Thursday, February 4, 2010

Planning for the new year - animals

Each year I have to guess what the market might be for the animals I produce, and how many I can produce.   I believe that the economy will be improving for the majority of this year, and that next holiday season will be pretty good. 

Pigs:  I have 24 full-sized sows, which gives me a piglet production of approximately 20 per month.  If I can solve the piglet survival problem a production of 240 piglets this year will allow me to sell 100 finished pigs and between 50 and 100 weaner or BBQ pigs and have a decent number left over to replace any sow losses or to expand my herd further if I find a particularly good looking animal.   
  I've asked for a price quote for 4 farrowing crates and all related equipment, and expect to make a a purchase this week in an effort to lower piglet mortality. 

Chickens:  I'm carrying 175 hens and 55 roosters at this point, and I believe that I can produce all the chickens I need by hatching the eggs that I'm producing.  So the plan is to retain 300-500 eggs a month and hatch them for the next 4 months.  The 2,000 chicks produced will provide 1) replacement layers for next years egg production 2) roosters to sell as meat during the course of the summer and fall and 3) point-of-lay pullets to folks who want their own chicken flocks.   At this point I don't need to order any chickens, but I'm going to look to see there's a breed of chicken that I'd like to add to my flock.  Last year I tried cuckoo marans, and while popular, i couldn't tell them apart from the barred rocks, so didn't get any benefit of increased profits for the most part. 

Turkeys:  I have 40 hens and 8 toms, and I'm going to pen them and collect the eggs this year to try to hatch my own turkeys.  I tried this last year but didn't have much success.  Since I believe that the turkey market will be good this holiday season I'm going to order 200 turkey poults to make sure I have a good quantity of heritage turkeys for sale.  I'm also going to order 50 broad breasted turkeys because customers demand them.  I'll have the heritage turkey poults delivered in early march, the broad breasted I'll take in June.  If I took the broad breasted in march they'd be too big by the time thanksgiving rolls around.  Started in June, they'll be 20-30lbs net, which is about right for folks who want a big (but not monstrous) turkey.  Heritage breeds dress out at a top weight of about 16lbs, with the average being between 12 and 14 for me. 

Sheep:  I've had some losses over the winter, and my sheep husbandry still sucks -- it's a learning curve.  I'm hoping to have a production of 20 lambs this year, of which I'll retain some of the ewes to increae my flock size, but I'm not counting on this.  No action item there -- still learning sheep husbandry. 

Cows:  I have a fully fenced 10 acre parcel that I can raise cows on this year.  I expect to purchase 10 day-old calves soon, to expand my cow herd. 

Miscl:  I'm going to order some random poultry to round my my personal table.  Geese, ducks, guinea fowl; 10 to 20 of each.  There's really not much demand (read:  people don't ask me about them) but I like a variety on my personal table, so now's the time to plan for it. 

1 comment:

Enjay said...

We found that having a few birds around (pheasant, guinea, etc) actually created a bit of a demand, people would see them when picking up their chickens or beef and ask, or pass the info on. Hopefully that happens to you too :)