Posts Tagged ‘newhampshire’

The Egg Business – Progress Report


Our 7-year-old son runs the egg business on our farm.  We paid the startup costs – buying the chicks, converting an emu hut to a coop, and buying feed and supplies.  Once the first group started laying, he took over the rest.  He now buys the food, cares for the chickens and eggs, markets the eggs, and keeps records of his production, income, and expenses.

Small-scale farming is not a big money maker, and as we’ve put together our 5-year plan, we can see that we’ll have to get a bit bigger before we can realize any significant profits.  However, based on just the past few months, eggs are a good place to start.

With proper care, we’re finding that our original flock of Rhode Island Reds and Araucanas (10 pullets, one cockerel total) produces an average of about 8 eggs a day.  That’s about 20 dozen per month.  The young flock consists of 12 Barred Rock pullets and their cockerel, and up till now, they’ve been eating and not producing.  Supplemental feed for the combined flock runs him about $25/mo…  less in the growing season and  more in the Winter due to availability of forage.  So the rough cost of production is about $1.25 per dozen.

You just can't get fresher eggs than these!

Out of that 20 dozen, our family uses about 8 a month and gives away another 2.  We pay him at production cost for those.  The remaining 10 dozen have sold pretty easily at $3/dozen, so combined with the ~$12 we pay him for the eggs we use, he’s been clearing a bit under $20 a month.  Of this, he puts a good portion in his “giving” jar (currently he’s giving that to missions in Haiti, but he’s looking at other places for the future), and splits the rest between his “saving” and “spending” jars.

Well, this week, the Barred Rocks started dropping an egg or two, which means pretty soon our production will double.  His first thought was, “that’s OK, it won’t be too hard to sell twice as many eggs.”  However, we had to explain to him that although his production is doubling, the number of eggs he’ll have to sell will actually triple (because we don’t plan on upping our family consumption to 20 dozen a month!).

So, it’s on to more marketing.  He’s already made a deal with the local feed store to buy his eggs, but they only pay $1.50.  That’s enough to make a small profit, especially since his cost per dozen should drop significantly now that he doesn’t have so many unproductive mouths to feed, but it’s not nearly as nice as $3.

This whole process has become a supplement to our homeschool curriculum, as he’s not just learning animal science, but  math, accounting, business skills, marketing, and communications also.  And of course, he’s learning a lot about both personal and social responsibility, lessons that will be even more important throughout his life than the “three R’s.”  Regardless of what some might say, that kind of agricultural education certainly doesn’t seem useless to us!

If he can manage to sell 30 dozen a month at the going rate, that’s about $75 a month profit.  That might bump up a little if he’s successful in raising chicks this Spring.  That’s too bad for a backyard business, especially if you’re a Cub Scout.

Do you raise chickens or other livestock on a small scale, and if so, do you do it for profit, as a hobby, or both?  How do you market your products?  I’d also love to hear other ideas for getting kids involved in business and financial planning at an early age.  Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting!

Advertisements

Pre-Christmas Snow


The snow hit a few days early… we’re hoping it holds for a few days.  Meanwhile, the light tonight was so good I had to drop chores to take photos.

The Flying T Spa


Upon reflection, and after unloading and stacking ~240 bales this afternoon with the assistance of my oldest daughter and Kevin from 3D Farm Products, I have come to the realization that there are few things more redundant than owning both a farm and a gym membership.

This is what 10,000lbs of hay looks like... notice the goats looking longingly at the trailer

That got me thinking more.  People are shelling out good money for gym memberships… why not offer spa and fitness center services along with eggs and meat?

Meet one of our personal trainers as she demonstrates a Flying T signature move – the “45-lb dead-lift-and-heave.”

Step 1 - Select your Hay Bale

Step 2: Twist and Heave

Step 3: Follow Through

Some spas tout their “hot rock” treatments.  At the Flying T, we find cold rocks do a better job of strengthening backs.

Our middle daughter’s favorite exercise is the double bucket lift.

Another oldie-but-goodie is firewood stacking (we also offer splitting mauls to mix aerobics into your strength routine).

The wheelbarrow haul is great for legs, arms, and shoulders, while also building core strength.

Looking for more of an aerobic workout?  Chasing chickens beats windsprints any day.

No chickens were harmed in the filming of this blog

Another aerobic exercise we discovered last week was the midnight horse chase… to set it up, the kids need to forget to close the pasture gate.  The rules for the exercise are that you have to be lying in bed and can’t start chasing the horses until you hear hoofbeats running past your window.

But wait, there’s more!  Goat wrestling, fence pulling, horse saddling, hoof-picking, duck finding… we’ve got endless exercises to keep you trim and fit.

Don’t take a vacation, take a Fitness “Hay-cation!”  Contact us today!

BTW, in all seriousness, if you need quality hay delivered in Vermont or New Hampshire, we highly recommend the Daly Brothers, Kevin and Marshall: 3dfarmproducts@gmail.com.  In addition to their trailer (240 squares or 22 rounds), they also can deliver by the tractor trailer load (about 700 squares).  We don’t get anything for referrals, but tell them the Flying T sent you… and ask them how they liked the jams!

