I've always liked the idea of having enough hens that I could sell extra eggs and use that money to pay for chicken feed. It sounds like a great idea, but in reality, it doesn't seem to be working out so well for me.
It's winter right now, so my hens aren't laying as many eggs as they do in the summer. On the other hand, they are eating more than they eat in the summer. Fewer eggs and higher feed costs.
On the other end of the transaction, I don't know what is going on, but it seems that many of the people that are interested in eggs don't follow through. I get a phone call, I call back, discuss what we feed our hens (commercial feed, whole grains, fresh items like pumpkins, winter squash and vegetable peels), what breed they are (white rock and australorp), what color eggs they lay (light to medium brown), how much are eggs ($2 a dozen, which is standard in these parts)...on and on, and then the person says they want eggs, I give them directions to our home and we never hear from them again. Or, they call three days later to say they got busy or forgot, and will I be home today?....and we still don't see them.
It seems like the best plan of action would be to eat or sell off all but a very few hens...and our rooster. I can't have one roo with just 3 or 4 hens - he will stress them out. If I have enough hens to keep him busy, then I'm feeding too many birds and getting too many eggs.
The benefits of a mini flock are sounding good about now. I've got a mobile pen that I can use to pasture them, and if there are just a few birds, they will be able to forage for a lot of their food - grass, bugs, seeds, etc. If we just get 1 or 2 eggs a day, we'd be fine. We like eggs just fine, but we don't eat tons of them. Feed costs would be lower. Cleaning out the henhouse would be less of a chore too.
Today I'm leaning toward a smaller flock, but we'll see.
I wonder if anyone has ever offered laying hens in blog giveaway?