“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hens, Eggs, Light And Spring

Rhoda, a Rhode Island Red, who is NOT on a diet.
People who have had layers (that's LAY-ers) always ask the big question in the winter. "Are you getting any eggs?". The first year of a hens life she usually lays all through the first winter, although not necessarily every day. The eggs might be smaller, "pullet" eggs depending on her maturity, but eggs nonetheless. The older hens, which define six of my eight, may slow down as the days get shorter, and after Thanksgiving or so, sputter to almost nil.  This winter we only had two or three days with no eggs at all. My new, adopted Rhode Island Reds, Rhoda and Red, kept us in their nice eggs through out, with an occasional supplement from the older girls.
You may wonder what use there is to keeping these old hens if they don't produce all year, but here at On the Pond Farm, they are also maintenance workers, and do preventative health care. Every day, after their morning feed, they work their way behind me to each stall as I clean them. They scratch for grubs, bugs, parasitic worms in the stool, and left over grain and seeds. By doing this clean up, they make it difficult for rodents to thrive, and parasites to spread.
In the video you see the girls waiting their turn to lay.  Until recently, they all waited to lay in the same box. I think because production is up, they have now split the eggs into two nests.  We used to have more boxes, but they always seemed to put all their eggs in one basket (Ha!). Fine with me, although come summer, I bet they will start hiding them around the barn again.  Always fun to have egg hunts for visiting kids!

After the video at the evening egg gathering, we we amazed to find this.
Yes! EIGHT eggs. 
All girls appreciated the great summer weather of the past two weeks and were in full production.
Its officially Spring!


Louvregirl said...

Those are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l eggs! :-)

Linda Myers said...

Before my neighbor clipped her hens' wings last week, she'd searched high and low for the eggs. We found half a dozen in the St. John's Wort growing in our easement. Like an early Easter!

Dawn said...

I get the same question about keeping my hens when their production dwindles. I look at like this, -->If they spend 5 or 6 days a week for a year or more spitting out an egg then I'm happy to feed them, love them for the next several years when they only give me 3 or 4 eggs per week. They keep my ranch looking great by working the soil, they love the back end of my cows (and it's hard to get anything to love the hind end of bovine) and they fill the air with good vibes.

I have an 10+ year old blind hen, BC (Blind Chicken) who gives beautiful feathers to my fly tying friend and she still gives me an egg once in awhile.

My chickens make me HAPPY, and I've get to put monetary value to that!