Since the Egg Pool was such a smashing success, I’m going to run another contest. Like the last one, this one involves chickens, and anyone with a thoroughgoing knowledge of them will probably have a leg up.
It all started at Agway.
In general, I’m not much of a spender. While I certainly appreciate the charms of jewelry, and clothes, and electronics, I don’t often feel the need to own anything beyond the bare minimum. I don’t believe this is an admirable trait, and I don’t take any credit for being this way. I’m simply hard-wired not to care.
Until I go to Agway.
You can send me into Tiffany’s, or Barney’s, or Takashimaya and I’ll look around for a while, admire the beautiful things, and then start thinking about lunch. Agway, though, gets me every time.
Agway, as its name implies, caters to the agricultural crowd. It sells everything from utility trailers to lettuce seeds, and has sections for composting, fence-building, bird-feeding, gardening, and horses (horse owners, that is – I’ve never seen a horse at Agway, but I don’t think they turn them away).
Naturally, they have a chicken section. By the time we got to it, I’d already passed up the gardening clogs, rain collection barrel, and fatwood bundles, and my resolution was wearing thin. Once the Flock Block caught my eye, I was doomed.
A Flock Block is a 25-pound cube of compressed seeds, grains, and grit. It’s designed to supplement chickens’ diets during the winter, when they can’t range free. It also seems to provide entertainment. It’s so densely packed – it crams twenty-five pounds of feed into a cube about ten inches square – that the chickens have to work at it to get the food.
It was $10.99, about twice the per-pound price of their regular feed.
We’ve been feeling a little sorry for our chickens since they’ve been cooped up for the winter, and we decided they deserved a treat. We bought it.
On the way home, Kevin said, “Make me a market on how long the Flock Block lasts.”
Because Kevin is a commodity trader, trade-speak has become the patois of our marriage. When he asks for a market, he wants to know at what price (i.e. date) I would sell and at what price I would buy.
Say, for example, we’re meeting a friend who’s chronically late. We’re supposed to be at the restaurant at 7:00, but we don’t really expect our friend until some time later. “Make me a market on Joe,” I’ll say. “I’m 7:15 bid at 7:25,” Kevin might answer, meaning that he’d buy 7:15, expecting Joe to be later than that, but sell 7:25, expecting Joe to be there by then.
“Sold!” I might say, if I expected Joe to be earlier than 7:15. I’d buy if I expected him to be later than 7:25. Or, I might decline the trade altogether, if I thought it was a good market.
I did some quick calculations on the Flock Block. It’s half the weight of a bag of feed, and it takes them a month to go through that. That means that two weeks is the dead minimum. But they still have the feed, and they might not even like the Flock Block. But they’re probably bored with the feed, and anything new would be preferable.
“I’m 22 days bid at 27,” I said.
“Sold!” said Kevin.
Now you have all the relevant information about the Flock Block, and you even know that I think it’ll last longer than 22 days, and Kevin thinks it won’t last that long. I can also tell you that, when we gave it to them, they first eyed it suspiciously, then pecked it tentatively, and finally went at it with a will. They seem to enjoy it, but it does look difficult to dislodge the seeds and grains.
To participate in the Flock Block pool, all you have to do is pick the date the chickens will eat the last of it.
Today is February 20th, so if you think it’ll last four weeks, you pick March 20th. If you think the chickens will turn up their beaks at it, you might even pick a day in April, or even later. Leave your guess in the comments, and I will list them in the Flock Block Pool calendar on the left sidebar. Please don’t pick a date someone else has picked.
The prize — there’s a prize! — is a jar of our very own handcrafted Cape Cod sea salt.
And you thought Publishers Clearing House was exciting!