• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Copyright
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Acknowledgement
 Summary
 Introduction
 Building and equipment on caged-layer...
 Production practices
 Replacement program
 Marketing practices
 Investment, costs and returns
 Factors affecting costs and...
 Estimating costs of producing...






Group Title: Agricultural economics series - Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Florida - 57-7
Title: A Study of the caged-layer enterprise in West Florida
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00071998/00001
 Material Information
Title: A Study of the caged-layer enterprise in West Florida
Physical Description: 43 p. : ; .. cm.
Language: English
Creator: Greene, R.E.L
Brooke, D.L
Noles, R.K
Publisher: s.n.
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1957
 Subjects
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by R.E.L. Greene, D.L. Brooke and R.K. Noles.
Funding: Agricultural economics series - Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Florida - 57-7
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00071998
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 67371858
clc - 000495131

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Page i
    Acknowledgement
        Page ii
    Summary
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Purpose of study
            Page 3
        Method of study
            Page 3
        Economic situation during the period of the study
            Page 4
            Page 5
    Building and equipment on caged-layer farms
        Page 6
        Cage houses
            Page 6
            Page 7
        Cages
            Page 8
        Watering systems
            Page 8
        Lighting system
            Page 9
        Floor space per cage
            Page 10
        Other buildings
            Page 11
        Equipment
            Page 11
    Production practices
        Page 11
        Feeding
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
        Watering
            Page 14
        Use of lights
            Page 14
        Kind of birds used
            Page 15
        Culling
            Page 15
        Disease, mortality and sanitation
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
    Replacement program
        Page 20
        Brooding and rearing methods
            Page 20
        Number of replacements raised
            Page 20
        Labor
            Page 21
        Chick cost
            Page 22
        Estimated costs of rearing replacements
            Page 22
    Marketing practices
        Page 22
        Gathering eggs
            Page 23
        Processing
            Page 24
        Selling eggs
            Page 25
        Marketing of birds
            Page 25
    Investment, costs and returns
        Page 26
        Investment in caged-layer houses, cages, other buildings and equipment
            Page 26
        Method used in computing cost items
            Page 27
            Page 28
        Amount of items of cost
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
        Method used in computing returns
            Page 32
        Amount of items of returns
            Page 33
        Summary of costs and returns
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
    Factors affecting costs and returns
        Page 37
        Size of flock
            Page 37
            Page 38
        Eggs sold per bird
            Page 39
        Pounds of mash and grain fed per dozen eggs sold
            Page 39
        Price received for eggs sold
            Page 40
        Percent mortality
            Page 41
        Hours of labor per 100 birds
            Page 41
    Estimating costs of producing eggs
        Page 42
        Methods used in calculating amounts of various costs
            Page 42
        Example of using formulas to estimate average costs per dozen for eggs sold
            Page 43
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida




61 U
(63 96
r- 57-7


April 1957


Agr. Econ. Series No. 57-7


A STUDY OF THE CAGED.LAYER ENTERPRISE
IN WEST FLORIDA



by

R. E. L. Greene, D. L. Brooke and R. K. Noles
Agricultural Economist, Associate Agricultural
Economist and Former Graduate Assistant, Respectively


-I


*4Smr~ uI;


Department of Agricultural Economics
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Gainesville, Florida


I~UY ___~II(I
I
i .~;..__------ i;`%








TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .. .. . . .. i.
SUMMARY . . . .. . . . i
INTRODUCTION . . . . . 1
Purpose of Study . ............. .. ... 3
Method of Study .......... ... . 3
Economic Situation During the Period of the Study . . 4

BUILDING AND EQUIPMENT ON CAGED-LAYER FARMS . 6
Cage Houses ... ........... .. .. .. .. 6
Cages .. . . .. .. .. . 8
Watering Systems ...................... 8
Lighting System .. .... .... .. .... ..... 9
Floor Spaceper Cage . ........ .10
Other Buildings . . . . 11
Equipment ................. .... 11

PRODUCTION PRACTICES . .. . . 11
Feeding. ......... ..... .. 11
Watering ...... ...... .. ..... 14
Use of Lights ... .... .... ... ... 14
Kind of Birds Used. . ........ ... 15
Culling . .. . .. . .. .. 15
Disease, Mortality and Sanitation . . 16

REPLACEMENT PROGRAM ........ ............... 20
Brooding and Rearing Methods . .. . 20
Number of Replacements Raised . . .... 20
Labor . . . . . .. 21
Chick Cost .. .. .. .. . .. 22
Estimated Costs of Rearing Replacements . . 22

MARKETING PRACTICES . .. .. .. .22
Gathering Eggs ............. .. 23
Processing .. .. .. . .. 24
Selling Eggs . . . .. .. .. 25
Marketing of Birds . . . 25

INVESTMENT, COSTS AND RETURNS . . . 26
Investment in Caged-Layer Houses, Cages, Other
Buildings and Equipment . . .. . 26
Method Used in Computing Cost Items . . 27
Amountof Items of Cost ..... .......... 29








TABLE OF CONTENTS, continued
PAGE
Method Used in Computing Returns ........ 32
Amount of Items of Returns . . . . .. 33
Summary of Costs and Returns . ......... 34

FACTORS AFFECTING COSTS AND RETURNS . . . 37
Size of Flock ....... . . 37
Eggs Sold per Bird .. ... ....... ... 39
Pounds of Mash and Grain Fed per Dozen Eggs Sold . 39
Price Received for Eggs Sold .... . .. .. 40
Percent Mortality .. ....... ..... ..... 41
Hours of Labor per 100 Birds . . . . 41

ESTIMATING COSTS OF PRODUCING EGGS . . . 42
Methods Used in Calculating Amounts of Various Costs . 42
Example of Using Formulas to Estimate Average Costs per
Dozen for Eggs Sold ...... .. ....... 43



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The original draft of this publication was prepared by Mr. Notes and
presented as a thesis to the Graduate Council of the University of Florida in
partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in
Agriculture. The writers wish to express their appreciation to N.R. Mehrhof
and Julian S. Moore of the Poultry Department for their help in reviewing the
manuscript and aid in compiling a list of cage producers; also to county agents,
feed dealers and hatcherymen for their aid in compiling the list. Finally, the
cooperation of cage producers, feed dealers and egg processors in supplying
information is gratefully acknowledged. Without the cooperation of this group,
this study would not have been possible.








SUMMARY


This is a study of the enterprise organization, management practices, degree
of profitableness and factors affecting costs and returns of the caged-layer enterprise
in Northwest Florida. Records were obtained by the survey method for 53 farms
showing size of operation, capital invested and data on production and marketing
practices. For 33 of these farms, records were obtained of all expenses and income
for the caged-layer enterprise for the fiscal year, September 1, 1954 to August 31,
1955.
The economic situation during the period studied was an adverse one for the
poultry farmer producing eggs. Prices received for both eggs and poultry were low
in relation to prices paid for feed and other factors. Returns on some of the farms
studied were not sufficient to cover variable costs. As a result some of the producers
altered their normal production program during this period.
The caged-layer industry in West Florida is only five to six years old.
Operators of many of the forms included in the study had been in the business less
than two years. The variety of production methods being used indicated no general
agreement on a "best" system of management. As they gain more experience,
producers will attempt to adopt those practices that appear profitable to them.
The type of housing and equipment used varied, but a definite pattern seems
to be developing. Open sided, aluminum-roofed houses 24 to 26 feet in width,
containing three double rows of 10 inch cages were most commonly used. Feed rooms
were generally placed in one end of the houses. Less labor was required to feed
birds and gather eggs where rows of cages were longer and larger feed containers used.
Production practices varied but producers were agreed that jobs such as feed-
ing should be performed at regular times. Indications were that producers were
changing some of their practices from those followed when they first began to keep
caged-layers. Farmers were tending to keep fewer records and also were doing less
culling. While culling is complicated by many factors it appears that producers are
reluctant to cull young birds without having better methods to predict rate of lay.

The majority of the producers gathered eggs only once a day. Rubber or
plastic coated baskets and wire baskets were the main types of pickup containers.
On half of the farms eggs were cleaned and packed within six hours after they were
gathered. Three-fourths of the farmers sold eggs direct to wholesalers and one-fourth
direct to retail outlets. The amount of preparation of the eggs on the farms varied
from none to complete cleaning, sorting and packing in dozen size cartons. Producers
indicated a desire to sell more of their eggs direct to retail outlets. The lack of
potential customers in the area and the additional time required for preparation of the
eggs prohibited more of this type of selling. The investment in cage houses, cages,
other buildings and equipment averaged $5270 per farm. On a per cage basis the
investment was divided $1.56 in cage houses, $1.06 in cages, 12 cents in other
buildings and 9 cents in equipment of a total of $2.83. Among the farms, total
investment ranged from $1.78 to $6.01 per cage.







On the farms where records of costs and returns were obtained, consumption
of mash and grain averaged 83.5 pounds per layer per year of which mash was 83
pounds and grain 0.5 pounds. Labor on the laying flock averaged 1.39 hours per
bird. The total costs per year of keeping 100 birds were $706. Of this amount feed
accounted for 59.5 percent, flock depreciation 13.9 percent and labor 13.5 percent.
Total returns per 100 birds were $672. On the average returns per 100 birds failed
by $33 to cover all costs. Returns to labor was $62 per 100 birds. This means after
covering all costs except labor income was sufficient to return only 45 cents for each
hour of labor spent on the poultry enterprise.
The average net cost per dozen for eggs sold was 43.04 cents. However, net
cost per dozen ranged from 34.3 cents on the farm with the lowest costs to 60.4 cents
on the farm with the highest costs.
In general, returns to labor was higher on larger farms than on smaller forms.
Part of this was due to an increase in economy due to size. The larger farms were
able to buy feed at a lower cost and received higher prices for eggs sold. On a per
100 bird basis, feed and labor showed the biggest decrease in costs as size of flock
increased.
Feed cost per dozen eggs sold decreased as the number of eggs per bird
increased. The group with the highest production did not get the largest returns
because of a lower price received for eggs sold.
Pounds of mash and grain fed per dozen eggs sold was an important factor
affecting costs and returns. The net cost of mash and grain was 23.56 cents per
dozen eggs sold on farms feeding less than 5.0 pounds compared to 29.34 cents on
farms feeding 5.5 pounds or more.
The amount of feed to produce a dozen eggs depends on the rate of lay and
type of bird. Eggs sold per bird was 203 on farms feeding the least feed per dozen
eggs sold but only 177 on farms feeding the largest amount of feed per dozen.
The larger farms were the ones receiving the higher prices for eggs so returns
increased rapidly as prices received increased. Egg prices were unusually low during
the period covered by the study. The third of the farms receiving the lowest prices
averaged only 34,21 cents per dozen. The third receiving the highest prices averaged
45.78 cents per dozen. The returns to labor per 100 hens increased from $ -21 for
the low group to $138 for the high group. For the average rate of production on these
farms, assuming no change in costs, each additional cent received per dozen for eggs
sold added 16 cents per hen to the returns from the layer enterprise.








A STUDY OF THE CAGED LAYER ENTERPRISE IN WEST FLORIDA


INTRODUCTION
During the past 15 years significant trends have occurred in the commercial egg
industry inFlorida. Hens and pullets on farms on January 1, 1955 were estimated at
3.2 million or an increase of 48 percent over the number on the same date in 1940
(Fig. 1). During this period the annual rateof lay perbird based on hens and pulletson
farms on January 1 increased from 95 to 158 eggs. The total production of eggs during
1955 was estimated at 505million. This was an increase of 146percent over the
number produced in 1940.


Poultry and Egg Statistics, AMS; U.S.D.A.


Fig. 1. Hens and Pullets on Farms January 1, Rate of Lay and Total Annual
Production of Eggs, Florida, 1925-1955.









Today there are four major egg producing areas in Florida (Fig.2). In the
order of importance they are the Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami and Marianna-
Graceville areas.






__--_, -, ,o..



Legend N
Li Less than 50,000
'. 50, 000 to 99, 999

L;^100,000 to 149,999 Ji
1\J s150,000 to 199,999

I-1 200, 000 or more

Source: 1954 Census of Agriculture for Florida, United States Department of
Commerce,Bureau of Census, Washington, D.C.

Fig.2.--Number of Chickens per County Four Months Old and Over,Florido, 1954.

With the increase in number of layers, new techniques of production have
been adopted. One of the newest developments has been the use of the "cage
system" for egg production. This system was introduced into the Southeastern part
of the United States in 1947. In 1954 the number of cages in the Southeast was
estimated at over 3 million and the number in Florida at approximately 800,000.

The rapid increase in the number of caged-layer operations, both in the
State and in the South has been due to several causes. First, the number of com-
mercial laying hens has been expanding. Second, the caged-layer system is
purported to have certain advantages over the floor system which makes this operation
attractive, especially to those just beginning the poultry business. Third, commercial
concerns have been quick to use this new development as a means of expanding the
sales of their products, and have utilized their facilities to promote it.







The basic problems of producing eggs from hens "on the floor" and "in cages"
are similar. However, the use of cages involves a completely new outlook on housing
and on management practices such as feeding, watering, use of lights, cleaning houses
and disease control as well as an overall change in the use of labor. As with most
new ventures, mistakes are more frequently made in the beginning. New problems
arise and have to be solved. The success of farmers in adjusting to new enterprises
and practices often is greatly affected by the amount of information available to them.


Purpose of Study

Because of the interest in Florida in producing eggs in cages and the rapid
growth of this method of production in the state, the Agricultural Experiment Station
began an economic study of the cage layer enterprise in 1955. This study was designed
designed to obtain information from cage producers on systems of organization and
management being used, amount of capital investment required, data on costs and
returns, and to determine those methods or practices which were most profitable.

Results from the study should be of value to established producers in studying
their operations to better adapt them to their particular conditions. The data should
help new producers considering the establishment of a cage operation in making better
decisions as to what will constitute the wisest use of their capital, labor, and other
resources. The study should also furnish data useful to banks and other credit agencies
in making loans to poultry farmers.

Method of Study

The first phase of the project was a study of caged layer farms in Northwest
Florida. This section was selected because of the increase in the number of laying
hens and also cage producers in recent years. A list showing the names of cage pro-
ducers and the estimated number of cages per farm was prepared from information
obtained through the cooperation of county agents, feed dealers, hatcherymen and
the Extension Poultrymen of the University of Florida. The list covered all poultry
producers having 275 or more cages in Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson,
Liberty, Leon, Okaloosa, Walton, Wakulla, and Washington counties. It included
91 farms that varied in size from 288 to 12,696 cages ( Table 1 ).

Table 1.--Number and Variation in Size of Caged-Layer Farms in the West Florida
Area and Farms Surveyed, 11 West Florida Counties, 1955.
Number of cages : Cage farms : Farms surveyed
per farm : in area : First survey : Second survey
275 to 999 52 27 15
1000 to 1999 24 13 9
2000 or more 15 13 9
Total 91 53 33
Total number of cages
on farms 127, 855 98, 733 58,463
i- i i i i i J iii i,







The basic problems of producing eggs from hens "on the floor" and "in cages"
are similar. However, the use of cages involves a completely new outlook on housing
and on management practices such as feeding, watering, use of lights, cleaning houses
and disease control as well as an overall change in the use of labor. As with most
new ventures, mistakes are more frequently made in the beginning. New problems
arise and have to be solved. The success of farmers in adjusting to new enterprises
and practices often is greatly affected by the amount of information available to them.


Purpose of Study

Because of the interest in Florida in producing eggs in cages and the rapid
growth of this method of production in the state, the Agricultural Experiment Station
began an economic study of the cage layer enterprise in 1955. This study was designed
designed to obtain information from cage producers on systems of organization and
management being used, amount of capital investment required, data on costs and
returns, and to determine those methods or practices which were most profitable.

Results from the study should be of value to established producers in studying
their operations to better adapt them to their particular conditions. The data should
help new producers considering the establishment of a cage operation in making better
decisions as to what will constitute the wisest use of their capital, labor, and other
resources. The study should also furnish data useful to banks and other credit agencies
in making loans to poultry farmers.