One more note – lots of farmers in New England, including the Daly’s, lost crops or didn’t get much of a 2nd cut due to all the rain late this summer, but costs are still pretty close to last year.  We’re still praying for all those down in the South and Southwest dealing with the drought.  See our poll and tell us how much hay is going for in your neck of the woods!

Night Pics


My daughter and I snuck in after bedtime to take some pics of the barn at night.

Hey, we're trying to sleep in here!

Ducks roosting up for the night

Zip savoring his hay

...while Jasper is already done with his food.

While we were out, the ducks decided to take a midnight stroll

The goats were decidedly unhelpful with posing

Heading back in for the night

What’s your favorite thing about being outdoors at night?  Any great memories?

Another Rock in the Wall


With the unseasonably warm days we had in the beginning of November, we put some of our other work (including some of the kids’ studies) aside and got to work improving our rear pasture.

The rear pasture is about 1.25 acres and “rough” to say the least.  Based on the size of the poisonous pin cherries throughout the pasture, we figure the pasture has been let go for a good 5-10 years.  We’d previously cleared about a quarter to third of it, and then broadcast spread winter rye seed on that area.  Despite the very suboptimal conditions, the seed has taken relatively well, though not nearly as vigorously as other areas on the property with better soil and preparation.

Over the past week, we got working on the next bit.  The easiest part was cutting down about 20 cherry trees and white pines of various sizes, cutting the larger stuff for the firewood pile while my wife and kids drug the slash to the burn piles.  I also cut up a large white birch the beavers had dropped a bit further down the hill.  More on them in a future post.

Meanwhile, as I was at work, my wife and kids got to pulling stumps, filling holes, and moving rocks.  We’ve got a lot of rocks – it’s not called the Granite State without reason.  Even with the help of the tractor, it’s a lot of work.

Moving rocks is hard work!

Teamwork is essential

A smile makes the work go faster

They're heavier than they look!

Notice the huge brush piles in the background that they've been busy with as well

I’ve helped a bit, but most of the work on the wall we’re starting to build at the edge of the pasture is due to their efforts.  It gives us a new appreciation for the sturdy farmers who built the thousands of miles of rock walls 200+ years ago without farm machinery.

It's a good start!

Our hope is to have enough pasture clear by next spring to have three 1/2 acre paddocks to rotate (two in the front pasture, one in the rear). That will still require some supplemental hay to avoid overgrazing, but will be a lot better than our current situation and make for healthier and more productive pastures in the future.  The seeding plan for the back pasture is to follow the Winter Rye with a good layer of manure and reseeding with Japanese Millet in the summer, then rotate back and forth between the two for at least one more year to break up the weed growth cycle before we move on to more traditional forages.  In a few years, I would like to have a solid Orchardgrass and White Clover pasture established there.

David’s Eggs


Our son is responsible for the egg business, and just started selling them.  It’s wonderful to see him so excited to do the work, keep the records, and care for the chickens and eggs.  The text below is from the flyer that he puts into each carton (you can click here to see his webpage).

Hi, I’m David, and I run the egg business at the Flying T Ranch!

I feed the chickens and water them, and I take care of them.  Every morning, I check the chickens to see how much food and water they have, and I look for eggs.  Every morning, I find some!  Then, I wash the eggs and put them in the cartons.  We eat some, and give some away, and sell some to other people.

With the money I make, some of it goes in the egg jar (to pay for chicken food), and some goes in my spend jar, and some goes in my giving jar.  I give the money in my giving jar to people in Haiti.

My chickens are free range.  I don’t feed them any chemicals or other bad stuff, so their eggs taste great!

The chickens roam all around our farm, and lots of times they follow me around wherever I go, so they get plenty of fresh air, exercise, and natural food.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed getting them for you!

– David

Trail Ride Poems by Another Guest Blogger/Poet


Our 11yo daughter was encouraged by the response to her older sister’s blog posts, and asked that we post these poems, written about a trail ride from last month.

—–

BEAR BROOK STATE PARK

We’re going to Bear Brook Park today

On the trails, Jasper will lead the way.

He’s prancing, snorting, and kicking up his heels

Happy, excited, and hyper he feels!

For lunch we stopped at a little clearing overlooking a lake.  This is what happened:

At Bear Brook State Park

Jasper really left his mark.

When he tried to eat some moss,

We all thought he was a silly hoss!

After lunch, we walked through an enormous forest of pine trees.

Proud, tall, and erect,

Pine trees pointed in lines stand,

Pointing to heaven.

We came to a tree root.  It was sticking out of the ground like a step.  By this time, Dad and my brother were riding Zip and my sister and I were riding Jasper.

When we came to a root in the ground

Zip stepped over the little mound

Jasper, however, would not step up,

And instead he sprang over and up!