The girls are in their prime laying stage now. They give us anywhere from 19 to 28 eggs every day. They should continue this rate more or less until next fall when they will likely go through the annual molt. Egg laying drops off during molt because the energy used to ripen yolks and make egg shells is redirected to making new feathers. The severity of the molt is unique to each bird. But for now, we have happy hens making good use of the nest boxes! And Red the Rooster provides 24/7 security 🙂
As I write this, I have the space heater going under my desk and a cuppa chai trying to warm my hands. The current temp outside is -10° or -15°, I can’t remember which. In the chicken coop however, it’s a toasty +40°! We have the heater on, the water pails are heated and the heat lamp comes on in the morning and runs periodically for an hour during the day. The girls are happy to eat and preen, but they do like to get some fresh air. On these bitter cold days they have to stay in – kind of like the kids in elementary school!
Of course, with everybody in close quarters, the roosters strut around and talk smart. Red tends to chase Eddie away from the ladies, but Eddie is sneaky. I noticed some blood spatter on the wall, so methinks Red has caught Eddie once or twice! I didn’t call the CSI team in – this time.
Laverne and Shirley would dearly love to get into the coop where it’s warm, but they tend to lounge in the nests, and that discourages the girls from going into the nest boxes to lay eggs. The cats have the mountains of straw up in the drafty hayloft, or the straw bales or hay bales on the first floor, or the Styrofoam box built for feral cats that acts like an insulated cave. I even put their little bed inside it. Suffice to say, there are plenty of places to snuggle down in the barn.
Speaking of eggs, even with the cold weather, the girls are laying 20-25 eggs per day. Today’s cache was 28!
Dec. 4, 2016
Ah, yes. Winter. The first snowfall is always exciting, especially near Christmas. The “girls,” however, are dismayed with this cold white stuff covering the ground. They went out to free range, took a lap around the pine trees and went right back into the coop. Let the bickering begin…
But the best part of winter on the farm is coming in from the barn and being greeted by the smell of home made chicken & dumpling soup on the stove. The hubby’s a good cook!