[rant]Cage free eggs[rant]

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Sac Arrow, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh, I learned another interesting egg factoid. People with gout generally have a meat/protein restricted diet. But eggs are a-ok. Not a significant source of purines.
     
  2. pilot_dude

    pilot_dude En-Route

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    No doubt there will be more whacked out liberal egg heads (see what I did there) living on government checks will flock (see what I did there) to eat McD tripe. And no, I don't mean tripe as in bovine stomach.
     
  3. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    I saw what you did and didn't think it was appropriate for a thread which has been most informative.
     
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  4. pilot_dude

    pilot_dude En-Route

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    Guess comedy is lost on some.
     
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  5. mkosmo

    mkosmo Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Speaking of McDonald's, what has their all day breakfasts done to the egg markets?
     
  6. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    The effects of avian influenza were outsized compared to any increase in demand from this, however it certainly seemed to help sales at McD's. Anything that gets people to eat eggs at times other than just breakfast is certainly a pull on demand in a macro sense.

    http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/25/investing/mcdonalds-earnings/
     
  7. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

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    I just had a couple eggs for late dinner. :p
     
  8. mkosmo

    mkosmo Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Suppliers had no issues keeping up with the increased demand? I would just imagine the price of eggs would have to go up as a result. Then again, it's far more predictable and forecasted than an endemic.
     
  9. N801BH

    N801BH Touchdown! Greaser! Gone West

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    The price spike here has come and gone and we are almost back to pre influenza prices again..

    1 year ago = 1 dozen large sold for 1.25
    highest during the spike= 2.75
    last week sale price was 3 dozen for 5 bucks =1.67 per dozen.
     
  10. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    image.png

    Chart of prices to retailers from producers for large eggs in a carton over the last few years. We got hit the end of April 2015.

    There are more than a few bottles of bourbon in the following answer.

    It wasn't a demand issue, it was supply. We lost 15% of production capacity in 90 days. It was a cluster cluck on epic proportions. At one point we were hours away from major retailers being without eggs on the shelves and many food companies and bakeries were having midnight conferences with regulators trying to get formulations changed to keep product rolling. There were producers flying around the globe buying any eggs that were available. I know of a producer that committed to buying loads of eggs from Estonia for months at historical prices.


    I'm having a PTSD episode and need to go now.
     
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  11. mkosmo

    mkosmo Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Oh wow, what a jump. That's incredible. On the bright side, if you had supply, you were likely rolling in cash for nearly a year...

    Next question is what all of that did to the egg substitute market haha
     
  12. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    James, What's the latest? Hen houses back to fully repopulated and production up to 100%?
     
  13. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Interesting times indeed. Egg prices are now at 20 year lows as supply has returned, import commitments are finalized, and demand destruction due to the high prices takes a toll. Farm prices are well below the cost of feed and many producers are having trouble finding a home for their product. We had a small producer call us to ask to take his eggs as long as we paid the freight. Still couldn't make the economics work. About 70% of what we(our company) lost has been repopulated and we will be back full up by the end of September. We were/are fortunate in that we already have a home for this product to our long term customer who has been fantastic through this crisis.

    HSUS and other animal rights groups have had an incredible run convincing companies and retailers to make cage-free commitments in the last few months. All of the 20 largest retailers have made public statements of one type or another promising to go cage free. The catalyst for this was the high prices that caused the price delta between conventional and specialty to be essentially zero for 12 months. The public commitments so far will require the conversion of about 160,000,000 hens, or 60% of the flock, to be converted to cage free in the next 8 years. This will require a capital investment of around $1B per year by the industry - which is an order of magnitude beyond historical needs/ability. We probably don't have the equity to pull this off as an industry. The other interesting aspect of this is that many companies that have made the commitment to switch to cage free are unwilling to do so until closer to their 2025 deadline. It takes me years to get a facility designed, permitted, financed, and built - and I can't do that unless I have a market. I have never been less certain as to what things will look like in 10 years as I am sitting here today typing this.

    I can build this for $20/bird -
    BD layer.jpg
    Video
    http://www2.sustainableeggcoalition.org/resources#enrichedvideo


    Or this for $45/bird -
    vc system.jpg
    Video
    http://www2.sustainableeggcoalition.org/resources#aviaryvideo

    Production cost difference between the two is around $0.35/dozen. This study would tell you that the first is better overall for animal welfare.
    http://www2.sustainableeggcoalition...download/public/CSESResearchResultsReport.pdf

    BWTHDIK
     
  14. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    #bandozer
    This whole thing is fascinating to me. I've been looking at these pictures for the past 5 minutes and don't particularly see why the top is worse than the bottom. Neither is a chicken walking around in the yard pecking for bugs (like I pass on my way to work every day), which I think is what people think of when they think of "cage free."
     
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  15. gkainz

    gkainz Final Approach

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    so this must be some kind of racist plot ... whites in cages and browns roam free? :D
     
  16. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Cagefree looks incredibly unsanitary to me.
     
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  17. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, one looks like a prison cellbock, and the other a prison exercise yard during a riot. Guess which one I'd prefer if I was given the choice.
     
  18. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    Wouldn't that depend on whether you're a jock or a couch potato? :D
     
  19. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    James can confirm or deny, but I believe hens will assault each other and more join in creating a bloody mess.
     
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  20. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    #bandozer
    Oh good, I wasn't the only one to notice that. ;)
     
  21. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    I need to take a walk through one of those hen houses sometime. My engineering mind loves to follow the Rube Goldberg mechanics of stuff like that.

