January 10, 2011

Not done yet

My hens are getting old. This spring they will be 4, and have lived longer than most laying chickens. Not that they show their age: they are more beautiful than ever. Fully feathered, gleaming in the sun. Why don't birds show their age like mammals? No greyer around the beak, not obviously creaky ... Lucky hens.

The reason that I really thought they were over the hill was the fewer eggs we got last summer and fall. I knew that laying eggs is dependent on hours of daylight, but I must not have realized how much. At least in former years we did have enough eggs for ourselves throughout the winter, I just had disappointed customers. But this year the laying stopped altogether, and I was buying eggs that were tasteless. Then I finally found out that I could put a 60 watt bulb on a timer in the coop that came on at 3 am, to make up the required 14 hours of daylight to re initiate the laying. Duh! I did not want to have light on 24/7 as that would drive me nuts, if I were a chicken.

Now they are back in production. We currently have 15 chickens and are averaging 5 great-tasting eggs a day. Thanks to Isabella, Francine, Goldie, Mathilda, Grayce, etc.

1 comment:

webb said...

Cluck, cluck! Do they have to get up at 3 a.m.? Couldn't you keep them awake later at night - let them watch Letterman or something?

Great looking eggs, tho. Makes me want to get a chick or two. The neighbors would hate it and the zoning commission would be on me like, well, a chicken on a junebug, but it would be fun for a few days.

Glad you figured it out!