We currently have 11 chickens and three ducks – they are lovely characters and have become family pets. Unlike most pets they are also useful as they provide us with a supply of lovely fresh eggs.
I often wonder if we have too many birds?
How many would be the perfect number to provide eggs for our family of five?
My hubby complains we don’t have enough and he would love to add more varieties to our collection.
An important consideration is how much space you have. Our chickens live in the orchard and share two houses. We try to keep the chickens and ducks separate at night but they will often tuck up together. In fact, the chickens love going to bed with the duck – maybe he is seen as a replacement cockerel?
The chickens and ducks live on grass and if we have too many we lose the grass and end with a mud bath. Fewer birds would ensure we always keep the grass.
Regular readers will know that I am always trying to use up eggs. We have a noticeable lack over winter and a huge glut in summer. We are not keen on pickled eggs so they all tend to get eaten fresh, baked or given away. I do sometimes sell a few at work.
I wonder if it makes economic sense to have all these extra eggs that I am trying to use, give away or sell. I make a little money but I don’t think I cover the cost of keeping them.
So, from our birds we are collecting between 8-10 eggs a day at the moment. We are eating lots but I could easily manage on less than this. As we lose hens we replace a few at a time to ensure we always have a mixed age range. This helps keep up the supply of eggs. I am wondering about not replacing any for a while so they naturally reduce their numbers.
I think 4-6 eggs a day would be more than enough. That’s 28-42 a week! I could still provide some for family and friends but at a more manageable level.
So less birds would mean fewer eggs, less cost of keeping them, less mess, less wear and tear on the garden and less cleaning out!
I think I just have to persuade the Hubby!