This is another Dragonwood egg report… we haven’t had one in a while. In short, February has been nothing short of amazing. In the first week of February the hens were laying about 6 eggs a day (range 3-8) and had been doing so since November. It’s now the 26th of February as I write this, and today we got 26 eggs. That’s an increase of about one egg a day for three weeks straight! Go ladies go!
For reference, this is the way egg season seems to work. As the hours of daylight get longer, the ladies lay more eggs, more frequently, and as the hours of daylight wane across the summer, the egg laying falters. For us, it means eggs start coming back in February, peak in June, and start waning in earnest come September. From mid-October to late-February we don’t get enough eggs to sell, and barely enough to eat ourselves (and an occasional dozen for nearby family). In mid-summer, we get roughly 2/3 production daily - two of three hens lay each day.
Our flocks are pretty naturalized… we don’t give them artificial light or artificial anything during the winter to force them through molting faster or to stimulate laying. The most artificiality they get from us is that a couple times a winter when the temperature at night is going to fall below zero we might turn on a heat lamp for the coldest hours.
By contrast, it’s standard practice at egg farms to completely manage lighting cycles for hens so that they lay as many eggs as possible with as little seasonal downtime as possible. This is equivalent to cracking the whip over those slave hens. The hens have a brief molting period artificially imposed, and then it’s back to work.
Them: Egg Slave Factory Farms.
Us: Hey, take four months off, you deserve it. Thanks for all the hard work.
So, now it’s February and the eggses are landing. We’ve got lots of teeny pullet eggs coming in from the new flock we raised last fall, as well as increasing numbers of large eggs from the older ladies. This photo is the first dozen eggs I collected today, laid out in the fresh snow on our picnic table.
We get so used to our big eggs that we think the pullet eggs are just SO TEENY that we call them “culls” and never sell them to anyone. But I began wondering, just how small are these eggs? And how big are the big ones? So I got out the market scale to measure a few, and now I can quantificate our eggsitential nature for your edification.
Our littlest pullet eggs: 6 of them weighed in at 9.8 oz. That means a dozen would weigh in at 19.6 ounces… not bad.
Our big bruiser eggs: today’s biggest three eggs weighed 8.4 oz together. That means a dozen would weigh about 33.2 oz. Wow.
Last fall I measured a couple of our average dozen we were selling at the Westside Farmer’s Market in Ann Arbor. The dozens (with a range of all our sizes except for “culls”) averaged a hair over 30 oz.
Perspective? At yer local store where sellers have to actually sort them by size and such, the size categories are: small (18 oz), medium (21 oz), large (24 oz), extra large (27 oz), and jumbo (30 oz).
Holy ostrich, Batman! Our teeniest pullet eggs are halfway between small and medium. Our average dozen we sell are jumbos. What does that make our real bigguns? Extra jumbo? Super jumbo? Ginormous?
And then talk about yer bargain pricing. We sold eggs last year for $4 a dozen. Chemical free, free-ranging, practically pets, beautiful browns and greens and blues in the jumbo size for $4. By comparison, you can drop in at the People’s Food Co-op and get somebody else’s eggs there that look just like ours, browns and blues and greens all pretty, for $5.75 a dozen, in the “large” size. Large. That’s 24 oz of eggs. Dragonwood’s Dozen, by comparison, is running 25% more egg (30 vs 24 oz) for about 25% less, which works out precisely to… oh, that’s not easy math. Instead, those eggs from somebody else would only be about $3.25 at the pricing scale we use, not $5.75. And if we sold our eggs at somebody else’s price, our jumbo dozens should cost about $7.20 per dozen, instead of $4.
Get yer Dragonwood Bargain Basement Eggs now! Whoohoo!