OK, for our regular customers, I suspect this isn't going to change much at all. But it is going to change our work load on the farm. It's been a while in the making, and for the sanity of our family, we need to do this.
We are ratcheting back our egg production. This isn't really a huge deal. We had a restaurant as a customer, that we have no longer. Originally, that was the Wayside Inn, in Berthoud. Those of you in Berthoud may remember them! Shortly after they closed, and we were donating eggs to the food bank (like we are now) we wondered what we were going to do. Another restaurant came along - they more than picked up the slack, and we stayed in the egg business.
I believe Larry encouraged me to cut out the eggs last year, when we were egg free for a year due to a respiratory illness. We have successfully eliminated that from the farm, and I ramped up our egg production to meet restaurant production.
But the restaurant is no longer engaged. We switched to organic feed, due to what we thought was market demand. But the price went up with that. And the customers aren't responding.
OK, that's not 100% true, we have many of our regular customers buying organic eggs, and we thank you for that! But we don't have enough demand for the flock of 100-120 chickens we have out back.
SO, we are going to pare that flock down by a BUNCH. They are less than a year old, so we can sell them to folks looking for a backyard flock. This will reduce our daily workload to something more management, and hopefully restore some family unity that is much needed.
This shouldn't effect our meat production in any way, except that we will have fewer stew hens available. This will allow us to continue hatching our own flock (making us more sustainable) and selling baby chicks, just in smaller quantities. This was the first year we have sold homegrown chicks, and we were surprised at the demand and the success!
So we will still have our lovely egg laying ladies. We will probably switch and have a larger portion of them raised on conventional feed, and a smaller number on organic feed, but we will still have both options. We feel confident that we will have enough to supply our direct customers. We won't be looking for restaurants or distributions points outside the farm for our eggs anymore. It's the lowest profit margin product we have on the farm, and it takes the most work!
So this is a business decision, and we think it's right for us and our little operation.