Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Chicken Farm

Thinking about the egg business? Over this century, our current global population will make a jump from six billion up to nine billion. I think it is a good business and humanitarian opportunity to somehow feed the new three billion with a good source of protein. What about one egg per day for all three billion people?

So how many hens am I looking at? At 264 eggs on average annually per hen - - I am going to need 4.25 billion hens. I don't want ten of thousands of chicken farms, I want one big one (with one really big sign "The Billion Hen Farm - - Feeding One-Third The Planet"). I also want something quasi-humanitarian - - no stacking of the hens. I will need two square feet per hen -- roughly 215,000 acres (an additional 5,000 acres for logistical and support structures, including my operations center). The size of the operation needs something on the order of one-half the acerage of Denton County in Texas.

What about the other inputs needed to support my 4.25 billion hens? Water for example. We will need approximately 250 ml per hen per day - - roughly 1,122,000 gallons per day. On an annual basis - - 409 million gallons, 21,000 swimming pools the size of mine. Food, the hens have to eat. The 4.25 billion hens will need grain and feed on the level of 365 billion pounds per year. This will require 78 million acres of cropland - - about the size of New Mexico. What goes in one end must come out the other - - 100 billion pounds of manure annually. So how efficient is my proposed chicken farm - - for every 100 food calories I produce 20 egg calories. Which is really not that bad, especially if you look at beef production.

The most critical input that makes my chicken farm work hasn't yet been mentioned - - it is cheap energy (we have low cost food because we have low cost energy). From buildings to crop production to water transmission to logistics to processing to waste treatment - - cheap energy is the one input that makes this viable. Remove cheap energy from the equation - - no 4.25 billion hens and no one egg per day per the three billion new members of our planet.

Next to my 215,000 acre chicken farm, look for my wind and solar farm. The future is about both types of farms.

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