Fractions and Braces

Counting eggs has become an actual chore of ours.  We kept a list for about a month so we could keep an accurate count of the eggs we collected.  This became another piece of paper we had to keep track of, and we had to ask each other, “did you write the egg total down today?”.  This worked great when Ang did all the chicken-wrangling while I was away, but when I came home, it became a shared task.  Oh, sure, that worked fine, but it made our lives more complicated without any added benefit.

Having chickens for eggs has always been a quality of life thing, not a “let’s save money and live off the grid” thing.  Those are noble efforts, to be sure, but we just aren’t up to that kind of challenge.  If it’s fun, rewarding, and relatively effortless, we are in.  If it involves hours of labor (or even MINUTES of labor – like writing down egg numbers) we are most likely out.  By the way, this is the same reason P90X will never work for me.  I’d venture to guess that none of those 90 days (the “90” in P90X) includes overeating at a BBQ place.  I’m just plain not gonna go 90 days without any kind of overeating.

I’ve decided, by head chicken wrangler fiat, that I’m gonna use 4 1/2 eggs per day to do the math on the “Cost Per Egg” page.  That’s a fraction.  I learned that back at Alcott Elementary School.  It’s easy to use that number, my calculator can figure out totals easily when I plug the numbers in.  I just will make sure to put a whole number down on the “Cost Per Egg” page, so no one actually thinks the girls laid 1/2 an egg.

Speaking of which, there was a roost box reservation emergency yesterday.  Some of you may have heard about this already, so feel free to skim this part.  Normally the girls use either box #1, #2, #3 to lay their eggs.  We haven’t seen eggs in boxes #4 or #5 for several weeks now; don’t know why.  They mostly use only one box per day.  So, for instance, today the eggs will all be in box #2 (because there were 2 in there already when I checked, and one gal was in there doing her business), when yesterday the eggs were all in box #3.  Anyway, yesterday, apparently box #3 was ocupado when a different hen needed to give birth.  So she just plunked the egg down in the hay of the coop floor.  I guess once it’s time, it’s just time.

Also, we are considering raising money to take Steve to get braces.  He eats just fine and, since we get 4 1/2 eggs a day, he must be a regular contributor.  After reading the salmonella egg headlines, I’ve learned that each hen lays an egg once every 26 hours – at least  in the factory conditions of central Iowa.  We are nowhere near that strict in our production demands.  Braces may forestall later dental slant maxillofacial problems for Steve; but we have never seen any chickens (or any nonhuman patients, for that matter) in the Ratzlaff orthodontic chairs.  Maybe we’ll inquire as to what a ballpark figure for braces would be, take a few X-rays, a plaster cast or two.

On another note, we’ve patted ourselves on the back more than once for having our own egg club since this awful salmonella thing has shown up.  Like I’ve said, saving the planet, one egg at a time.

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