Method of Study

The first phase of the project was a study of caged layer farms in Northwest
Florida. This section was selected because of the increase in the number of laying
hens and also cage producers in recent years. A list showing the names of cage pro-
ducers and the estimated number of cages per farm was prepared from information
obtained through the cooperation of county agents, feed dealers, hatcherymen and
the Extension Poultrymen of the University of Florida. The list covered all poultry
producers having 275 or more cages in Bay, Calhoun, Gadsden, Holmes, Jackson,
Liberty, Leon, Okaloosa, Walton, Wakulla, and Washington counties. It included
91 farms that varied in size from 288 to 12,696 cages ( Table 1 ).

Table 1.--Number and Variation in Size of Caged-Layer Farms in the West Florida
Area and Farms Surveyed, 11 West Florida Counties, 1955.
Number of cages : Cage farms : Farms surveyed
per farm : in area : First survey : Second survey
275 to 999 52 27 15
1000 to 1999 24 13 9
2000 or more 15 13 9
Total 91 53 33
Total number of cages
on farms 127, 855 98, 733 58,463
i- i i i i i J iii i,









Data were obtained for the farms studied by means of the survey method.
The survey was conducted in two parts. In the first survey, information was obtained
on the investment in the cage business, production and marketing practices and
miscellaneous information. This record was taken in July and August, 1955. Data
were obtained from 53 operators. The farms surveyed were selected at random from
the list of cage producers, sampling the size groups about proportional to the number
of farms in each group.

The second survey was designed to obtain information on total costs and
returns for the layer enterprise for the period September 1, 1954 to August 31,1955.
These data were obtained for 33 of the farms from which information was also
obtained in the first survey. On the second schedule many items such as feed
purchased and eggs sold were obtained directly from the records of feed dealers
and egg processors.

In analyzing and presenting the data, records from all producers were used
for the items for which they were available. The data on costs and returns included
information only for the 33 farms for which complete records for a year's operation
were obtained. In part of the analysis the farms were divided into three size groups,
small, medium and large either on the basis of the number of cages or the average
number of hens kept for the year.

Economic Situation During the Period of the Study

The period covered by this study was a very unfavorable one for Florida egg
producers. Egg prices failed to show their normal seasonal increase during the fall
months of 1954 (Table 2). The average price of eggs in Florida reached a low of
43 cents per dozen in May 1955, and increased to 50 cents per dozen in August.
During the 12-month period covered by the study, the price of eggs averaged 46 cents
per dozen. In only one year since 1946 has the States annual price of eggs averaged
as low. The average price during the 1947-53 period was 54.8 cents per dozen.

The average price per pound for chickens during the 12 months of the study
was 22.4 cents. This was only about two-thirds of the average price of 31.4 cents
per pound during the 1947-53 period. Not since 1946 has the annual price of
chickens in the state averaged as low.

Prices paid by farmers for laying mash during the fiscal year covered averaged
$5.33 per hundredweight; the price of grain averaged $4.42. The egg-feed ratio
during the 12 months covered was lower than any annual egg-feed ratio on record
for Florida. The egg-feed ratio fluctuated from a low of 9.3 to a high of 11.0 and
averaged 10.0. During the 1947-53 period, the egg-feed ratio averaged 11.4.

Although most farmers lost money during the period for which data were
obtained, some reported they planned to expand their operations as soon as the










Table 2.--Prices Received for Eggs and Chickens, Prices Paid for Laying Mash, Scratch and
Poultry Ration, and Egg-Feed Ratio
Florida, 1941 to 1955 and By Months September 1954 to August 1955.


: Prices received : Prices pai
Period : Per dozen : Per pound : Laying
: eggs : of chicken : mash


1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1954-55V
Sept.
Oct.
Nov.
Dec.
Jan.
Feb.
Mar.
Apr.
May
June
July
Aug.
Average
1954-55


Cents
28.5
32.5
41.0
38.8
45.4
45.9
56.0
57.6
55.1
46.3
58.1
53.4
57.3
49.5
48.5

46.0
45.0
46.0
48.0
45.0
48.0
47.0
45.0
43.0
45.0
47.0
50.0

46.25


Cents
18.0
20.6
31.0
32.5
34.3
35.2
37.6
36.0
33.2
28.7
29.1
27.7
27.2
23.6
22.2

23.5
21.5
21.5
20.0
20.0
22.0
23.0
24.0
23.0
23.5
24,0
23.0

22.42


Dollars
2.95
3.43
3.81
4.18
4.20
4.90
5.48
5.80
5.09
5.22
5.63
5.91
5,52
5.53
5.18

5.50
5.40
5.40
5.40
5.40
5.40
5.40
5.30
5.20
5.20
5.20
5.20

5.33


d per 100 pounds


: Scratch
Dollars
2.38
2.64
3.12
3.59
3.65
4.55
5.18
5,31
4.22
4.22
4.75
4.78
4.55
4.48
4.31

4.45
4.40
4.35
4.40
4.40
4.50
4.45
4.40
4.45
4.40
4.40
4.40

4.42


; Egg-fepd
: ratio


/Average of prices paid for commercial feed and prices received for grain.
'Pounds of feed a dozen eggs will purchase.
I Prices on 15th day of each month.
Source: Agricultural Prices and Poultry and Egg Situation, Agricultural Marketing
Service, USDA.


i Poultry
: ration-/
Dollars
2.55
2.96
3.43
3,85
3.85
4.55
5.17
5.38
4.57
4.62
4.99
5.13
4.82
4.77
4.51

4.70
4.66
4.66
4.69
4.70
4,72
4.73
4.65
4.60
4.55
4.56
4.53

4.65


11.8
11.8
12.6
10.7
12.4
10.7
11.4
11.2
12.3
10.4
11.4
10.6
12.0
10.3
10.8

9.8
9.7
9.9
10.2
9.6
10.2
9.9
9.7
9.3
9.9
10.3
11.0

10.0









economic situation became more favorable. Some farmers withdrew from the poultry
business in the latter part of 1955 or early part of 1956. Other farmers, who had
reduced their operations, began to restock in the early months of 1956. In some
cases, the unfavorable economic situation resulted in farmers following practices
different from those they would have followed in a more normal situation.


BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT ON CAGED-LAYER FARMS

Cage Houses

The cage house in Florida is usually built to perform three functions; (1) to
keep out the rain, (2) to keep out the sun's rays, and (3) to provide storage for feed.
The type of house construction is determined mainly by temperature. High summer
temperatures constitute more of a problem than low winter temperatures. Therefore,
most cage houses are of "open" type and are constructed without sides or with sides
which can be "opened".

There were 104 cage houses on the 53 farms studied. Eighty-seven percent
of these buildings were constructed between 1950 and 1954; 64 percent between
January 1953 and March 1954. Thirteen buildings, formerly used for broiler pro-
duction or other purposes, were converted for use by the cage enterprise. The cage
houses on a number of farms in the study were built by the same construction company.
This, no doubt, contributed to the high degree of uniformity in house construction
in some sections of the area.

Type of construction.--Fifty-five percent of the houses were constructed
with sides that were completely open or with poultry wire for sides, allowing for
complete ventilation. On the other houses, one-third to one-half of the sides
were of poultry wire and the rest of wood. The wood sections were built so parts
of the area could be open in the summer and closed in the winter. Most farmers
closed the wire sections of the house in the winter by covering them with feed sacks
that were attached to boards nailed to the studs.

The ends of cage houses were of two general types. One end of most build-
ings was enclosed with wood to provide storage space for feed and equipment, and
frequently work space for handling and packing eggs. These rooms were 5 to 15 feet
in width. However, where sides were open or constructed of wire, the end of the
building opposite the feed room was of like nature. In the case of houses with one-
half to two-thirds of the side built of wood, the end opposite the feed room was
usually completely enclosed.

The height of plate for roofs varied from 6 to 9 feet. Most farmers were of
the opinion that roofs should be placed on plates at least seven feet high. Aluminum
was the material used for covering roofs on almost two-thirds of the houses (Table 3).
Most houses had a monitor type ventilator.' Farmers not having this type said they
thought the monitor type preferable.









economic situation became more favorable. Some farmers withdrew from the poultry
business in the latter part of 1955 or early part of 1956. Other farmers, who had
reduced their operations, began to restock in the early months of 1956. In some
cases, the unfavorable economic situation resulted in farmers following practices
different from those they would have followed in a more normal situation.


BUILDINGS AND EQUIPMENT ON CAGED-LAYER FARMS

Cage Houses

The cage house in Florida is usually built to perform three functions; (1) to
keep out the rain, (2) to keep out the sun's rays, and (3) to provide storage for feed.
The type of house construction is determined mainly by temperature. High summer
temperatures constitute more of a problem than low winter temperatures. Therefore,
most cage houses are of "open" type and are constructed without sides or with sides
which can be "opened".

There were 104 cage houses on the 53 farms studied. Eighty-seven percent
of these buildings were constructed between 1950 and 1954; 64 percent between
January 1953 and March 1954. Thirteen buildings, formerly used for broiler pro-
duction or other purposes, were converted for use by the cage enterprise. The cage
houses on a number of farms in the study were built by the same construction company.
This, no doubt, contributed to the high degree of uniformity in house construction
in some sections of the area.

Type of construction.--Fifty-five percent of the houses were constructed
with sides that were completely open or with poultry wire for sides, allowing for
complete ventilation. On the other houses, one-third to one-half of the sides
were of poultry wire and the rest of wood. The wood sections were built so parts
of the area could be open in the summer and closed in the winter. Most farmers
closed the wire sections of the house in the winter by covering them with feed sacks
that were attached to boards nailed to the studs.

The ends of cage houses were of two general types. One end of most build-
ings was enclosed with wood to provide storage space for feed and equipment, and
frequently work space for handling and packing eggs. These rooms were 5 to 15 feet
in width. However, where sides were open or constructed of wire, the end of the
building opposite the feed room was of like nature. In the case of houses with one-
half to two-thirds of the side built of wood, the end opposite the feed room was
usually completely enclosed.

The height of plate for roofs varied from 6 to 9 feet. Most farmers were of
the opinion that roofs should be placed on plates at least seven feet high. Aluminum
was the material used for covering roofs on almost two-thirds of the houses (Table 3).
Most houses had a monitor type ventilator.' Farmers not having this type said they
thought the monitor type preferable.










Table 3.--Material Used for Covering Roofs, 53
West Florida, 1955.


Caged-Layer Farms,


Type of material I Number of houses I Percent of total
Aluminum 63 61
Galvn ized Iron 23 22
Felt1/ 14 13
Other'/ 4 4
Total 104 100

-30 to 90 pounds felt on wood or wire.
-/Tin, wood, or combination of materials.

All but two of the houses had dirt floors which normally appeared to be
satisfactory. In two of the houses, formerly used for other purposes, part of the
floor was of concrete. These floors were not satisfactory as they prevented the
drying out of the droppings.

Size of houses.-- The length of the houses varied, but there was q high
degree of uniformity in width (Table 4). The only size of house which occurred
with regularity was a 24 x 80 foot house housing 504 cages. There were 16 houses
of this type and they were generally found on small farms. Converted buildings
accounted for approximately half of the houses that were less than 24 feet or more
than 29 feet in width.

Table 4.--Variation in Length and Width of Cage Houses, 53 Caged-Layer
Farms, West Florida, 1955.

Width of : Length of house (feet) : All houses
house (feet) :30-99: 100-199:200-376: Number : Percent
Less than 24 3 1 2 6 6
24 26 21 36 22 79 76
27-29 1 1 2 2
Over 29 14 2 1 17 16
Total 39 40 25 104 100
Average length (feet) 64 145 266 -- -








Cages

There were 98,733 cages on the forms studied. As distinguished by width,
they were of three types; 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch. Ninety percent of the
cages used were ten inch, 8 percent eight inch, and 2 percent twelve inch. Seventy-
six percent of the cages were purchased and 24 percent home-made.

Watering Systems

The watering system used depended in general upon farmers preference.
Waterers were either of "V"-trough construction or cups. Troughs were in more
general usage, being found on seventy-nine percent of the farms. Cups were used
on 15 percent of the farms and both troughs and cups on 6 percent. On all farms
except one the waterers were located between the rows of cages that were placed
back to back. This farm had trough waterers that were placed between the feed
trough and the cage. This method was reported as unsatisfactory, since birds fre-
quently billed out or regurgitated water into the feed trough.

Two methods were used to control the flow of water through the troughs.
One method allowed the water to drip or flow through the trough. The other
method utilized a level-control tank at the head of each trough, the water level
in the trough being maintained by a float valve in the control tank. Where cups
were used it necessitated a pressure-break tank in the roof of the house such that
gravity provided the pressure against the valves in the cups. Too much or too little
pressure caused the cups to function improperly. Tanks were placed five to six
feet above the level of the cups.

Each system of watering had advantages and disadvantages. Farms using
troughs generally had more problems with wet droppings. This was due partly to
billing out of water by birds and partly to leaking troughs or troughs improperly
hung. The maintenance of troughs is higher than that of cups, the life of a trough
being two to three years in this area. Stainless steel troughs, which are more rust
resistant, were being installed by many farmers to eliminate this problem. Where
the continuous flow water system is used, the height at the outlet must be less than
at the intake since flow is by gravity. Where rows of cages are long this may result
in cages on either end being at an inconvenient height for feeding and gathering
eggs. Manure at the low end may have to be removed more frequently. In North
Florida, if water is allowed to flow continuously, troughs are easier to keep from
freezing in winter and the water is cooler in the summer. Many farmers preferred
this system because they felt that it resulted in the birds consuming more water.

Cups had a low maintenance cost, but they tended to require more individual
attention since at times they would malfunction or "stick". Most farmers using cups
performed daily inspections to prevent the possibility of birds being without water
when valves "stuck" in a closed position. Valves also may "stick" in an open








Cages

There were 98,733 cages on the forms studied. As distinguished by width,
they were of three types; 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch. Ninety percent of the
cages used were ten inch, 8 percent eight inch, and 2 percent twelve inch. Seventy-
six percent of the cages were purchased and 24 percent home-made.

Watering Systems

The watering system used depended in general upon farmers preference.
Waterers were either of "V"-trough construction or cups. Troughs were in more
general usage, being found on seventy-nine percent of the farms. Cups were used
on 15 percent of the farms and both troughs and cups on 6 percent. On all farms
except one the waterers were located between the rows of cages that were placed
back to back. This farm had trough waterers that were placed between the feed
trough and the cage. This method was reported as unsatisfactory, since birds fre-
quently billed out or regurgitated water into the feed trough.

Two methods were used to control the flow of water through the troughs.
One method allowed the water to drip or flow through the trough. The other
method utilized a level-control tank at the head of each trough, the water level
in the trough being maintained by a float valve in the control tank. Where cups
were used it necessitated a pressure-break tank in the roof of the house such that
gravity provided the pressure against the valves in the cups. Too much or too little
pressure caused the cups to function improperly. Tanks were placed five to six
feet above the level of the cups.

Each system of watering had advantages and disadvantages. Farms using
troughs generally had more problems with wet droppings. This was due partly to
billing out of water by birds and partly to leaking troughs or troughs improperly
hung. The maintenance of troughs is higher than that of cups, the life of a trough
being two to three years in this area. Stainless steel troughs, which are more rust
resistant, were being installed by many farmers to eliminate this problem. Where
the continuous flow water system is used, the height at the outlet must be less than
at the intake since flow is by gravity. Where rows of cages are long this may result
in cages on either end being at an inconvenient height for feeding and gathering
eggs. Manure at the low end may have to be removed more frequently. In North
Florida, if water is allowed to flow continuously, troughs are easier to keep from
freezing in winter and the water is cooler in the summer. Many farmers preferred
this system because they felt that it resulted in the birds consuming more water.

Cups had a low maintenance cost, but they tended to require more individual
attention since at times they would malfunction or "stick". Most farmers using cups
performed daily inspections to prevent the possibility of birds being without water
when valves "stuck" in a closed position. Valves also may "stick" in an open









position. When this occurred cups overflowed and resulted in wet droppings. Cups,
however, allowed cages to be hung level since they operated by pressure. In long
houses this may make feeding, gathering, of eggs, and manure removal more con-
venient.

