I feel I owe it to ya'll to let you know what's going on with the chicken situation.
I'm selling the majority of my flock, keeping just a few back for myself.
I'm trying to "re-align" things in my life, if you know what I mean by that. Just feeding myself seems like enough right now, so that's where I'm headed back to. I'm not meant to be a business person; maybe I should consider myself lucky that money has never been much of a motivator for me (besides wanting to make enough to survive). All the joy has gone out of it for me, and I thought maybe I'm just tired or burnt out, but I realize it happened when I scaled up and bought those 100 RIR chicks from a hatchery this past winter. I didn't love them like I'd always loved my hens-they were means to an end-paying bills and not turning customers away.
Chickens have been part of my life since I could walk; I remember Mom putting a warm chick from the brooder box in my chubby little hands and showing me how to not squeeze it to death. By the time I started grade school, it was my job to feed the hens and my favorite fat, white one I toted around under my arm.
Even up to last year, I could watch chickens for hours, got a kick from just hanging out and feeding them from my hand. I like them enough that I want them to have a great life, eating good food (oh, I switched to oats as feed recently to be GMO-free, didn't mention that), bugs and grass, and going where they pleased. It wasn't financially feasible to fence off the entire six acres for the chickens to roam, and it's not fair (or very sanitary!) to keep 150+ chickens in any stationary pen as far as I'm concerned, so I let them free-range. I figured up that foxes have cost me upwards of $2,000 in lost hens and production, much more since then. But, that lost money doesn't feel as bad as missing Gandolph riding on my feed bucket one morning and realizing she'd been eaten...and Lucy & Lacy, Wren, Sopita, Thing 3, Bubba, Bertha and Nutsy, and on...It's a dilemma-deciding whether you are giving them a better life cooped up but safe, or free and chancing getting ripped apart by wildlife. And I'll admit that my anger over losing so many led me to put aside my ideals about preserving wildlife. The tally is up to a couple snakes and five foxes between Mike, myself and the dog. It will be a relief to not be on alert constantly for chicken predator calls, and to not feel like I'm forsaking part of myself every time I run outside with a shotgun.
So, there's the majority of why I'm getting away from the egg business. I will finish the season for the Statesboro market, bringing soap, pears, whatever mixed veg or flowers I have extra of. The hens went to Hunter Cattle, so I imagine check with them in the future for fresh eggs. Thank you to everyone who enjoyed Wee Farm eggs.