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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought pullets from a friend on ours, 6 Golden Comets like our last batch. After the 3rd year, we were barely getting enough eggs to justify feeding them, but kept on until they died off one by one by age 4. Only one of the old ones left now, but she is in good health, although she has quit laying altogether.

I keep them for production, not as pets, but I'm enough of a softie that I'll feed her through her retirement. ;)

The new ones are averaging over 5 eggs a day for 6 of them, or about 85% production. All of them are healthy and looking good, with a heavy coat of feathers for winter. They have a hen palace that is insulated and has storm windows, so they never get too cold in there. The windows all face either East or South, so it warms up fast on cold mornings. I usually don't have to run the water heater until it gets down below 20* F. and stays there a while.

I grind my own feed with a 6" C. S. Bell burr mill, using 3 parts corn, one part wheat, and one part dried pork meat scrap for a protein supplement. The mix comes out to be about 18% protein and has proven to be a reliable formula for good laying. Presently, I am substituting about half sybean meal for the supplement and doing fine on it. I buy corn and wheat stright from the neighbor's combine at market rates, and supplements at the feed supplier. Our present feed cost works out to about 50 to 55 cents per dozen eggs.

We save our eggshells, and bake them dry atop the wood heating stove in a pan to sterilize them. Then, they get crumbled and ground in with the feed for a calcium supplement. That gets us the hardest eggshells I have ever seen. The hens also have crushed oyster shells and granite grit fed free-choice, but I got some thin shells until I added the eggshells back in the feed at a rate of about a cup of crushed shells in 5 gallons of feed. And, I toss in a handful of mineralized salt in the mix. No problems with sickness of any sort so far. (Knock on wood!)

The hens get our garden scraps in season, and any green stuff I can find in winter. We give them table scraps, and whatever food peelings and such that comes out of the kitchen, too.

Already we have a surplus of eggs, so we are looking at drying some as mentioned here some time ago. Will report on that when we do some. IIRC, the deal was to beat the eggs into a foamy mixture and spread it thin on food drying trays. Then, crush up the result in a blender to powder and vacuum seal. Use equal volumes of egg powder and water to reconstitute. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong here! We've been raising chickens for 60 years, but never dried eggs before.
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