Lighting System

Fifty-two of the 53 farms studied had lights in the cage houses. Light
arrangement and spacing varied. There were three rows of lights in each house on
25 farms, and two rows on 19 farms. Eight farms had varying arrangements of two
or three rows by houses. Distances between the lights in a row varied from 8 to 20
feet. In general, where there were three rows of lights, the two outside rows were
evenly spaced opposite each other with the middle row spaced so as to offset the
outside rows. Lights in houses with two rows were generally evenly spaced opposite
each other. Staggering the lights may have had a beneficial effect since it would
have provided a more even distribution of light intensity throughout the house.

The variations in light intensity is shown in Table 5. Light intensity ranged
from .104 to .833 watts per square foot of house space (Table 5). The average
intensity was .319 watts per square foot of floor space or 1.2 watts per cage/ .
Average light intensity did not vary appreciably between small, medium and large
farms averaging .311, .295 and .328 watts per square foot respectively.

Table 5.--Light Intensity per Square Foot in Cage Houses
52 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955 / .

Watts per square foot : Number of farms : Percent of total

Under .199 4 8
.200- .299 24 46
.300- .399 11 21
.400 .499 7 13
.500 or more 6 12
Total 52 100


1/One of the farms surveyed did not have lights.



l/The Alabama Agriculture Experiment Station recommends 1.0 watts per cage.
C. K. Laurent Production and Marketing of Cage Laid Eggs,
Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 297, June 1955, p.14.








Floor Space per Cage

Houses 20 to 26 feet in width normally contained three double rows of cages.
Those 26 to 40 feet in width usually had four to six double rows. On forty-nine per-
cent of the farms, floor space per cage varied from 3.50 to 3.99 square feet (Table 6).
However, on all farms, floor space per cage varied from 2.74 to 6.02 square feet and
averaged 3.77 feet (Table 7). Space per cage decreased noticeably as farm size
increased. Small farms averaged 4.16 square feet per cage and large farms 3.67.
The farm with the smallest amount of space per cage was using cages eight inches
wide and a house 20 feet in width. On the farm with the largest floor space per
cage, the cage house was built for three rows of cages, but it contained only two
rows.

Table 6.--Variation in Amount of Floor Space per Cage,
53 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955.

Square feet per cage : Number of farms : Percent of total

Under 2.99 2 4
3.00 3.49 8 15
3.50 3.99 26 49
4.00 4.49 10 19
4.50 and over 7 13
Total 53 100



Table 7.--Variations in Amount of Floor Space per Cage by Size of Farms,
53 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955.

: : Average :
Number of : Number of :number Floor space per cage
cages : Farms :of cages : Average amount : Range

Square feet Square feet
Less than 1000 27 608 4.16 2.74 6.02
1000- 1999 13 1,278 3.80 3.16 4.29
2000 or more 13 5,054 3.67 3.13 4.36
All farms 53 1,863 3.77 2.74 6.02


It appeared that cage operators in West Florida were using as much or perhaps
slightly more floor space per bird than operators with floor flocks. However, if the
cages are kept full at all times, the cage house might be better utilized throughout
the year than a house with a floor flock. In some cases, better arrangement of the
cages within a house would result in more efficient utilization of space.









Other Buildings

Feed and egg rooms when located in cage houses were considered a part of
the cage house. On some farms, however, there were separate facilities for feed
and eggs. This was more common on large farms, and on farms where other live-
stock feed was also used. Twenty-two of the 53 farms studied had some type of
"other" poultry buildings. Twenty-nine percent of the small farms, 31 percent of
the medium farms and 76 percent of the large farms had separate facilities for eggs
or feed. There were 11 separate egg rooms, and five separate feed and egg rooms.

Equipment

Equipment included egg baskets, egg and feed carts, egg graders, egg
candlers, egg cleaners, water heaters, coops or crates, spraying equipment, re-
frigerators or coolers, and miscellaneous items. The amount of equipment such as
egg baskets and crates varied depending upon the size of the cage farm. Processing
equipment such as candlers and graders was usually of the small non-mechanical
type except on some of the larger farms. Mechanical graders were used on seven
farms and mechanical egg cleaners on nine forms. Normally forms having a grader
also had a cleaner. There were only four refrigerators for storage of eggs on the
53 farms studied. Most farmers followed practices that were designed to help keep
eggs cool.

On the farms studied no mechanized devices were used as an aid in feeding
or picking-up eggs. Homemade hand push carts were used on some farms to facili-
tate feeding and egg gathering. On others, hand-carried containers devised for
special jobs such as feeding, were used.


PRODUCTION PRACTICES

There are many variations in methods and practices which farmers may use
in the management of cage layers. The individual farmer works out a system which
best suits his desires. Most systems work satisfactorily if the more basic principles
are followed such as providing good and sufficient feed and water, obtaining a
"good" bird, providing comfortable housing and performing jobs with regularity.

Feeding

Types of feed.-- Mash, in the form of crumbles or pellets, was fed on all
farms. Crumbles were fed on 79 percent of the farms, pellets on 17 percent and a
combination of the two on 4 percent. Six brands of mash were fed. Protein content
varied from 16 to 24 percent, crude fat from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, fiber from 5 to
8 percent and nitrogen free extract from 38 to 50 percent,









Other Buildings

Feed and egg rooms when located in cage houses were considered a part of
the cage house. On some farms, however, there were separate facilities for feed
and eggs. This was more common on large farms, and on farms where other live-
stock feed was also used. Twenty-two of the 53 farms studied had some type of
"other" poultry buildings. Twenty-nine percent of the small farms, 31 percent of
the medium farms and 76 percent of the large farms had separate facilities for eggs
or feed. There were 11 separate egg rooms, and five separate feed and egg rooms.

Equipment

Equipment included egg baskets, egg and feed carts, egg graders, egg
candlers, egg cleaners, water heaters, coops or crates, spraying equipment, re-
frigerators or coolers, and miscellaneous items. The amount of equipment such as
egg baskets and crates varied depending upon the size of the cage farm. Processing
equipment such as candlers and graders was usually of the small non-mechanical
type except on some of the larger farms. Mechanical graders were used on seven
farms and mechanical egg cleaners on nine forms. Normally forms having a grader
also had a cleaner. There were only four refrigerators for storage of eggs on the
53 farms studied. Most farmers followed practices that were designed to help keep
eggs cool.

On the farms studied no mechanized devices were used as an aid in feeding
or picking-up eggs. Homemade hand push carts were used on some farms to facili-
tate feeding and egg gathering. On others, hand-carried containers devised for
special jobs such as feeding, were used.


PRODUCTION PRACTICES

There are many variations in methods and practices which farmers may use
in the management of cage layers. The individual farmer works out a system which
best suits his desires. Most systems work satisfactorily if the more basic principles
are followed such as providing good and sufficient feed and water, obtaining a
"good" bird, providing comfortable housing and performing jobs with regularity.

Feeding

Types of feed.-- Mash, in the form of crumbles or pellets, was fed on all
farms. Crumbles were fed on 79 percent of the farms, pellets on 17 percent and a
combination of the two on 4 percent. Six brands of mash were fed. Protein content
varied from 16 to 24 percent, crude fat from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, fiber from 5 to
8 percent and nitrogen free extract from 38 to 50 percent,









Other Buildings

Feed and egg rooms when located in cage houses were considered a part of
the cage house. On some farms, however, there were separate facilities for feed
and eggs. This was more common on large farms, and on farms where other live-
stock feed was also used. Twenty-two of the 53 farms studied had some type of
"other" poultry buildings. Twenty-nine percent of the small farms, 31 percent of
the medium farms and 76 percent of the large farms had separate facilities for eggs
or feed. There were 11 separate egg rooms, and five separate feed and egg rooms.

Equipment

Equipment included egg baskets, egg and feed carts, egg graders, egg
candlers, egg cleaners, water heaters, coops or crates, spraying equipment, re-
frigerators or coolers, and miscellaneous items. The amount of equipment such as
egg baskets and crates varied depending upon the size of the cage farm. Processing
equipment such as candlers and graders was usually of the small non-mechanical
type except on some of the larger farms. Mechanical graders were used on seven
farms and mechanical egg cleaners on nine forms. Normally forms having a grader
also had a cleaner. There were only four refrigerators for storage of eggs on the
53 farms studied. Most farmers followed practices that were designed to help keep
eggs cool.

On the farms studied no mechanized devices were used as an aid in feeding
or picking-up eggs. Homemade hand push carts were used on some farms to facili-
tate feeding and egg gathering. On others, hand-carried containers devised for
special jobs such as feeding, were used.


PRODUCTION PRACTICES

There are many variations in methods and practices which farmers may use
in the management of cage layers. The individual farmer works out a system which
best suits his desires. Most systems work satisfactorily if the more basic principles
are followed such as providing good and sufficient feed and water, obtaining a
"good" bird, providing comfortable housing and performing jobs with regularity.

Feeding

Types of feed.-- Mash, in the form of crumbles or pellets, was fed on all
farms. Crumbles were fed on 79 percent of the farms, pellets on 17 percent and a
combination of the two on 4 percent. Six brands of mash were fed. Protein content
varied from 16 to 24 percent, crude fat from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, fiber from 5 to
8 percent and nitrogen free extract from 38 to 50 percent,









Other Buildings

Feed and egg rooms when located in cage houses were considered a part of
the cage house. On some farms, however, there were separate facilities for feed
and eggs. This was more common on large farms, and on farms where other live-
stock feed was also used. Twenty-two of the 53 farms studied had some type of
"other" poultry buildings. Twenty-nine percent of the small farms, 31 percent of
the medium farms and 76 percent of the large farms had separate facilities for eggs
or feed. There were 11 separate egg rooms, and five separate feed and egg rooms.

Equipment

Equipment included egg baskets, egg and feed carts, egg graders, egg
candlers, egg cleaners, water heaters, coops or crates, spraying equipment, re-
frigerators or coolers, and miscellaneous items. The amount of equipment such as
egg baskets and crates varied depending upon the size of the cage farm. Processing
equipment such as candlers and graders was usually of the small non-mechanical
type except on some of the larger farms. Mechanical graders were used on seven
farms and mechanical egg cleaners on nine forms. Normally forms having a grader
also had a cleaner. There were only four refrigerators for storage of eggs on the
53 farms studied. Most farmers followed practices that were designed to help keep
eggs cool.

On the farms studied no mechanized devices were used as an aid in feeding
or picking-up eggs. Homemade hand push carts were used on some farms to facili-
tate feeding and egg gathering. On others, hand-carried containers devised for
special jobs such as feeding, were used.


PRODUCTION PRACTICES

There are many variations in methods and practices which farmers may use
in the management of cage layers. The individual farmer works out a system which
best suits his desires. Most systems work satisfactorily if the more basic principles
are followed such as providing good and sufficient feed and water, obtaining a
"good" bird, providing comfortable housing and performing jobs with regularity.

Feeding

Types of feed.-- Mash, in the form of crumbles or pellets, was fed on all
farms. Crumbles were fed on 79 percent of the farms, pellets on 17 percent and a
combination of the two on 4 percent. Six brands of mash were fed. Protein content
varied from 16 to 24 percent, crude fat from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, fiber from 5 to
8 percent and nitrogen free extract from 38 to 50 percent,









A mash supplement with a higher protein content than the regular laying
ration, was fed on 72 percent of the farms. Some producers fed a supplement regu-
larly, but others let the rate-of-lay and the condition of the bird determine when
it was fed. Some farmers felt that birds needed extra nutrients when laying at a
high rate. Other producers felt where the condition of the birds was poor and pro-
duction low, the feeding of a supplement would boost production. Therefore,
supplements were fed on some farms when egg production was around 80 percent
and on others when production was less than 50 percent.

Twenty-one percent of the farmers fed grain in the form of whole oats or
wheat, in addition to mash. Ninety-eight percent fed shell and 45 percent fed
grit. Of those feeding shell, 38 percent used hen-size shell, 36 percent pullet-
size and 26 percent stated that they had no preference, using any size delivered.
Grit was fed on 24 farms, or 45 percent of all farms.

Freguency of feeding.--Two-thirds of the farmers fed mash once each.day
(Table 8). Farmers who varied the time of feeding changed the number of times
from winter to summer, feeding more often in the summer. Many farmers also
stirred the feed with their hands from one to three times per day to level feed in
the troughs, and also to encourage more feed consumption. The frequency of feeding
determined the amount of feed placed in a trough at one time. Most farmers pre-
ferred filling the trough one-third to one-half full to prevent feed wastage. In
most cases where shell and grit were fed these items were available at all times.

The time of day the hens were fed depended to some extent on other jobs
required of the poultrymen. Once a time of day for feeding was established, most
poultrymen followed this pattern since they felt that to vary feeding times would
affect the rate of lay of the birds. Most of the farmers feeding in the mornings
Table 8.--Frequency and Time of Feeding Mash, 53 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, 1955.

Item : Number of farms : Percent of total
Frequency of feeding
Two times per day 6 11
One time per day 35 66
Two times per three days 2 4
One time per two days 3 6
Two times per week 2 4
Other 5 9
Total 53 100
Time of day of feeding
Prior to 10 A.M. 21 40
After 2 P.M. 18 34
Before 10 A.M. and after 2 P.M. 10 19
Other 4 7
Total 7-5 TW










fed between six and eight o'clock. Those farmers feeding in the afternoon, normally
fed between four and six o'clock. A few farmers filled troughs two-thirds to almost
full and fed again when they were empty. It is believed that this practice resulted
in feed wastage.

Method of feeding.--Sixty-eight percent of the farmers used pails or coal
scuttles t transfer feed to the troughs. This involved filling the container at the
feed storage area and carrying it the length of the feeders. Of the two containers,
the coal scuttle appeared more practical since it held more feed and had a lip which
allowed the overage worker to feed faster without wasting feed. Several pails had
been altered or provided with spouts by poultrymen, thus making feed distribution
faster and easier.

Thirteen percent of the farmers fed directly from the feed bag. One corner
of the bag was opened which served as a spout from which feed flowed into the
trough. This method was faster. If care was exercised and troughs placed high
enough, little feed was wasted. Eleven percent of the farmers used wheelbarrows
or feed carts from which scoops or pails were used to transfer feed to the troughs.
Two persons, one scooping feed and one pushing the wheelbarrow, usually worked
together. This saved time in longer houses since enough feed could be placed in
the wheelbarrow to completely feed two troughs in one trip through the house.

The location of feed rooms affected the methods of feeding. Most of the
wheelbarrows were used when houses were above average length. Feeding directly
from sacks was also used in the longer houses. Pails and coal scuttles were normally
used where houses were shorter, or in longer houses where the feed room was located
in the center of the house, It appears that the development of some inexpensive
equipment for feeding would appreciably increase efficiency in the use of labor on
most caged farms.

Source, frequency of delivery and terms of purchase.--Feed was purchased
directly from feed dealers by 87 percent of the poultrymen; 13 percent obtained
feed wholesale either through their own dealership or through some cooperative means.
All feed was packed in 50 pound paper bags. On 60 percent of the farms, delivery
was made by the feed dealer. On the other farms, the grower hauled his own feed.

The frequency of obtaining feed varied. On 72 percent of the farms, feed
was delivered weekly or more often, every two weeks on 15 percent of the farms
and on 13 percent less often than twice per month. Reasons for frequency of delivery
varied. Some farmers gave consideration to freshness of feed, some to storage space,
some to price and some to facilities for hauling and who hauled the feed.

Arrangements for payment of feed bills varied. Most farmers paid for the
feed with receipts from eggs. The general agreements for settlement were 41 per-
cent monthly, 32 percent weekly, 21 percent cash and 6 percent miscellaneous.










Some accounts were carried over these periods, particularly during the time of the
year when replacements were being raised. Feed dealers financing cage houses
carried these accounts over more than the usual payment period, especially when
returns from eggs were low.

