Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chicken and egg update Fall 2013 edition.

There isn't much going on around the homestead so the blog posts have been infrequent.  I suspect that that will continue to be the case.  It's too cold and dark by the time I get home from work.  I'm not getting any projects done as a result. 

I thought it'd be a good time to revisit the chickens.  I currently have six layers.  For most of the year I was getting between 3 and 6 eggs per day.  Once the days started getting shorter that dropped off.  I guess they're on vacation.  I'm getting 1 egg per day now.

From what I've read they're laying is affected by light.  They aren't getting much sun, so they aren't laying.  A lot of days I don't let them out of the coop until 8:00 AM and they're back in there by 5:00 PM.  Some people will put a light in the coop to keep them laying.  I'd rather just let nature do its thing.  If I get fewer eggs then I'll just have to manage.

In addition to getting fewer eggs, some of the birds are molting.  This has been most evident in my Barred Plymouth Rock.
This is how she looked in September.
Now she looks like this.
I apologize for the bad pictures, but chasing around a chicken with a cell phone and then hoping it holds still is no easy task. 

As a result of the molting I started giving them 18% protein feed rather than the usual 16%.  They need the extra protein to produce new feathers.  I'm hoping that the new feathers grow in and that they start laying again soon.  If they don't, I might have to think about putting them in the freezer