Friday, November 16, 2007

Egg Tidbits

During the summer, I fed the laying hens a blend of 18% broiler feed and cracked corn, about 1-1 proportions. They picked up the rest of their protein needs from the insects on pasture, and crushed oyster shells were supplied free choice separately for calcium. In early November I ran out of cracked corn, so they got the straight 18% feed for a few days. The egg production almost immediately jumped from 4-6 eggs per day to 6-8 eggs per day! It makes sense, since there are fewer insects available now. So they will continue to receive the higher protein feed for as long as they continue laying this winter.

Some of the eggs were looking pretty big, so I looked up the weight requirements for the different sizes. According to this USDA publication,

Size or weight classMin net weight/dozenMin weight/egg
Jumbo30 ounces2.5 ounces
Extra Large27 ounces2.25 ounces
Large24 ounces2.0 ounces
Medium21 ounces1.75 ounces
Small18 ounces1.5 ounces
Peewee15 ounces1.25 ounces

The most recent dozen eggs had a net weight of 26 ounces, so they were nearly Extra-Large. I need a more accurate scale to measure the individual eggs, since my kitchen scale only has marks for ounces. Still, if my pullets are laying such large eggs now, just imagine how big they should be after they fully mature.

The hens will be moving into their winter quarters (the brooder house) tomorrow. It's not too cold for them to be out on pasture, but we've now entered the fall rainy season, and it's pretty muddy out there. If I let them stay, they'll cause a lot of damage to the pasture. There's not a whole lot left for them to eat out there, anyway.

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