Services.-- Most feed companies employ persons to help poultrymen with
their production problems. Three-fourths of the farmers said they were satisfied
with the services received. One-fourth said they received no services or were
dissatisfied with those provided. Type of services used most frequently were help
with vaccination of birds, in culling and in marketing.

Watering

Most waterers were automatic or were allowed to flow continuously. Manage-
ment involved periodic cleaning and checking the waterers for leaks and malfunction.
The checking was usually done along with other daily jobs. Where troughs were
used, they were usually cleaned one to two times per week. The troughs were
emptied, brushes passed through them and then rinsed out with water. Some farmers
allowed the birds to pick the troughs clean while the water was off. Cups were
cleaned daily as they were checked for leaks and whether or not they were working
correctly.
Use of Lights

Lights were used on 52 of the 53 farms. The amount and time of use varied
(Table 9). Twenty-three operators used the same light-day throughout the year.
Twenty-nine varied their light program during different periods of the year. Farmers
who used a constant lighting program provided 14 to 16 hours of light per day.
Farmers varying the !ight-day provided 16 to 20 hours of light during the winter
months. As summer approached lights were decreased until only natural light was
used. Where the length of I:ght-dcy was varied within a house, gradual 15 minute
changes were made per week to prevent birds from going into a molt.

Table 9.--Use of Lights, 52 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955/.

Per'c.d o1 use : Number -f forms : Percent of total
Mcrviig and evening 20 38
Morning 19 37
Evening 5 10
All night 8 15
Total 52 100

/ One farm did not use lights.










Some accounts were carried over these periods, particularly during the time of the
year when replacements were being raised. Feed dealers financing cage houses
carried these accounts over more than the usual payment period, especially when
returns from eggs were low.

Services.-- Most feed companies employ persons to help poultrymen with
their production problems. Three-fourths of the farmers said they were satisfied
with the services received. One-fourth said they received no services or were
dissatisfied with those provided. Type of services used most frequently were help
with vaccination of birds, in culling and in marketing.

Watering

Most waterers were automatic or were allowed to flow continuously. Manage-
ment involved periodic cleaning and checking the waterers for leaks and malfunction.
The checking was usually done along with other daily jobs. Where troughs were
used, they were usually cleaned one to two times per week. The troughs were
emptied, brushes passed through them and then rinsed out with water. Some farmers
allowed the birds to pick the troughs clean while the water was off. Cups were
cleaned daily as they were checked for leaks and whether or not they were working
correctly.
Use of Lights

Lights were used on 52 of the 53 farms. The amount and time of use varied
(Table 9). Twenty-three operators used the same light-day throughout the year.
Twenty-nine varied their light program during different periods of the year. Farmers
who used a constant lighting program provided 14 to 16 hours of light per day.
Farmers varying the !ight-day provided 16 to 20 hours of light during the winter
months. As summer approached lights were decreased until only natural light was
used. Where the length of I:ght-dcy was varied within a house, gradual 15 minute
changes were made per week to prevent birds from going into a molt.

Table 9.--Use of Lights, 52 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955/.

Per'c.d o1 use : Number -f forms : Percent of total
Mcrviig and evening 20 38
Morning 19 37
Evening 5 10
All night 8 15
Total 52 100

/ One farm did not use lights.










Kind of Birds Used

There were 24 different strains of birds on the farms studied. On most forms,
there were two or more strains, Most strains were of the "light" Mediterranean
type--In-Crossbreeds and Single Comb White Leghorns.

Although producers were not questioned as to why they used a specific
strain, many commented concerning their choice of birds. In general, they seemed
to look for a bird with high livability and which produced a "large" (24-26 ounces
per dozen) egg of good shell and interior quality with a minimum of feed. Charac-
teristics such as size and temperament were also considered but only as they related
to the factors mentioned above.

Culling

Of all management practices, culling seemed to have changed the most
since these farmers entered the cage business. Essentially, there has been a gradual
shift to longer and longer "trial" periods on individual birds. Accompanying this
is a tendency to keep fewer records.

Some farmers allowed birds to reach eight months of age prior to any culling.
Some were using spot check methods for culling, keeping records only when the
flock dropped below 60-65 percent; or alternating two week intervals, keeping
records two weeks, and then going two, four, or six weeks without keeping records.

Fifteen percent of the farmers were using cards to keep a continuous record
of each bird's eggs. Seventy-nine percent used washers or clothespins to check egg
lay, but in general, these farmers did not keep a record longer than 28 days. Six
percent of the farmers kept no egg record.

Many factors influenced the farmer as to when birds were culled. Almost
all producers took into consideration the appearance of the bird. If the bird did
not look "good", it would be culled after 14 days. However, if the bird looked
"good", it might be allowed to remain in the cage as long as eight weeks. Twenty-
one percent of the farmers stated that they would keep a good looking bird for
another trial even if it had laid no eggs in 14 days. Nine percent kept the better
looking birds for as long as 28 days even though they had laid no eggs. Sixty-two
percent of the farmers stated that they would keep birds which were laying something
less than fifty percent for periods of at least 30 days. Almost all farmers kept birds
at least 21 days. The attitude seemed to be that birds would not be culled as long
as they were paying their feed bill,with adjustments for "good" birds as discussed
above. Producers estimated that during the year, 54 percent of the average number
of birds were removed by culling.

Seventy-nine percent of the farmers at some time during the year placed two










Kind of Birds Used

There were 24 different strains of birds on the farms studied. On most forms,
there were two or more strains, Most strains were of the "light" Mediterranean
type--In-Crossbreeds and Single Comb White Leghorns.

Although producers were not questioned as to why they used a specific
strain, many commented concerning their choice of birds. In general, they seemed
to look for a bird with high livability and which produced a "large" (24-26 ounces
per dozen) egg of good shell and interior quality with a minimum of feed. Charac-
teristics such as size and temperament were also considered but only as they related
to the factors mentioned above.

Culling

Of all management practices, culling seemed to have changed the most
since these farmers entered the cage business. Essentially, there has been a gradual
shift to longer and longer "trial" periods on individual birds. Accompanying this
is a tendency to keep fewer records.

Some farmers allowed birds to reach eight months of age prior to any culling.
Some were using spot check methods for culling, keeping records only when the
flock dropped below 60-65 percent; or alternating two week intervals, keeping
records two weeks, and then going two, four, or six weeks without keeping records.

Fifteen percent of the farmers were using cards to keep a continuous record
of each bird's eggs. Seventy-nine percent used washers or clothespins to check egg
lay, but in general, these farmers did not keep a record longer than 28 days. Six
percent of the farmers kept no egg record.

Many factors influenced the farmer as to when birds were culled. Almost
all producers took into consideration the appearance of the bird. If the bird did
not look "good", it would be culled after 14 days. However, if the bird looked
"good", it might be allowed to remain in the cage as long as eight weeks. Twenty-
one percent of the farmers stated that they would keep a good looking bird for
another trial even if it had laid no eggs in 14 days. Nine percent kept the better
looking birds for as long as 28 days even though they had laid no eggs. Sixty-two
percent of the farmers stated that they would keep birds which were laying something
less than fifty percent for periods of at least 30 days. Almost all farmers kept birds
at least 21 days. The attitude seemed to be that birds would not be culled as long
as they were paying their feed bill,with adjustments for "good" birds as discussed
above. Producers estimated that during the year, 54 percent of the average number
of birds were removed by culling.

Seventy-nine percent of the farmers at some time during the year placed two










birds in some of the cages. In almost all cases these were birds 15 to 20 weeks of
age which had been raised together. One of the birds would be taken out and placed
in another cage as they became empty. Most farmers stated they would not put two
old birds together.

Disease, Mortality and Sanitation

Disease was a problem with both replacements and layers. Leucosis was
reported as being the major cause of death. Since few diagnoses were made, the
term "leucosis" may have been misleading. If all causes such as leucosis, nervous
disorders and internal disorders were considered in one category, this group would
account for 87 percent of the cause of all deaths. Hemorrhaging was the major
cause of death on four farms, and overheating, Newcastle and respiratory diseases
on one each.

Mortality.--An estimated 14,414 birds died on the 53 farms studied. On
the 33 farms where complete records were obtained, 9846 birds died during the year.
The average rate of mortality was 17 percent on these farms but it varied from 14
percent on small and medium farms to 19 percent on large farms (Table 10). One
large farm where disease was a serious problem, the mortality rate was 34 percent.

Table 10.-Estimated Mortality by Size of Flock, 33 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.
: Number: Average : Mortality
Number of : of : number : Average Range
layers : Farms :of birds : Number: Percent : Low : High
Less than 1000 15 619 87 14.1 4.4 29.6
1000 1999 9 1895 206 13.7 4.3 20.8
2000 or more 9 4838 931 19.2 6.7 34.1
Average or total 33 1753 298 17.0 4.4 34.1


The disposal of dead birds varied. Only two farmers had disposal pits.
Eighteen farmers buried birds, 11 burned them, 7 fed them to hogs, 5 used the city
dump and 10 disposed of birds in fields on the farm.

Vaccination programs.-- Ninety-six percent of the farmers vaccinated for
Newcastle disease; all vaccinated for fowl pox and 79 percent for bronchitis. The
most common program used for Newcastle consisted of two vaccinations. The first
was given when chicks were one day old and the second when chicks were 14 to 16
weeks old. Day old chicks were usually vaccinated at the hatchery. Those vacci-
nating for bronchitis generally followed this same schedule. On thirty farms the
mixing of Newcastle and bronchitis vaccine was practiced. In most cases the









interocular method was used for the administering of this mixture. Other methods
used were intranasal, wing-web (usually at 14 to 16 weeks), water, dust and mist
spray. The dust, water and mist methods were reported as satisfactory on the farms
where they were used, but in most cases had been used only on the last one or two
lots of birds.

Fowl pox vaccinations were usually given between eight to twelve weeks of
age, using the wing-web method. Vaccination programs varied much more than these
comments would indicate. Ten farmers combined the fowl pox vaccination with the
second Newcastle vaccination, using the wing-web method. Eight farmers varied
the first Newcastle and bronchitis vaccinations from four to twenty-one days of age.
Other combinations were used but these include those most common.

Parasite control .--Ninety-one percent of the farmers wormed birds prior to
or immediately after caging. Approximately half of the farmers wormed older laying
hens. Feed, containing a worming ingredient, was used on almost all farms for
young and old birds. Some farmers used worm pellets, which were individually
administered to old birds. Those using this method thought it gave more satisfactory
results, but required more labor. Replacements were usually wormed at 14 to 20
weeks of age depending on the age they were caged. A few farmers wormed young
birds twice, once at eight to twelve weeks and again at caging. Where old birds
were wormed, the condition of the birds determined the frequency of worming.
Old birds were wormed two to three times per year.

Fifty-five percent of the farmers reported having trouble with mites. Black
leaf 40 and malathion were the most common materials used to control or kill these
parasites. Where mites were a problem farmers sprayed two to three times at four
to eight day intervals. The first spraying killed adult mites but not the eggs. The
second spraying killed the mites which had hatched from the eggs after the first
spraying.

Lice were a problem on 17 percent of the farms. Black leaf 40 was the
most common material used to eliminate lice, but sodium flouride dust, malathion
and chlordane were used also.

Flies and fly control.--Fly control was the most serious of the sanitation
problems on cage farms. Whether or not flies were a serious problem depended on
the condition of the manure. Wet, warm weather or leaking waterers which dampened
the manure under the cages created an ideal incubating and growth media for fly
eggs and larva.

Flies gave the most trouble during the months of May, June, July and
August--the months of March, April, September and October also were reported
as trouble months, although to a lesser degree. In general, any period of hot, humid
weather will create fly problems on most farms where preventive measures are not









quickly applied.

Malathion, in liquid form, diluted with water, was used on 94 percent of
the farms to control flies. This was usually sprayed on the dropping once or twice a
week in warm weather depending upon the infestation of flies. This treatment was
successful against adult flies, but most farmers had trouble where this system was
used in eliminating the larvae which worked through the manure. Malathion in the
form of flakes and crystals was also used since it was more residual. However, these
materials were normally used to supplement the spraying program.

Superphosphate and lime, in limited quantities, were used by sixty-six per-
cent of the farmers on wet spots in the manure as drying agents to control flies and
odors. Superphosphate was preferred by four-fifths of the farmers using these materi-
als since the acidity of the soil was affected by lime where manure treated with it
was applied to pastures or crops. Most farmers also felt that some of the value of the
phosphate was recovered when the manure was spread on the land.

Since fly control was dependent upon the condition of the manure, most
farmers gave special consideration to its care. If manure was removed from the house
only once a year, the months of January through March were generally preferred for
this job. When manure was removed twice, November and December and March and
April were preferred. Removal at periods when it is usually cooler and drier provides
time for manure to build a base and "cone up"before the hotwetmonths (Fig.3).Coning
is desirable since manure in this form presents a greater drying surface to the air. The
daily droppings of one bird from a cage will generally dry out under most conditions
where "cones" are built up. Droppings from more than one bird, (two birds per cage),
may not have sufficient time to dry out in damp weather.

In all cases manure was removed from the cage house by means of hand labor
using a shovel and a wheelbarrow (Fig. 4). On some farms where manure spreaders
or other conveyances could be moved close to the side of the house, the manure was
shoveled directly into them. Most producers removed all manure when cleaning.
Some left a dry base which allowed droppings to "cone up" more quickly since the
base served as an absorbing agent for moisture in fresh droppings. Sand, sawdust or
peanut hulls were placed under the cages on some farms for this purpose.

In long houses built on sloping land where trough waterers are used, cages
may be as low as 18 to 20 inches from the ground at the low end of the row. In
addition to being hard to work with at this level, this also presents a problem in
manure management. Manure must be removed more frequently since it reaches the
bottom of the cage after several months. If good judgment is used concerning removal
dates, this may be no problem. However, some farmers removed manure during
periods when weather conditions were poor. Fresh droppings did not dry out and these
farmers soon had a serious sanitation problem.






























Fig. 3 "Coning" of droppings under cages.


Fig. 4 The common method of manure removal.
Note the desirable "coning" of droppings under cages at
right.










REPLACEMENT PROGRAM

Many farmers stated they did not follow their normal practices in replacing
birds during the period of this study. Some were culling less than formerly and
others were culling heavier because of the low egg-feed ratios. Farms with no
definite culling programs had no definite replacement programs. Thus, there were
times when these farmers faced the problem of having empty cages. In some cases
this was remedied by purchasing 16 to 18 week old replacements. The tendency,
however, was to cull fewer birds, keeping marginal producers in the hope of making
some return at a future date. On the 33 farms where complete records were obtained,
54 percent of the average number of birds was culled during the year, and 17 per-
cent died. This meant that 71 percent of the average number of birds was removed
from the cages. These farmers replaced 74 percent of the average number of birds,
so there was an increase of three percent in the numbers for the year.

Brooding and Rearing Methods

Forty-nine farmers brooded all or part of their replacements; four farmers
purchased all their replacements at 14 to 20 weeks of age. The infra-red bulb was
used on 22 farms, and was the most common heating unit for brooding chicks. Nine
farmers used gas brooders. Miscellaneous heating units such as oil and kerosene
brooders, electric brooders, batteries and ordinary light bulbs were used for
brooding on 18 farms.

Farmers can "confine" or "range" their birds depending upon the rearing
method they prefer. "Confined" birds may be raised on litter or on wire. Twelve
farmers confined their birds on litter and six on wire. Thirty-one farmers used the
"range" system to raise replacements.

Number of Replacements Raised

An estimate was obtained from 41 producers on the number of pullets placed
in cages between September 1, 1954 and August 31, 1955 and the number of lots
of birds raised. In counting lots, only birds purchased as day old chicks were in-
cluded. The number of lots raised were for pullets that were placed in cages during
the record year. Therefore, the number of lots raised included those started during
the period June 1, 1954 to May 31, 1955 rather than the number started during the
record year.
Small farmers averaged raising three lots of birds per year;medium and large
producers averaged 4 and 5 lots, respectively. An average of 1195 birds were started
per farm (Table 11). This number was equal to 84 percent of the average number of
cages. Since 10 percent of the chicks started died or were cockerels, 74 percent of
the total number of cages were filled during the year by birds raised. On the 33 farms
where complete records of costs and returns were obtained, 42,647 replacements were
added. Of this number 39, 229 or 94 percent were purchased as day old chicks.










