I’d been hoping for an egg scale for Christmas, one of those cool vintage ones, something like this:
Gorgeous, yes? And how about this art deco one?!
Is she not breathtaking?! A little out of my league, I’m afraid, price-wise.
When my hens first started laying, The Man and I took great pleasure and pride in giving them away to family and friends. And then all the hens were laying, and we had rather more than we could even give away. So, we began to sell 6 here and there, but at what price?
The eggs were small at first, and so I calculated how much the six eggs cost us in feed. Not the coop or the bedding or the fencing or the treats…just the feed. If ten laying hens go through a 50-pound bag of feed in just over three weeks (I told you they were good foragers), and produce somewhere in the neighbourhood of six eggs a day, and a 50-pound bag of organic layer pellets costs about $25…
Then, ten laying hens eat approximately one pound of feed a day, at a cost of $1/day. If they produce approximately six eggs a day, then each carton of six eggs represents about $1 of feed.
Still with me?
So, on the few occasions I do sell our eggs, it’s for $1/half dozen. We’re not even breaking even, but that was never the point of the venture. There’s a Backyard Chickens Forum member whose signature is: “The first egg costs $700; all the rest are free.” That first number varies from chicken owner to chicken owner, of course, but it’s always more than you thought it would be, or should have been. Always.
Come spring, as our girls finish their pullet year and enter the most productive spring and summer of their lives, I am assuming that their eggs will begin to increase in size, and, at that time, we’ll go to $2/half-dozen. It might seem a lot, but our hens are free-range, pastured, and fed organic feed. They are pampered and spoiled, and if they’re not actually happy, they damned well should be.
So, how big are our eggs, then? They seem a proper size to me (especially Pip’s and Haley’s), but, then, I haven’t seen a store-bought egg in months. I was looking forward to checking them out on a scale. The official US sizing system goes like this:
Jumbo: < 2.5 oz. (71g)
Extra Large: < 2.25 oz. (64g)
Large: < 2 oz. (57g)
Medium: < 1.75 oz. (50g)
Small: < 1.5 oz. (43g)
Peewee: < 1.25 oz. (35g)
I didn’t get my egg scale for Christmas, but I understand one is forthcoming. It seems there is an antique egg scale in the family, originally belonging to The Man’s grandmother, passed along to his aunt, then to his aunt’s neighbour in West Virginia when her need disappeared. Communications are underway to see if that neighbour still uses the scale, and, if she doesn’t, it will make its way here.
A charming story, but I need a scale!
As fate would have it, I found one in our kitchen catch-all drawer. Old enough to be ugly, but not old enough to be beautiful. You know? But it works. I lowered one of our larger eggs on it with excitement, to learn it was…
…barely a Medium.
THUD. Then…really?! I’ve weighed dozens of them now, and have yet to have one that makes it to Large status. Alexia’s this morning was a Peewee. How mortifying!! (I jest, of course. But, still…)
So, I will wait for my pretty scale, and use the ugly, utilitarian one in the meantime when/if we get a larger-than-usual egg, and keep hoping for Larges and Extra-Larges. We’ll get there in time, and, when we do…
$2/half dozen, thank you very much.