). These eggs are a joy to look at...and I'd like to share more egg joy!
So, we have 54 female chicks coming in late summer. 18 each of the Red Stars, Whiting True Blues, and Whiting True Greens.
If the size of the current flock holds and we don't suffer much for losses, this should put the entire flock at 85-90 by the end of the summer.
Breaking down the cost of our chick purchase:
18 Red Star chicks cost $66.42 @ $3.69 each.
18 Whiting True Blue chicks cost $77.04 @ $4.28 each.
18 Whiting True Green chicks cost $77.04 @ $4.28 each.
54 Vaccines for Marek's Disease cost $10.80 @ $0.20 each.
54 Vaccines for Coccidiosis cost $10.80 @ $0.20 each.
McMurry offers a "round up" option where you round up your order to a round number with a charitable donation. This week the non-profit was the National 4-H council. Love it!
A $7.90 "round up" donation took us to a total of $250.00 total.
The chicks come with free shipping, and apparently I also get a "free surprise unsexed chick" with my order. I'm sure it'll end up some large breed rooster who wants to eat a ton and not produce any eggs, but hey, maybe just maybe we get a hen!
$250 dollars isn't chicken scratch (ha ha), but I think it's a good investment. The chicks will arrive at the end of August, and start laying roughly 20 weeks later, probably just as the days start to get longer in January, 2021...the start of "Year 1" on Helping Hens Farm.
If each of those hens lays 280 eggs in the first year, that's 14,000 eggs for the year, or roughly 1,165 dozen. Yes, there will be other inputs, but 1,165 dozen eggs for $250 comes out to 21 cents a dozen.
This is going to be so fun!
Left to right, that's the Red Star, Whiting True Blue, and Whiting True Green.
All 3 images from McMurray web site where I ordered the chicks.