REPLACEMENT PROGRAM

Many farmers stated they did not follow their normal practices in replacing
birds during the period of this study. Some were culling less than formerly and
others were culling heavier because of the low egg-feed ratios. Farms with no
definite culling programs had no definite replacement programs. Thus, there were
times when these farmers faced the problem of having empty cages. In some cases
this was remedied by purchasing 16 to 18 week old replacements. The tendency,
however, was to cull fewer birds, keeping marginal producers in the hope of making
some return at a future date. On the 33 farms where complete records were obtained,
54 percent of the average number of birds was culled during the year, and 17 per-
cent died. This meant that 71 percent of the average number of birds was removed
from the cages. These farmers replaced 74 percent of the average number of birds,
so there was an increase of three percent in the numbers for the year.

Brooding and Rearing Methods

Forty-nine farmers brooded all or part of their replacements; four farmers
purchased all their replacements at 14 to 20 weeks of age. The infra-red bulb was
used on 22 farms, and was the most common heating unit for brooding chicks. Nine
farmers used gas brooders. Miscellaneous heating units such as oil and kerosene
brooders, electric brooders, batteries and ordinary light bulbs were used for
brooding on 18 farms.

Farmers can "confine" or "range" their birds depending upon the rearing
method they prefer. "Confined" birds may be raised on litter or on wire. Twelve
farmers confined their birds on litter and six on wire. Thirty-one farmers used the
"range" system to raise replacements.

Number of Replacements Raised

An estimate was obtained from 41 producers on the number of pullets placed
in cages between September 1, 1954 and August 31, 1955 and the number of lots
of birds raised. In counting lots, only birds purchased as day old chicks were in-
cluded. The number of lots raised were for pullets that were placed in cages during
the record year. Therefore, the number of lots raised included those started during
the period June 1, 1954 to May 31, 1955 rather than the number started during the
record year.
Small farmers averaged raising three lots of birds per year;medium and large
producers averaged 4 and 5 lots, respectively. An average of 1195 birds were started
per farm (Table 11). This number was equal to 84 percent of the average number of
cages. Since 10 percent of the chicks started died or were cockerels, 74 percent of
the total number of cages were filled during the year by birds raised. On the 33 farms
where complete records of costs and returns were obtained, 42,647 replacements were
added. Of this number 39, 229 or 94 percent were purchased as day old chicks.










REPLACEMENT PROGRAM

Many farmers stated they did not follow their normal practices in replacing
birds during the period of this study. Some were culling less than formerly and
others were culling heavier because of the low egg-feed ratios. Farms with no
definite culling programs had no definite replacement programs. Thus, there were
times when these farmers faced the problem of having empty cages. In some cases
this was remedied by purchasing 16 to 18 week old replacements. The tendency,
however, was to cull fewer birds, keeping marginal producers in the hope of making
some return at a future date. On the 33 farms where complete records were obtained,
54 percent of the average number of birds was culled during the year, and 17 per-
cent died. This meant that 71 percent of the average number of birds was removed
from the cages. These farmers replaced 74 percent of the average number of birds,
so there was an increase of three percent in the numbers for the year.

Brooding and Rearing Methods

Forty-nine farmers brooded all or part of their replacements; four farmers
purchased all their replacements at 14 to 20 weeks of age. The infra-red bulb was
used on 22 farms, and was the most common heating unit for brooding chicks. Nine
farmers used gas brooders. Miscellaneous heating units such as oil and kerosene
brooders, electric brooders, batteries and ordinary light bulbs were used for
brooding on 18 farms.

Farmers can "confine" or "range" their birds depending upon the rearing
method they prefer. "Confined" birds may be raised on litter or on wire. Twelve
farmers confined their birds on litter and six on wire. Thirty-one farmers used the
"range" system to raise replacements.

Number of Replacements Raised

An estimate was obtained from 41 producers on the number of pullets placed
in cages between September 1, 1954 and August 31, 1955 and the number of lots
of birds raised. In counting lots, only birds purchased as day old chicks were in-
cluded. The number of lots raised were for pullets that were placed in cages during
the record year. Therefore, the number of lots raised included those started during
the period June 1, 1954 to May 31, 1955 rather than the number started during the
record year.
Small farmers averaged raising three lots of birds per year;medium and large
producers averaged 4 and 5 lots, respectively. An average of 1195 birds were started
per farm (Table 11). This number was equal to 84 percent of the average number of
cages. Since 10 percent of the chicks started died or were cockerels, 74 percent of
the total number of cages were filled during the year by birds raised. On the 33 farms
where complete records of costs and returns were obtained, 42,647 replacements were
added. Of this number 39, 229 or 94 percent were purchased as day old chicks.










Table 11.--Replacements Raised by Size of Farm, 41 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: : : Replacements raised
Number of : Number: Average : Lots Number
cages : of :number :Number :Average: 4 : Percent
: farms :of cages : started : size : Started :Housed: Mortality-
Less than 1000 23 603 3.0 145 435 398 9.3
1000- 1999 12 1276 4.0 225 900 797 11.4
2000 or more 6 4871 5.0 939 4694 4259 9.3
All forms 41 1425 3.6 333 1195 1080 9.6


/ Includes cockerels which averaged 1.7 percent of the total number of birds
purchased on all farms.

Labor

Hours of labor required for raising replacements was estimated on 41 farms
(Table 12). Labor per 100 chicks declined as the average size of lots increased.
Some farmers, particularly those with smaller lots, spent more time on chicks one day
to eight weeks of age than on those over eight weeks of age. Many farmers, however,
stated there was little difference in time spent in caring for replacements ofdifferent
age levels.

Table 12.--Estimated Labor Requirements by Size of Lots for Raising Replacements, 1/
41 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954-August:3 8I,955~r

: : Average :
Number of : : number of : Minutes of labor per day
chicks per : Number : chicks : Amount : Amount
lot : of farms :per lot : per lot : per 100 chicks
Less than 200 11 107 24 22
200 299 14 211 34 16
300-499 6 333 57 17
500 and over 10 775 70 9
All farms 41 338 43 13


1/Amount of labor was estimated for the growing period for one lot of chicks
raised on each farm.










Chick Cost

The cost of the chick normally makes up about one-fourth to one-third of
the cash cost of raising replacements. Usually there is a relationship between the
quality of replacements and the price paid for chicks. There was a fairly wide
range in the cost of chicks on these farms. About one-fifth paid less than 40 cents
each while two-fifths paid 55 cents or more (Table 13).

Table 13.--Prices Paid for Day Old Chicks, 46 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.
"^" -r- -~ "^ -- i -
Price per chick : Number of farms : Percent of total
Cents
Less than 39 10 22
40 54 12 26
55 and over 20 43
Varied 4 9
Total 46 100


Estimated Costs of Rearing Replacements

Records were not obtained on the costs of rearing replacements. Some of
the producers interviewed were asked to estimate costs. The estimated cash costs
of 17 farmers averaged $1.75 per bird. The range in estimates varied from $1.42
to $2.40 per bird. Five farmers made estimates of total costs. Their estimates ranged
from $1.96 to $2.25 and averaged $2.04 per bird. Although cost estimates were
obtained from only about one-third of the producers studied, the results checked
closely with prices paid for replacements that were bought. Farmers usually pur-
chased birds at 16 weeks of age at a cost of $2.00 to $2.15 per bird.

MARKETING PRACTICES

The amount of time and facilities available and the market potential open
in general determined the manner in which eggs and poultry were marketed. Method
of marketing varied from producers who sold eggs to wholesalers with no preparation
to those who completely processed eggs and sold them to retail outlets. This section
deals with marketing practices from the standpoint of gathering eggs, cleaning,
sorting, packing and selling.










Chick Cost

The cost of the chick normally makes up about one-fourth to one-third of
the cash cost of raising replacements. Usually there is a relationship between the
quality of replacements and the price paid for chicks. There was a fairly wide
range in the cost of chicks on these farms. About one-fifth paid less than 40 cents
each while two-fifths paid 55 cents or more (Table 13).

Table 13.--Prices Paid for Day Old Chicks, 46 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.
"^" -r- -~ "^ -- i -
Price per chick : Number of farms : Percent of total
Cents
Less than 39 10 22
40 54 12 26
55 and over 20 43
Varied 4 9
Total 46 100


Estimated Costs of Rearing Replacements

Records were not obtained on the costs of rearing replacements. Some of
the producers interviewed were asked to estimate costs. The estimated cash costs
of 17 farmers averaged $1.75 per bird. The range in estimates varied from $1.42
to $2.40 per bird. Five farmers made estimates of total costs. Their estimates ranged
from $1.96 to $2.25 and averaged $2.04 per bird. Although cost estimates were
obtained from only about one-third of the producers studied, the results checked
closely with prices paid for replacements that were bought. Farmers usually pur-
chased birds at 16 weeks of age at a cost of $2.00 to $2.15 per bird.

MARKETING PRACTICES

The amount of time and facilities available and the market potential open
in general determined the manner in which eggs and poultry were marketed. Method
of marketing varied from producers who sold eggs to wholesalers with no preparation
to those who completely processed eggs and sold them to retail outlets. This section
deals with marketing practices from the standpoint of gathering eggs, cleaning,
sorting, packing and selling.










Chick Cost

The cost of the chick normally makes up about one-fourth to one-third of
the cash cost of raising replacements. Usually there is a relationship between the
quality of replacements and the price paid for chicks. There was a fairly wide
range in the cost of chicks on these farms. About one-fifth paid less than 40 cents
each while two-fifths paid 55 cents or more (Table 13).

Table 13.--Prices Paid for Day Old Chicks, 46 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.
"^" -r- -~ "^ -- i -
Price per chick : Number of farms : Percent of total
Cents
Less than 39 10 22
40 54 12 26
55 and over 20 43
Varied 4 9
Total 46 100


Estimated Costs of Rearing Replacements

Records were not obtained on the costs of rearing replacements. Some of
the producers interviewed were asked to estimate costs. The estimated cash costs
of 17 farmers averaged $1.75 per bird. The range in estimates varied from $1.42
to $2.40 per bird. Five farmers made estimates of total costs. Their estimates ranged
from $1.96 to $2.25 and averaged $2.04 per bird. Although cost estimates were
obtained from only about one-third of the producers studied, the results checked
closely with prices paid for replacements that were bought. Farmers usually pur-
chased birds at 16 weeks of age at a cost of $2.00 to $2.15 per bird.

MARKETING PRACTICES

The amount of time and facilities available and the market potential open
in general determined the manner in which eggs and poultry were marketed. Method
of marketing varied from producers who sold eggs to wholesalers with no preparation
to those who completely processed eggs and sold them to retail outlets. This section
deals with marketing practices from the standpoint of gathering eggs, cleaning,
sorting, packing and selling.










Gathering Eggs

The majority of cage producers gathered eggs only once a day (Table 14).
About one-fifth of the producers varied their gathering practices with the season,
gathering more frequently in summer than in the winter. When frequency of
gathering is compared for winter and summer, the percent of farmers gathering eggs
twice per day increased from 13 percent to 21 percent; the proportion gathering
once per day dropped from 85 to 75 percent.

Table 14.--Number of Times Eggs Gathered per Day in Summer and Winter,
53 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955.

: Summer : Winter
Times per day : Number : Percent : Number : Percent
One 40 75 45 85
Two 11 21 7 13
Three 2 4 1 2
Total 53 100 53 100


Most farmers used a hand carried container to gather eggs, but a few on the
larger farms used carts (Table 15). Standard thirty-dozen cases were placed on
these carts to be filled with eggs. This method was easy, fast and resulted in little
breakage. Eggs cooled very slowly, however, in this type container.

Table 15.--Containers Used for Gathering Eggs, 53 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, 1955.

Type of container : Number of farms : Percent of total
Rubber or plastic
coated basket 21 40
Wire basket 19 36
Wire and coated baskets 3 6
Metal pails 5 9
Miscellaneous 5 9
Total 53 100










Processing

The term processing, as used in this report, included those operations
connected with cleaning, sorting and packing eggs as performed by the farmers.
Eighty-seven percent of the farmers partially or completely processed the eggs they
produced, but 13 percent sold their eggs without processing them (Table 16). On
most farms eggs were held in the cage house, egg room, or home prior to processing.
The number of hours they were held varied, but 65 percent of the producers
processed all eggs within 12 hours after gathering; 89 percent processed eggs within
24 hours.

Table 16.--Number of Hours After Gathering, Eggs Were Held on Farmn) Prior
to Processing, 46 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, 1955-Y.

Time held : Number of farms : Percent of total
Less than 6 hours 24 52
7 12 hours 6 13
13 24 hours 11 24
25 48 hours 5 11
Total 46 100

1 Seven farms did not process eggs.

All producers who processed their eggs did some cleaning, 65 percent sorted
for size and 35 percent candled. Forty-six percent of the producers cleaned all
eggs and 54 percent cleaned only those that were dirty; 80 percent cleaned eggs
by hand and 20 percent used mechanical egg cleaners. A sponge or damp rag was
most commonly used in cleaning eggs by hand. Stains were removed with a small
sandpaper brush.

Twenty-three percent of those farmers sorting eggs by size used mechanical
graders and 77 percent small single-egg type scales. Thirty-one percent of the
farmers candling eggs used candlers attached to mechanical graders and 69 percent
used single-egg type candlers. All eggs were packed for delivery in dozen cartons
or 30 dozen cases. The amount of processing done on the farm was indicative of the
market level at which farmers sold. Eggs not cleaned on the farm usually went to
wholesalers who performed this job. Eggs that were cleaned, graded and candled
by the producer were normally sold at retail or to a retail outlet. Wholesalers
usually paid for eggs on a graded out basis, either at the farm or at the processing
plant. The agreement between the farmer and the wholesaler therefore determined
who graded the eggs.










Selling Eggs

Type of outlet.-- Thirty-eight percent of the producers sold eggs to whole-
salers, 26 percent direct to retail grocers, eating places, hospitals, etc., 21 per-
cent to poultry associations and 15 percent to feed dealers (Table 17). Three-fourths
of the farmers delivered their eggs to the receivers. Jobbers or wholesalers picked
up the eggs on one-fourth of the farms. On 26 percent of these farms, eggs were
delivered at least three times per week, at least two times per week on 87 percent
and at least once per week on all farms.

Table 17.--Type of Outlets for Eggs, 53 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, 1955.

Type of outlet : Number of farms : Percent of farms
Wholesalers 20 38
Retail grocers, eating places,
hospitals, etc. 14 26
Poultry associations 11 21
Feed dealers 8 15
Total 53 100


Method of pricing and payments.-- Prices received for eggs were based
on the Jacksonville market. Only one producer, selling to a retail outlet, based
prices on the local or Tallahassee market. Prices in general ranged from equal to,
to eight cents under the Jacksonville market depending upon the amount of proces-
sing at the farm level. One cooperative association used a graduated scale; the
margin between the farm and retail price increased as the retail price increased
and decreased as the retail price decreased.

Forty percent of the farmers reported that they were paid when eggs were
delivered or on a "delivery following" basis. Forty-one percent reported weekly
payments, 15 percent monthly payments and 4 percent miscellaneous arrangements
from delivery to monthly payments, depending upon the place of sale.

Marketing of Birds

Eighty-four percent of the producers sold their cull birds to wholesalers;
seven percent sold approximately half of their culls to wholesalers and retailed
half at the farm. Nine percent of the producers retailed all culled birds at the
farm. About four-fifths of the producers sold at least three-fourths of their birds
alive; 13 percent sold most of their birds dressed. The majority of these birds were
sold to retail outlets or sold directly to customers at the farm.










Selling Eggs

Type of outlet.-- Thirty-eight percent of the producers sold eggs to whole-
salers, 26 percent direct to retail grocers, eating places, hospitals, etc., 21 per-
cent to poultry associations and 15 percent to feed dealers (Table 17). Three-fourths
of the farmers delivered their eggs to the receivers. Jobbers or wholesalers picked
up the eggs on one-fourth of the farms. On 26 percent of these farms, eggs were
delivered at least three times per week, at least two times per week on 87 percent
and at least once per week on all farms.

