Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Chicken Update


In late October the older hens went into molt and halted egg production. Completely normal, nothing to worry about. And the younger hens were still laying 3 to 4 eggs per day from 5 hens. 

The molt was going on a bit long and as the days got shorter the younger hens decided an egg moratorium was a good idea. Huh? This is flock #3 for me and every other young flock laid consistently throughout the winter without needing supplemental light. This flock figured a break was a great idea and quit laying a full two weeks before Thanksgiving.

I had to buy eggs! I own 10 hens! I was a wee bit upset.

So I decided to add a light on a timer inside the coop. I had a bulb cage, an outlet in the coop for the water heater, and a good place to hang the cage where it wouldn’t get knocked down. A bit of research said they needed at least 14 hours of light and that you should introduce it gradually. And that’s what I did. I extended the day in both directions by a half hour until I had at least 15 hours of light (I figured better safe than eggless). 

It took a while for them to start again, but I’m now getting 3 to 4 eggs a day. They started December 7 and haven’t missed a day since. 

The older hens are finally out of molt and laying (that’s a Bunty egg up there. The super extra large that looks like a goose got into the coop) although I don’t expect daily production from them. Two of the younger birds are consistent layers but the other three are sporadic. I think I’ll need to put bands on everybody so I can start figuring out who is laying and who needs culling. But that’s a problem for nicer weather. It’s 4 degrees out and I’m just happy they’re laying at all.

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