    James, how tall is this operation, any more levels below the catwalk other than the one that you can see?
     
  22. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    You need to figure out how to turn those eggs in to gasoline or aviation fuel to increase demand.
     
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  23. James_Dean

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    I'm currently working a design that has two sides of three levels. Building would be 540' X 192' with 48' side walls. 640,000 cage free birds under one roof. About 120 55" 2hp fans for ventilation and a few hundred hp for circulation and manure drying. 145,000 lbs of feed and 36,000 gallons of water per day.
     
  24. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    At what age do you replace the birds and are they processed for food afterwards or sold as layers to others?
     
  25. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    They are usually in production for 65 to 90 weeks. They end up in pet food.
     
  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    My previous dogs (and now our outdoor cats) consider your chickens very tasty.
     
  27. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Or maybe aviation piston engine oil...unless, of course, we all start using Castrol GTX in our Lycs and Contis ;)
     
  28. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    They will, it's a dominance thing. There are many different ways this is dealt with. I remember reading a study that involved "glasses" or contact lenses for the chickens. Doing this blurred their vision and made them all submissive so none of them pecked at each other. There are more traditional methods but I don't remember what they are.
     
  29. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    That is where the colloquialism "pecking order" comes from and it is absolutely a thing. For years the size of the bird enclosure was driven by the desire to keep the group size small to eliminate this. Many enclosure systems from the 1970's were designed around 3 birds per enclosure. When I came into the business in the 90's 10 birds per enclosure was the norm. We have learned over the years to carefully designs the enclosure dimensions, amount of water nipples, amount of feeder space, the color temperature of the light, and the breeding selection criteria to minimize the problem. We can now successful have colonies of over 100 birds in enclosures and a few thousand in cage free without having significant increases in mortality.

    In the old days there used to be producers that would paint there light bulbs red and even an attempt to put contact lenses in the birds to minimize this problem. We are actually using variable intensity LED bulbs in production houses so we can specifically adjust the spectrum for optimum conditions. There is research out there that discusses how hens can see more of the UV spectrum than previously thought and that it is important for socialization and recognition.
     
  30. Norman

    Norman En-Route Gone West

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    Still continuing my education here. Spent my summers on a farm when I was young but never had a clue that an egg "factory", if you will, could be so technical. Times, they are-a-changin'.
     
  31. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    In some ways, things are actually changing back the other direction. The locally grown movement and the Joel Salatin following has really grown and may be beyond the fad phase.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  32. James_Dean

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    That has been and always will be there. I support anything that promotes egg consumption, but there are real sustainability issues with the backyard flock movement.
     
  33. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Sustainability in what regard? Genetics?
     
  34. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Takes more feed, water, land, greenhouse emissions. Backyard flocks are generally a small disaster for animal welfare and environmental compliance as well.
     
  35. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Only if you try to turn your backyard flock's eggs into profit rather than just a meal.
     
  36. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude

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    I think you are yolking.
     
  37. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Again, I have no problems if people want to own chickens and eat the eggs. However, it will never be as economical as buying eggs from the store when all costs are considered. There are significant disease, environmental, predation, and food safety issues with backyard production as well. To each his own, but the "profit" doesn't even feature in this calculation.
     
  38. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I used the word profit to highlight the point, but it has to figure into the equation or else there wouldn't be farms like yours. You are looking at it economically and that's fine, you have a different interest in it than some others. Those who are raising backyard chickens are not doing it to save $.50 a dozen. I buy my eggs from the store, mostly, but I can actually buy them cheaper locally from neighbors. The reason is that many local growers are not interested in benefiting financially from their chickens. When profit is not the goal, production can be kept on a level that is sustainable financially and ecologically. I recognize this doesn't address the problem of how to feed 8 million people in New York City when they want eggs for breakfast.

    I was just interested in what you meant by sustainable, that's usually not a word I hear used with large-scale farming. I assume now you meant sustainable financially, but that also includes environmental concerns. I would just argue that can be done on a small scale as well, it just targets a different (much smaller) market.

    Edit: By the way I don't have any significant interest in organic or locally grown farming. I just have a casual interest in agriculture.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  39. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

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    Reading through this thread is interesting as while I am doing it I am ignoring 2 hens, standing in front of the French Doors to the breakfast nook and giving me the "we're hungry" big eyes - meaning they gobbled down all the popcorn Char put out for them this morning. Well, they are in trouble. I don't feed moochers - "go eat bugs you free loaders!"
    The side effect of free range is bird poop on the porch and spoiled moochers who come running the instant the back door opens.
     
  40. James_Dean

    James_Dean Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Your problem then is with the retailer, and not the farmer. As a general rule our industry lives on less than $0.10/dozen profit over the long term and the retailer makes far more, but that is a whole other discussion.

    My definition of sustainable is based upon social, environmental, and financial concerns. We have to operate all facets of our business in a way that the majority of citizens in our communities find acceptable. That encompasses animal welfare, labor practices, antibiotic usage(we've eliminated) and nusciance issues among others. We have to ensure that we are not damaging the environment and are using as few inputs as possible. We have to do all this and do it in a way that ensures an acceptable return to the shareholders. I have a whole team working on sustainability measures and we have KPI's that are tracked daily on our performance. Reduce, reuse, recycle. For example, we use soil mapping and GPS guided variable rate applicators to apply manure from the facilities. This ensures that nutrients aren't being applied beyond what is required for agronomy and also directly replaces chemical fertilizers.