Table 17.--Type of Outlets for Eggs, 53 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, 1955.

Type of outlet : Number of farms : Percent of farms
Wholesalers 20 38
Retail grocers, eating places,
hospitals, etc. 14 26
Poultry associations 11 21
Feed dealers 8 15
Total 53 100


Method of pricing and payments.-- Prices received for eggs were based
on the Jacksonville market. Only one producer, selling to a retail outlet, based
prices on the local or Tallahassee market. Prices in general ranged from equal to,
to eight cents under the Jacksonville market depending upon the amount of proces-
sing at the farm level. One cooperative association used a graduated scale; the
margin between the farm and retail price increased as the retail price increased
and decreased as the retail price decreased.

Forty percent of the farmers reported that they were paid when eggs were
delivered or on a "delivery following" basis. Forty-one percent reported weekly
payments, 15 percent monthly payments and 4 percent miscellaneous arrangements
from delivery to monthly payments, depending upon the place of sale.

Marketing of Birds

Eighty-four percent of the producers sold their cull birds to wholesalers;
seven percent sold approximately half of their culls to wholesalers and retailed
half at the farm. Nine percent of the producers retailed all culled birds at the
farm. About four-fifths of the producers sold at least three-fourths of their birds
alive; 13 percent sold most of their birds dressed. The majority of these birds were
sold to retail outlets or sold directly to customers at the farm.










Prices received for birds sold were based, to some extent, on the Jacksonville
market. This was especially true when large lots of birds were sold. However, the
general attitude seemed to be, "I'll take what the processor offers". When birds
were sold retail at the form, the price was frequently on a per-head basis, usually
between $.75 and $1.25 per bird.

INVESTMENT, COSTS AND RETURNS

All of the producers interviewed were asked to estimate the amount of
investment in buildings and equipment and the amount and value of the land used
by the layer enterprise. The investment figure did not include the value of build-
ings and equipment used for raising replacements or the value of other land, farm
dwelling and other items connected with the farm business. Data were also obtained
from 33 of the operators on total costs and returns for the layer enterprise for the
period, September 1, 1954 to August 31, 1955. This number included records for
17 farms with less than 1000 layers, 9 farms with 1000 to 1999 layers and 7 farms
with 2000 layers or more.

Investment in Caged-Layer Houses, Cages, Other Buildings and Equipment

Cage houses and cages are major items of investment. For the 53 farms
studied the average investment in buildings and equipment was $5270 (Table 18).
The investment ranged from $1844 on small farms to $14,045 on large farms. The
amount of the investment averaged $2.83 per cage on all farms of which $1.56 was
in cage houses, $1.06 in cages, 12 cents in other buildings and 9 cents in equipment.
The amount of the investment per cage decreased as the size of the farm increased,
being $3.03 on small farms, $2.82 on medium farms and $2.78 on large farms.

The range in costs of buildings and equipment on farms in West Florida was
from $1.78 to $6.01 per cage on small farms, $1.67 to $3.79 per cage on medium
farms and $1.65 to $4.87 per cage on large farms. The one-third of the farms with
the lowest building and equipment cost averaged $1.84 per cage. The one-third
with the highest cost averaged $4.48 per cage.

The amount of money invested in a layer enterprise depends upon capital
available to a farmer and his attitude as to the length of time he plans to stay in
the poultry business. A farmer speculating in poultry may construct an "open" felt
roofed building, purchase used or make his own cages and work with a minimum of
equipment. Another farmer with more money and extended plans, may build houses
with concrete foundations and aluminum roofs, purchase cages with the installation
cost included and add special feed and egg rooms complete with mechanical washers
and graders. The cost per year per cage depends on repairs and depreciation. For
a person who remains in the business, it is possible that buildings constructed at a
higher initial cost will be cheaper on a per year basis.










Prices received for birds sold were based, to some extent, on the Jacksonville
market. This was especially true when large lots of birds were sold. However, the
general attitude seemed to be, "I'll take what the processor offers". When birds
were sold retail at the form, the price was frequently on a per-head basis, usually
between $.75 and $1.25 per bird.

INVESTMENT, COSTS AND RETURNS

All of the producers interviewed were asked to estimate the amount of
investment in buildings and equipment and the amount and value of the land used
by the layer enterprise. The investment figure did not include the value of build-
ings and equipment used for raising replacements or the value of other land, farm
dwelling and other items connected with the farm business. Data were also obtained
from 33 of the operators on total costs and returns for the layer enterprise for the
period, September 1, 1954 to August 31, 1955. This number included records for
17 farms with less than 1000 layers, 9 farms with 1000 to 1999 layers and 7 farms
with 2000 layers or more.

Investment in Caged-Layer Houses, Cages, Other Buildings and Equipment

Cage houses and cages are major items of investment. For the 53 farms
studied the average investment in buildings and equipment was $5270 (Table 18).
The investment ranged from $1844 on small farms to $14,045 on large farms. The
amount of the investment averaged $2.83 per cage on all farms of which $1.56 was
in cage houses, $1.06 in cages, 12 cents in other buildings and 9 cents in equipment.
The amount of the investment per cage decreased as the size of the farm increased,
being $3.03 on small farms, $2.82 on medium farms and $2.78 on large farms.

The range in costs of buildings and equipment on farms in West Florida was
from $1.78 to $6.01 per cage on small farms, $1.67 to $3.79 per cage on medium
farms and $1.65 to $4.87 per cage on large farms. The one-third of the farms with
the lowest building and equipment cost averaged $1.84 per cage. The one-third
with the highest cost averaged $4.48 per cage.

The amount of money invested in a layer enterprise depends upon capital
available to a farmer and his attitude as to the length of time he plans to stay in
the poultry business. A farmer speculating in poultry may construct an "open" felt
roofed building, purchase used or make his own cages and work with a minimum of
equipment. Another farmer with more money and extended plans, may build houses
with concrete foundations and aluminum roofs, purchase cages with the installation
cost included and add special feed and egg rooms complete with mechanical washers
and graders. The cost per year per cage depends on repairs and depreciation. For
a person who remains in the business, it is possible that buildings constructed at a
higher initial cost will be cheaper on a per year basis.










Table 18.-Average Investment and Investment per Cage in Caged-Layer Houses,
and Equipment by Number of Cages, 53 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, 1955.

: Number of cages er. form:
Item Less than 10: 1000-1999 : 2000 or more : All farms

Number of farms 27 13 13 53
Average number of cages 608 1278 5054 1863
Investment per Farm

Cage uses/ $1,053 $1,960 $7,736 $2,915
Coges" 665 1,506 5,124 1,965
Other buili9gs3/ 107 50 601 214
Equipment -r 19 93 584 176
Total $1,844 $3,609 $14, 045 $5,270
Investment per Cage
Cage MYuses $1.73 $1.53 $1.53 $1.56
Cages ,, 1.09 1.18 1.01 1.06
Other buillings-/ .18 .04 .12 .12
Equipment-' .03 .07 .12 .09
Total $3.03 $2.82 $2.78 $2.83

I includes lighting system.
SIncludes feeders and waterers.
Includes egg and feed rooms when separate from cage house.
4 Includes graders, washers, candlers, refrigerators, egg baskets, coops, carts,
spray rigs, and other miscellaneous equipment not to include water pumps.


Method Used in Computing Cost Items


In calculating the costs of the caged laying enterprise, the direct Items of
expenses, such as feed and labor, were charged directly to the enterprise. The
joint or indirect items of costs were allocated according to the portion used by the
caged laying enterprise as estimated by the farmers interviewed.

Feed.--Feed included all feed fed the laying hens. Since the age varied
at which replacements were put into cages or when changed from a growing to a
layer ration, the charge for feed included only mash that was designated "layer
ration" and all grain, grit and shells fed to laying birds. Also included in feed costs
were supplemental "high protein" feeds and wormer rations if the worming ingredi-
ents were mixed in the mash. No home grown feeds were fed the laying hens.











Labor.--The charge for man labor was the average rate per hour for all
labor use-d onthe caged laying enterprise. The average rate per hour was obtained
by dividing the total cost of the labor by the total hours worked. The cost of hired
labor included in addition to the cash wage the value of perquisites such as use of
a house, meals, lodging, eggs, etc., furnished by the operator. Family labor was
charged on the basis of what it would have cost to hire such labor. The value of
the operators labor and management was considered a part of the costs and was
charged to the laying enterprise in relation to the total number of hours spent on
it. The cost of labor for the caged laying enterprise was obtained by multiplying
the total number of hours spent on it by the average rate per hour. The estimate
of the number of hours of labor for the laying hens included all time spent in
production and marketing jobs. It did not include labor for rearing replacements
or placing them in cages.

Buildings, cages and equipment.-- The charges for these items were
obtained by estimating the costs of maintaining them for a year. Costs included
charges for interest, depreciation, taxes, repairs, and insurance. Buildings and
equipment used only partially by the laying enterprise were charged in proportion
to the amount of use. For example, some farmers used their equipment to process
eggs produced on other farms. The estimated total cost of such equipment was
divided by the number of dozen eggs processed to determine the equipment cost per
dozen. To calculate the charge for processing equipment for the layer enterprise
on the farm, the dozens of eggs produced were multiplied by the equipment cost
per dozen.

Depreciation on birds. -- The charge for depreciation was a net figure that
took into consideration the value of pullets added to the laying flock, death loss
and the decrease in value of birds as laying life was depleted. The formula used
for calculating depreciation was: depreciation = (value of birds at the beginning
of the year + cost of birds purchased + charge for birds raised) (value of birds
at the end of the year + value of birds sold + value of birds used at home).

Interest on laying hens.--An interest charge was made to the laying
enterprise at five percent of the average value of the hens at the beginning and
end of the year.

Marketing supplies.-- This cost was the actual amount spent for cases,
cartons and egg stamps.

Hauling.-- The cost of hauling was based on the estimated number of miles
driven in marketing eggs or birds and hauling feed and supplies. Truck use was
charged at a rate of 7.5 cents per mile.

Insect and pest control.--This item included all costs of supplies purchased
for the control or eradication of flies, mites, lice, rats, etc.










Land.-- This cost was based on the estimated value of the land used by the
caged laying enterprise not including land for raising replacements. The charge
for land was calculated at 5 percent of its value.

Amount of Items of Cost

The more important items of cost were feed, labor, flock depreciation,
cage buildings and cages.

Feed.--Feed was the most important item of cost, accounting for approxi-
mately t ree-fifths of the gross costs of producing eggs. Consumption averaged
83.0 pounds of mash and 0.5 pound of grain or a total of 83.5 pounds per bird for
the year (Table 19). The consumption of feed per dozen eggs sold was 5.25 pounds.
The average cost of mash and grain was $4.14 per bird or 26.03 cents per dozen
eggs sold. When grit, shell and other miscellaneous feeds were added to the total
feed bill, the total cost of feed per hen averaged $4.20 and the feed cost per
dozen eggs sold 26.40 cents.

Table 19.--Consumption and Cost of Mash and Grain per Bird and per Dozen
Eggs Sold, by Size of Flock, 33 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: : Average : Mash and grain
Number : Number :number : Pounds consumed: Cost
of layers : of : of : Per :Per dozen :Per 100 : Per : Per dozen
: farms : layers :bird :eggssold :pounds :bird : eggs sold
Cents
Less than 1000 17 619 90.6 5.66 $5.27 $4.78 29.85
1000- 1999 9 1495 78.0 5.00 5.24 4.09 26.21
2000 or more 7 4838 83.5 5.22 4.75 3.96 24.78
All farms 33 1753 83.5 5.25 4.96 4.14 26.03


The average consumption of mash and grain per hen was about seven pounds
less on large farms as compared to small forms; the cost per 100 pounds for feed was
52 cents less. The larger farmers enjoyed a distinct advantage in buying feed in
that they bought in larger lots. The variation in cost per year for mash and grain,
between the fourth of the farms with the lowest feed costs per dozen eggs sold and
the fourth with the highest feed costs was $137 per 100 birds or 11.2 cents per dozen
eggs.

Labor.--Labor is an important item in the caged-layer operation. These
farmers usen average of 2.4 hours of labor per 100 cages per week (Table 20).
The annual cost of labor on the 33 farms for which complete records were obtained










was $95.42 per 100 birds, or 6.00 cents per dozen eggs sold (Table 25). Labor
accounted for 13.5 percent of the gross cost of producing eggs.

Table 20.--Estimated Labor Requirements per Week for Producing and Marketing
Eggs by Size of Farm, 53 Caged-Layer Farms,West Florida, 1955.

: Number of cages on farm :
Item : Less than : : 2000 or : All farms
: 1000 1000-1999 : more

Number of forms 27 13 13 53
Average number of cages 608 1278 5054 1863
Total Hours per Week
Feeding 6.09 9.36 22.26 10.86
Gathering eggs1/ 4.46 6.23 23.22 9.50
Processing eggs?/ 5.86 11.29 21.95 11.14
Marketing eggs 2.31 4.52 9.28 4.56
CullingbV 1.04 1.43 7.14 2.63
Cleaning houses/ 2.28 4.85 12.73 5.47
Total 22.04 37.68 96.58-/ 44.16
Hours per Week per 100 Cages
Feeding 1.00 .73 .44 .58
Gathering eggs./ .73 .49 .46 .51
Processing eggs2 .96 .88 .43 .60
Marketing eggs .38 .35 .18 .24
Cullingw .17 .11 .14 .14
Cleaning houses4 .37 .38 .25 .29
Total 3.61 2.94 1.905/ 2.36

1YPicking up eggs and checking egg record.
lCleaning, sorting, candling and packing of eggs.
-/Time spent examining birds, moving birds and recording egg lay for period.
4/Cleaning cages, waterers and buildings; also includes spraying, application
of lime or phosphate, removal of manure and other miscellaneous jobs.
/Does not include supervisory labor on two large farms. This factor is included
in calculations of total hours and cost in other tables and if included here the
average would be 101.76 hours and the labor per 100 cages 2.01 hours per
week.

The size of poultry farms and the type of jobs usually determined the pro-
portion of the labor performed by the operator and his family. On small farms, most
oil jobs except manure removal was done by family labor. On larger forms, the
operator usually marketed eggs, culled birds, and in some cases fed the birds, as









well as generally supervising the farm. Other jobs were normally performed by
hired labor.

Feeding, gathering eggs and processing eggs each required about one-fourth
of the time spent on the caged enterprise (Table 20). The hours of labor per week
per 100 cages decreased as the size of farm increased. This was due to better organ-
ization and the use of more equipment on larger farms. Labor costs were 8.83 cents
per dozen eggs sold on small farms and 4.89 cents on large farms (Table 26). The
variation in labor costs between the low and high fourth of farms was $116 per year
per 100 birds or 8.18 cents per dozen eggs sold.

On several of the large farms (approximately 10,000 cages) the operator
did not perform many of the operations himself, but spent most of his time supervising
the hired labor. In table 20, time for supervision is not included on two farms in
the large group. Adding labor for supervision on these farms would increase the
total hours per 100 cages per week to 101.76 and the hours per 100 cages to 2.01.
In each case, the cost of supervision was included in the total cost of labor.

Flock depreciation.--Flock depreciation amounted to $97.82 per 100 birds
for the year or 6.15 cents per dozen eggs sold. Cost of depreciation was 3,97 cents
per dozen eggs sold on the fourth of the farms with the lowest costs and 8.99 cents
on the fourth of the farms with highest costs or a difference in depreciation of $92
per 100 birds.

Cost of cages.--On the 33 farms for which complete records of costs and
returns were obtained, the value of cages was estimated at $1941 per farm. The
charge to the laying enterprise for the use of cages averaged $22.74 per 100 birds
or 1.43 cents per dozen eggs sold (Table 21). Of the total cost, 55 percent was
accounted for by depreciation, 20 percent by repairs and 25 percent by a charge
to cover interest, insurance and taxes.
Table 21.--Charge to Laying Enterprise for the Use of Cages, 33 Caged-Layer
Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: .Cage cost
: Per : Per 100 : Per dozen : Percent of
Item : farm : birds : eggs sold : total
Cents
Value of cages used by
laying enterprise $1941 $110.71 6.96 ....
Cost for the year:
Depreciation 220 12.58 0.79 55.3
Repairs 81 4.62 0.29 20.4
Interest, insurance, taxes-/ 97 5.54 0.35 24.3
Total cost per year $ 398 $ 22.74 1.43 100.0
- Interest 3 percent, insurance I percent and taxes 1 percent of the total value of
cages (interest at 3 percent equals to approximately 5 percent of the undepreci-
ated balance).












Cage houses.-- The charge to the laying enterprise for the use of cage
houses overaged $21.75 per 100 birds, of which $12.45 was for depreciation,
$2.15 for repairs and $7.15 for interest, insurance and taxes (Table 22). The
--cost of cage houses per dozen eggs sold was 1.37 cents.

Table 22.-- Charge to the Laying Enterprise for the Use of Cage Buildings, 33
Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954-August 31, 1955.

: Cage building costs
Item : Per : Per 100 : Per dozen : Percent
: form : birds : eggs sold : of total
Cents
Value of cage buildings
used by laying enterprise $2519 $143.73 9.04 .
Cost per year:
Depreciation 218 12.45 0.78 57.2
Repairs 38 2.15 0.14 10.0
Interest, insurance, taxes 125 7.15 0.45 32.8
Total cost per year $ 381 $ 21.75 1.37 100.0


Other items of costs.-- There were a number of items of cost that averaged
less than one cent per dozen eggs produced. They were: .74 cents for marketing
supplies, .64 cents for hauling, .59 cents for interest on birds, .46 cents for
electricity, .35 cents for pest control, .22 cents for other buildings and equipment,
.02 cents land charge and .01 cent for miscellaneous items (Table 25).

Method Used in Computing Returns

Returns included the value of eggs sold, value of eggs used on the farm and
a value for manure produced. Receipts from the sale of culls were not entered under
returns for they were included in the calculation of depreciation on the laying flock.

Value of eggs sold.-- This amount was the actual value of the eggs sold.
In most cases egg sales were taken directly from the records of firms where the eggs
were sold.
Eggs used on the farm.-- Eggs used on the farm included those used by the
operator and hired help. The eggs were valued at the price they would have brought
if sold.
Manure credit.--The amount of manure was the estimated amount produced.
The value per ton was the amount the farmer estimated the manure was worth before
it was removed from the cage house.




u: ~r


33



Amount of Items of Returns

Eggs sold.--The average amount received for eggs sold was $651 per 100
birds or 40.94 cents per dozen eggs (Table 23). Eggs sold accounted for 97 percent
of the total returns. The variation in receipts per year per 100 birds from eggs sold
between the low one-fourth and high one-fourth of farms was $263. The variation
in average price per dozen received for eggs by the two groups was 7.77 cents.
Producers with the highest returns sold 42 more eggs per hen than those with the
lowest returns.

Table 23.--Total Returns and Returns per 100 Layers and per Dozen Eggs Sold,
33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, September 1,1954-August 31, 1955.

.. ..: Average returns -
: Per : Per 100 : Per dozen : Percent of
Item : farm : layers : eggs sold : total
Cents
Eggs sold $11,411 $650.94 40.94 96.85
Eggs used at home 69 3.92 .25 .59
Manure 302 17.24 1.08 2.56
Total $11,782 $672.10 42.27 100.00

'/Returns from the sale of culls were included in the calculation of depreciation.

The difference in price received for eggs partly reflected differences in
amount of preparation of eggs and method of sales. The low group generally did
little processing other than cleaning and had a low marketing cost. The farmers
receiving higher prices generally completely processed and packed their eggs,
some using dozen size cartons. These farmers also had higher marketing costs
since many of the eggs were sold to retail outlets.

Complete records were obtained for 12 farms of sales of eggs by size and
price. Production totaled 4.62 million eggs, of which 98 percent or 4.51 million
were marketed through wholesalers. The remaining two percent, consisting mostly
of cracks and deformed eggs, were sold at a price of 25 to 35 cents per dozen.

The grade out and average prices received for the eggs sold on the 12 farms
are shown in table 24. The percent of eggs sold that graded large averaged 63
percent, but this figure varied from 57 to 74 percent on the 12 farms. Medium eggs
were 26 percent of the total, small eggs 6 percent, pee-wee eggs 2 percent and
"other" eggs 4 percent. The average price received for all eggs was only 37 cents
per dozen. Some of these farmers cleaned eggs, but most went to the processors
as they were when gathered.









Table 24.--Average Grade-Out and Prices Received for Eggs, 12 Caged-Layer
Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

:_ EEggs sold .. Value of sales
: : Percent of: : Price per
Size of eggs : Dozen : total : Amount : dozen
Dollars Cents
Large 236,226 62.8 97, 185 41.14
Medium 97,234 25.9 33,448 34.40
Small 22,042 5.9 5,566 25.25
Pee-Wee 6,346 1.7 1,080 17.03
Others 14,020 3.7 1,536 10.95
Total 375,868 100.0 138,815 36.93

1 Includes cracks, leakers, checks, bloods, or other eggs not placed in a size
category.

Eggs used on the farm and credit for manure,--Producers estimated that on
the average 207 dozen eggs were used on the Farm. These eggs were valued at
33.4 cents per dozen. Manure produced by the layer enterprise was valued at
$302 per farm or an average of 17 cents per layer. The vplue of eggs used and
manure produced accounted for 3.2 percent of the total rItums from the layer
enterprise.

Summary of Costs and Returns

The summary of costs and returns for the caged-layer enterprise is shown
in table 25. The average gross cost of producing eggs was $705.53 per 100 hens
or 44.37 cents per dozen eggs sold. Feed accounted for 59.5 percent of the gross
costs, flock depreciation 13.9 percent and labor 13.5 percent. These three items
accounted for 86.9 percent of the gross cost of producing eggs.

Credits for eggs used on the farm, and manure produced averaged $21.16
per 100 hens or 1.33 cents per dozen eggs sold. When credits are deducted from
gross costs, the net cost per dozen eggs sold was 43.04 cents. The average price
received for eggs sold was 40.94 cents per dozen. This means during the year
covered by the study, the price received per dozen for eggs lacked 2,10 cents
of covering the net cost of producing the eggs. Returns to all labor- amounted
to $61.99 per 100 hens or 3.90 cents per dozen eggs sold.


Returns to labor as used in this report is the net returns above all costs except
labor. Returns to labor was obtained by subtracting all costs on the layer enter-
prise except labor from the total returns for the enterprise;or it was the profits
on the enterprise plus the cost of labor.







35



Table 25.--Costs and Returns from Producing Eggs, 33 Caged-Layer Farms,
West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.
Ite : Per : Per 100 : Per dozen : Percent of
: farm : birds : eggs sold : total
Cents
Costs:
Feed $7358 $419.71 26.39 59.49
Flock depreciation 1715 97.82 6.15 13.87
Labor 1673 95.42 6.00 13.53
Use of cages 399 22.74 1.43 3.23
Use of cage houses 381 21.75 1.37 3.08
Cases, cartons and marketing
supplies 206 11.78 .74 1.67
Hauling 178 10.18 .64 1.44
Interest on laying hens 166 9.47 .59 1.34
Electricity 128 7.29 .46 1.02
Disease and pest control 96 5.50 .35 .78
Use of other buildings and
equipment 60 3.44 .22 .49
Use of land 5 .27 .02 .04
Miscellaneous 3 .16 .01 .02
Total gross costs $12368 $705.53 44.37 100.00

Returns:
Credits
Eggs used on form $ 69 $ 3.92 .25 .59
Manure 302 17.24 1.08 2.56
Total credits $ 371 $ 21.16 1.33 3.15
Eggs sold 11411 650.94 40.94 96.85
Total gross returns $11782 $ 672.10 42,27 100.00
Profit 586 -33.43 -2.10
Net cost of eggs sold 11997 684.37 43.04
Returns to labor 1087 61.99 3.90


As indicated on pages 4 and 5, the period.covered by this study was an
unfavorable one for the production of eggs. On only six farms of the 33 for which
data on costs and returns were obtained were total receipts more than total costs.
During the five year period 1951-55, the average price received for eggs in Florida
was 53.36. This was 15.4 percent higher than the average price for the period
September 1954 to August, 1955. If on the farms surveyed, costs had remained the
same and prices received for eggs had averaged 15.4 percent higher or 47.24 cents









per dozen, profits per 100 birds would have averaged $66.81 instead of -$33.43.
Returns to labor per 100 birds would have averaged $162.23 instead of $61.99.

Variation in the net cost per dozen eggs sold.--The overage net cost per
dozen eggs sold was 43,04 cents. However, there was a wide variation in cost
on individual farms as shown in fig. 5. The lowest cost of production per dozen
eggs sold was 34.34 cents and the highest cost 60,40 cents. On about one-third
of the farms, the net cost of producint eggs was 43.1 cents per dozen or less as
compared to 49.4 cents or more on the third of the farms producing at the highest
costs.

SCost per dozen
of eggs sold
(cents)

55

01 1j ll

WestFlorid September 1 1954 August 31, 1955.













In terms of total production of eggs, farmers producing at the lowest costs
40had larger flocks. The third of the forms producing at ithe lowest costs per dozen
-il II 1* li!'! J .
















produced 51 percent of the eggs sold while the third having the highest costs
produced only 13 percent of the eggs sold.
In,^ i' I^ IJ"
.-. ,,- IN.I *. H* .I*T : -'. 1 ; *
'. ... : .. *. ... ... ., : .-- .



West Florida, September 1 1954 August 31, 1955.




Fig .-producedVariation in Cost13 per centozen of the eggs Sold, 33 Caged-Layer Farms,



produced only 13 percent of the eggs sold.












FACTORS AFFECTING COSTS AND RETURNS

The estimated net cost per dozen eggs sold during the period
covered by this study was 43.04 cents. Since the average price received
for eggs was only 40.94 cents, these farmers operated at a net loss of
2.10 cents per dozen. There was a wide variation in cost per dozen and
price received for eggs among individual producers. The problem is to
study some of the factors affecting costs and returns. The more important
are size of flock, eggs sold per bird, pounds of mash and grain fed per
dozen eggs sold, price received for eggs sold, rate of mortality, and amount
of labor used. The interrelation between size of flock and amount of
labor used, price received for eggs and other factors were important
factors affecting the various relations in this study.

Size of Flock

The most important factor affecting costs and returns was size
of flock (Table 26). The number of eggs sold per bird varied very little
among the three size groups. The net cost per dozen of eggs sold was
50.30 cents on farms with less than 1000 birds, but only 40.15 cents on
farms with 2000 birds or more. The average price per dozen for eggs sold
was highest on the larger farms. On the smaller farms, there was no
return to labor and the income per 100 birds failed by $17 to cover all
costs. The returns to labor on the larger farms was about one dollar per
bird,

The two main factors accounting for the $174 difference in gross
costs per 100 birds between the small and large farms were the differences
in costs of feed and labor. As shown in table 19, the consumption of
mash and grain per dozen of eggs sold was 0.4 pounds less on large farms
than on small farms; the cost per 100 pounds was 52 cents less. The
difference in total feed cost per 100 birds for the two groups was $78.
Labor cost per 100 birds was $78 on large farms or only 55 percent of the
$141 cost on small farms.












FACTORS AFFECTING COSTS AND RETURNS

The estimated net cost per dozen eggs sold during the period
covered by this study was 43.04 cents. Since the average price received
for eggs was only 40.94 cents, these farmers operated at a net loss of
2.10 cents per dozen. There was a wide variation in cost per dozen and
price received for eggs among individual producers. The problem is to
study some of the factors affecting costs and returns. The more important
are size of flock, eggs sold per bird, pounds of mash and grain fed per
dozen eggs sold, price received for eggs sold, rate of mortality, and amount
of labor used. The interrelation between size of flock and amount of
labor used, price received for eggs and other factors were important
factors affecting the various relations in this study.

Size of Flock

The most important factor affecting costs and returns was size
of flock (Table 26). The number of eggs sold per bird varied very little
among the three size groups. The net cost per dozen of eggs sold was
50.30 cents on farms with less than 1000 birds, but only 40.15 cents on
farms with 2000 birds or more. The average price per dozen for eggs sold
was highest on the larger farms. On the smaller farms, there was no
return to labor and the income per 100 birds failed by $17 to cover all
costs. The returns to labor on the larger farms was about one dollar per
bird,

The two main factors accounting for the $174 difference in gross
costs per 100 birds between the small and large farms were the differences
in costs of feed and labor. As shown in table 19, the consumption of
mash and grain per dozen of eggs sold was 0.4 pounds less on large farms
than on small farms; the cost per 100 pounds was 52 cents less. The
difference in total feed cost per 100 birds for the two groups was $78.
Labor cost per 100 birds was $78 on large farms or only 55 percent of the
$141 cost on small farms.






Table 26.--Relation of Size of Flock to Average Cost and Returns from Producing Eggs,
( 33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

-Average per 100. birds on farms : Average per dozen eggs sold on : Percent of total on forms
Item with: : farms with: : with:
:Less than : 1000-1999:2000birds : Less than :1000-1999 :2000 birds Less than : 1000-1999:2000 birds
:1000birds : birds : or more : 1000birds : birds :or more :1000 birds : birds : or more
Cents Cents Cents
Number of farms 17 9 7
Average number of layers 619 1495 4838
Eggs sold per bird 192 187 192
Costs:
Feed $481 $414 $403 30.05 26.56 25.19 57.6 58.1 60.9
Flock depreciation 112 103 91 7.03 6.60 5.70 13.5 14.4 13.8
Labor 141 103 78 8.83 6.60 4.89 16.9 14.4 11.8
Use of cages, buildings
and equipment 54 55 43 3.37 3.50 2.72 6.4 7.6 6.6
Marketing supplies 5 5 17 .27 .32 1.05 .5 .7 2.5
Hauling 15 12 8 .91 .77 .50 1.7 1.7 1.2
Other costs 28 22 21 1.75 1.44 1.32 3.4 3.1 3.2
Total gross costs $836 $714 $662 52.21 45.79 41.38 100.0 100.0 100.0
Returns:
Credits:
Eggs used on farm 11 5 1 .71 .32 .07 1.7 .8 .2
Manure 19 13 19 1.20 .80 1.16 2.8 2.0 2.7
Total credits 30 18 20 1.91 1.12 1.23 4.5 2.8
Eggs sold 648 612 _Z. 4Q.45. 39.27 41.73 95.5 972 9.1
Total gross returns 678 630 687 42.36 40.39 42.96 100.0 100.0 100.0
Profits -158 -84 25 -9.85 -5.40 1.58
Net cost of eggs sold 806 696 642 50.30 44.67 40.15
Returns to labor -17 19 103 -1.02 1.20 6.47
CD











Eggs Sold per Bird

it is normally expected that within usual ranges of production returns
will increase as production per unit is increased. This relationship did not
hold true throughout the range of production on these farms. The average
returns to labor was $319 on farms where less than 180 eggs were sold per
bird, $1708 on farms with sales of 180 to 204 eggs, but only $1184 on farms
where 205 or more eggs were sold per bird (Table 27). However, the group
of farms with the medium production were larger on the average than the other
two. and also received a higher average price for eggs sold. In each case
as the number of eggs sold per bird increased, the feed cost per dozen de-
creased.

Table 27.--Relation of Eggs Sold per Bird to Returns to Labor and Other Factors,
33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida,
September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: :Average: : Feed : Price :
: :Number :Average : cost per :received :Returns t labor
Eggs sold : Number :of eggs :number : dozen : per :: Per
per bird : of :soldper : of : eggs : dozen : Per : 100
: farms :bird : layers : sold : eggs sold : farm : birds
Cents Cents
Less than 180 11 163 1643 28.82 39.27 $ 319 $ 19
180 -204 12 194 2031 25.56 42.29 1708 84
205 or more 10 218 1540 25.44 40.48 1184 77
All farms 33 191 1753 26.40 40.94 1087 62



Pounds of Mash and Grain Fed per Dozen Eggs Sold

Feed accounted for about three-fifths of the gross costs of eggs sold. There-
fore, the amount of feed fed for each dozen eggs sold was an important factor
affecting costs and returns. On farms where less than 5.0 pounds of mash and grain
were fed per dozen eggs sold, returns to labor were $1788 (Table 28). Producers
feeding 5.5 pounds or more of mash and grain per dozen eggs failed by $65 to show
any returns to labor. The number of eggs sold per bird was 26 more on farms in the
low feed group than on forms in the high feed group. Farmers in the low feed group











Eggs Sold per Bird

it is normally expected that within usual ranges of production returns
will increase as production per unit is increased. This relationship did not
hold true throughout the range of production on these farms. The average
returns to labor was $319 on farms where less than 180 eggs were sold per
bird, $1708 on farms with sales of 180 to 204 eggs, but only $1184 on farms
where 205 or more eggs were sold per bird (Table 27). However, the group
of farms with the medium production were larger on the average than the other
two. and also received a higher average price for eggs sold. In each case
as the number of eggs sold per bird increased, the feed cost per dozen de-
creased.

Table 27.--Relation of Eggs Sold per Bird to Returns to Labor and Other Factors,
33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida,
September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: :Average: : Feed : Price :
: :Number :Average : cost per :received :Returns t labor
Eggs sold : Number :of eggs :number : dozen : per :: Per
per bird : of :soldper : of : eggs : dozen : Per : 100
: farms :bird : layers : sold : eggs sold : farm : birds
Cents Cents
Less than 180 11 163 1643 28.82 39.27 $ 319 $ 19
180 -204 12 194 2031 25.56 42.29 1708 84
205 or more 10 218 1540 25.44 40.48 1184 77
All farms 33 191 1753 26.40 40.94 1087 62



Pounds of Mash and Grain Fed per Dozen Eggs Sold

Feed accounted for about three-fifths of the gross costs of eggs sold. There-
fore, the amount of feed fed for each dozen eggs sold was an important factor
affecting costs and returns. On farms where less than 5.0 pounds of mash and grain
were fed per dozen eggs sold, returns to labor were $1788 (Table 28). Producers
feeding 5.5 pounds or more of mash and grain per dozen eggs failed by $65 to show
any returns to labor. The number of eggs sold per bird was 26 more on farms in the
low feed group than on forms in the high feed group. Farmers in the low feed group









raid 17 cents more per hundredweight for mash and grain than farmers in the high
feed group. However, the cost of mash and grain per dozen eggs sold was 23.56
and 29.34 cents for the two groups respectively.

Table 28.--Relation of Pounds of Mash and Grain Fed per Dozen Eggs Sold to
Returns to Labor and Other Factors, 33 Caged-Layer Farms, West
Florida, September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: :Ave.No: : :Mash and:
: :bs. of : : grain
Pounds of ::mash and: Average : Eggs : cost per :Returns to labor
mash and groin: Number grain fed: number : sold :dozen : Per
fed per dozen : of :perdozen of : per : eggs sold : Per :100
eggs sold : farms :eggssold: layers : bird : (cents) : farm : birds
Less than 5.00 10 4.59 1804 203 23.56 $1788 $ 99
5.00 to 5.49 11 5.25 1914 193 25.56 1704 89
5.50 or more 12 5.98 1563 177 29.34 -65 -4
All farms 33 5.25 1753 191 26.03 1087 62


Price Received for Eggs Sold


Nine of the farms received less than 37 cents per dozen for eggs sold and 12
farms received 40 cents or more. The difference in the average price for the two
groups was 11.57 cents. Returns to labor increased from $-299 on the farms with low
egg prices to $3026 on farms with high egg prices. However, the farms receiving the
higher prices were about 50 percent larber than farms receiving the lower prices.
Farmers receiving the least for eggs had the lowest net cost of production. This, no
doubt, was due partly to the smaller amount of labor since less time was spent on egg
processing on the farm. Hours of labor per 100 birds were 106 on farms receiving lefs
than 37 cents per dozen for eggs sold and 165 on farms receiving 40 cents or more.
Eggs sold per bird were slightly higher on the farms receiving the least for eggs sold.
Table 29.--Relation of Price Received per Dozen Eggs Sold to Returns to Labor and
Other Factors, 33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida,
September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.
Price : :Ave. price :Average : Eggs:Net cost Hours : Returns
received : No. :received :number : sold : per :oflabor to labor
per dozen :of :per dozen : of : per :dozen :per 00:Per :Per 100
eggs sold : farms :eggs sold : layers : bird :eggsatldtbirds :farm :birds
Cents Cents Cents
Less than 37.0 9 34.21. 1428 198 40.46 106 $-299 $ -21
37.0 39.9 12 38.69 1564 180 43.64 125 185 12
40.0 or more 12 45.78 2186 195 43.93 165 3026 138
All forms 33 40.94 1753 191 43.04 139 1087 62











Percent Mortality

The expected effect would be for returns to decrease as percent mortality
increased. This relationship did not hold true for these farms for the year studied.
As shown in table 30, percent mortality increased as the sixe of farm increased. Thus,
in comparing farms by percent mortality, small farms tended to fall in the lower mor-
tality group and large farms in a higher mortality group (Table 30). Farms with low
mortality also were the ones that received the lowest price for eggs. The net cost
per dozen eggs was about the same on farms with high mortality as on farms with low
mortality. The difference in size of flock and price received for eggs sold was more
than enough to offset increase in mortality for the farms studied.

Table 30.--Relation of Percent Mortality to Returns to Labor and Other Factors,
33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954-August 31, 1955.
: : : :j :Amount perdoz. : Returns
: : :Ave. : Eggs : eggs sold : to labor
: No. :Average :number : sold :Ave. :Ave : : Per
Percent :of :percent : of : per :net :price : Per :100
mortality :farms:mortality :layers : bird :cost :received: farm : birds
Cents Cents
Less than 10.0 11 6.8 1213 199 43.47 37.39 $ -6 $
10.0-19.9 14 15.0 1565 179 42.30 38.65 571 36
20.0 or more 8 24.7 2824 197 43.43 45.07 3489 124
All farms 33 17.0 1753 191 43.04 40.94 1087 62
Y Less than -50 cents.

Hours of Labor per 100 Birds

On the 33 farms for which records were obtained, average labor requirements
per 100 birds was 139 hours per year (Table 31). The farms using the largest amount
of labor per hen were the smaller farms. The net cost per dozen eggs sold was about
10 cents higher on farms using the most labor compared to the farms using the least
labor. There was an average of 2370 hens on the farms using only 87 hours per 100
hens per year and 2238 hens on the farms using an average of 169 hours. Net cost
per dozen eggs was about four cents more on the second of these two groups but they
received about 7 cents more per dozen for eggs sold and also had a higher production
per hen. Returns to labor were $730 and $2638 for the two groups respectively. The
average price received for eggs was no doubt related to the use of labor depending
on the amount of processing of the eggs at the farm level. The farmers that received
the higher egg prices coupled with good egg production, were able to realize greater
labor returns.











Percent Mortality

The expected effect would be for returns to decrease as percent mortality
increased. This relationship did not hold true for these farms for the year studied.
As shown in table 30, percent mortality increased as the sixe of farm increased. Thus,
in comparing farms by percent mortality, small farms tended to fall in the lower mor-
tality group and large farms in a higher mortality group (Table 30). Farms with low
mortality also were the ones that received the lowest price for eggs. The net cost
per dozen eggs was about the same on farms with high mortality as on farms with low
mortality. The difference in size of flock and price received for eggs sold was more
than enough to offset increase in mortality for the farms studied.

Table 30.--Relation of Percent Mortality to Returns to Labor and Other Factors,
33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida, September 1, 1954-August 31, 1955.
: : : :j :Amount perdoz. : Returns
: : :Ave. : Eggs : eggs sold : to labor
: No. :Average :number : sold :Ave. :Ave : : Per
Percent :of :percent : of : per :net :price : Per :100
mortality :farms:mortality :layers : bird :cost :received: farm : birds
Cents Cents
Less than 10.0 11 6.8 1213 199 43.47 37.39 $ -6 $
10.0-19.9 14 15.0 1565 179 42.30 38.65 571 36
20.0 or more 8 24.7 2824 197 43.43 45.07 3489 124
All farms 33 17.0 1753 191 43.04 40.94 1087 62
Y Less than -50 cents.

Hours of Labor per 100 Birds

On the 33 farms for which records were obtained, average labor requirements
per 100 birds was 139 hours per year (Table 31). The farms using the largest amount
of labor per hen were the smaller farms. The net cost per dozen eggs sold was about
10 cents higher on farms using the most labor compared to the farms using the least
labor. There was an average of 2370 hens on the farms using only 87 hours per 100
hens per year and 2238 hens on the farms using an average of 169 hours. Net cost
per dozen eggs was about four cents more on the second of these two groups but they
received about 7 cents more per dozen for eggs sold and also had a higher production
per hen. Returns to labor were $730 and $2638 for the two groups respectively. The
average price received for eggs was no doubt related to the use of labor depending
on the amount of processing of the eggs at the farm level. The farmers that received
the higher egg prices coupled with good egg production, were able to realize greater
labor returns.










Table 31.--Relation of Hours of Labor per Year per 100 Birds to Returns to Labor
and Other Factors, 33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida,
September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: :Ave.hours: :No.of : Amount per doz.: Returns to
Hours of : :of labor :Ave. :eggs : eggs sold : labor
labor per : No. :per year ; number : sold :Ave. :Ave. : : Per
year per : of :per 100 : of :per :net : price : Per :100
100 birds : farms:birds : layers :bird :cost :received: farm :birds
Cents Cents
Less than 150 12 87 2370 184 40.21 37.87 $ 730 $ 31
150- 199 10 169 2238 197 44.10 44.54 2638 179
200 or more 11 256 638 197 50.38 41.09 64 10
All farms 33 139 1753 191 43.04 40.94 1087 62



ESTIMATING COSTS OF PRODUCING EGGS

Poultry farmers are often interested in estimating the cost of producing eggs.
In general, however, they do not keep sufficient records to enable them to calculate
costs. A formula can be used to estimate the average annual costs with a reasonable
degree of accuracy. Such a method is discussed in this section.

The data from this study showed that feed, labor, and depreciation were the
three most important cost items. Together they accounted for 86.9 percent of the
gross costs of eggs sold. Costs such as use of cages, buildings, electricity, interest
on the flock and other miscellaneous items grouped together as "other costs" accounted
for 13.1 percent. An estimate of the cost of producing eggs can be made based on
these four factors.

Methods Used in Calculating Amounts of Various Costs!/

The cost of feed and labor input items can be estimated by multiplying the
average pounds of feed and minutes of labor used per dozen eggs sold by the estimated
annual cost of these items. A producer can use his own input factors if he has them
or he can use those from this study. Labor costs should reflect perquisites furnished
labor as well as cash wages paid. In this study the average annual consumption of
feed per layer was 83.5 lbs. of mash and groin of which 83 pounds was mash and 0.5
pounds grain. Labor on the laying flock amounted to 1.39 hours per layer per year.
On the basis of the sale of 191 eggs or 15.92 dozen per hen per year, 5.25 pounds
of mash and grain and .087 hours of labor was used for each dozen eggs sold.

/ The formula used in this section was adapted from Comell Agricultural Experiment
Station Bulletin 897, "Estimated Cost of Producing Eggs, New York State
1926 1952", by Kendall S. Carpenter.










Table 31.--Relation of Hours of Labor per Year per 100 Birds to Returns to Labor
and Other Factors, 33 Caged-Layer Farms, West Florida,
September 1, 1954 August 31, 1955.

: :Ave.hours: :No.of : Amount per doz.: Returns to
Hours of : :of labor :Ave. :eggs : eggs sold : labor
labor per : No. :per year ; number : sold :Ave. :Ave. : : Per
year per : of :per 100 : of :per :net : price : Per :100
100 birds : farms:birds : layers :bird :cost :received: farm :birds
Cents Cents
Less than 150 12 87 2370 184 40.21 37.87 $ 730 $ 31
150- 199 10 169 2238 197 44.10 44.54 2638 179
200 or more 11 256 638 197 50.38 41.09 64 10
All farms 33 139 1753 191 43.04 40.94 1087 62



ESTIMATING COSTS OF PRODUCING EGGS

Poultry farmers are often interested in estimating the cost of producing eggs.
In general, however, they do not keep sufficient records to enable them to calculate
costs. A formula can be used to estimate the average annual costs with a reasonable
degree of accuracy. Such a method is discussed in this section.

The data from this study showed that feed, labor, and depreciation were the
three most important cost items. Together they accounted for 86.9 percent of the
gross costs of eggs sold. Costs such as use of cages, buildings, electricity, interest
on the flock and other miscellaneous items grouped together as "other costs" accounted
for 13.1 percent. An estimate of the cost of producing eggs can be made based on
these four factors.

Methods Used in Calculating Amounts of Various Costs!/

The cost of feed and labor input items can be estimated by multiplying the
average pounds of feed and minutes of labor used per dozen eggs sold by the estimated
annual cost of these items. A producer can use his own input factors if he has them
or he can use those from this study. Labor costs should reflect perquisites furnished
labor as well as cash wages paid. In this study the average annual consumption of
feed per layer was 83.5 lbs. of mash and groin of which 83 pounds was mash and 0.5
pounds grain. Labor on the laying flock amounted to 1.39 hours per layer per year.
On the basis of the sale of 191 eggs or 15.92 dozen per hen per year, 5.25 pounds
of mash and grain and .087 hours of labor was used for each dozen eggs sold.

/ The formula used in this section was adapted from Comell Agricultural Experiment
Station Bulletin 897, "Estimated Cost of Producing Eggs, New York State
1926 1952", by Kendall S. Carpenter.










Depreciation on the laying flock is largely the result of mortality and selling
culls and hens at a price below the value of replacements. In this study the most
important factor affecting depreciation was the meat value of the birds. Depreciation
costs per dozen eggs can be calculated based on a percentage of the annual average
farm value per bird, live weight. In this study average depreciation was estimated to
be 98 cents per layer. On the basis of sales of eggs of 15.92 dozen eggs per year,
depreciation amounted to 6.15 cents per dozen eggs sold. Hens that were sold brought
on average price of 77 cents each. Expressing the annual depreciation cost perdozen
eggs sold as a percent of the estimated annual farm live weight value gave a depreci-
ation factor of 7.9 percent.

Other costs tend to remain relatively stable as compared with costs of feed,
labor or depreciation. Amount of other costs can be calculated as a percentage of
the total of the feed, labor and depreciation costs. In this study other costs
amounted to 16.15 percent of these items.

If costs are estimated on the basis of the dozens of eggs sold a credit must be
allowed for the value of eggs used in the home and manure produced. For the farms
studied, these items average 1.3 cents per dozen eggs sold.

Example of Using Formulas to Estimate Average Costs per Dozen for Eggs Sold

The following formula can be used for estimating annual average costs per
dozen of eggs sold.
Item Amount Price Cost (cents)
Feed: pounds x price per pound =
Labor: --hours x value per hour
Depreciation: ".079 x farm value per bird, liveweight =

Other costs: 16.5 percent of total of feed, labor and
depreciation costs =___

Annual average gross cost per dozen for eggs sold =
Less credits 1.3 cents per dozen for value of eggs used
and manure produced =

Net cost per dozen for eggs sold
Substituting the values in this study, the estimated costs per dozen eggs sold
for the period covered is shown below.
Item Amount Price Cost (cents)
Feed: 5.25 pounds x 4.96 cents = 26.0
Labor: .087 hours x 69 cents = 6.0
Depreciation: .079 x 77 cents = 6.1
Other costs: .1615 x 38.1 cents = 6.2
Average gross costs per dozen for eggs sold = 44.3
Less credits: = 1.3
Net cost per dozen for eggs sold = 43.0




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