Why am I still getting eggs ? I have a flock of around 55 birds and am getting about a dozen a day. But any day now, my egg count will be going up substantially as my new 36 layers start to lay more consistently. I’m ready.
I am feeding a lot of freeloaders right now but that’s just part of understanding eggs ARE a seasonal food. Something we don’t like to hear nowadays as a culture.
So what’s my tip if you want eggs through winter and shorter days ?
Replace ten to twenty percent of your laying flock each year .
Also when you are getting oodles of eggs in the spring and summer, preserving them for leaner egg times like now helps as well. I usually scramble and freeze them.
Chickens older than a year called hens go through a molt. It happens naturally when daylight hours reduce and it signals to the chicken it’s time to take a break and focus on us before next breeding season, which is basically what chickens are producing eggs for, we just stop that process by removing their eggs every day. When they molt, they lose their feathers and basically look like we did when my mom cut our bangs as kids. They need more protein now too, to regrow those feathers. I give them lots of meat scraps year round but it’s especially important in the winter molt.
Chickens under a year, most likely born in the spring, are called pullets and they don’t molt their first year. So they start laying and keep laying through their first winter. Albeit smaller eggs usually, so we call them pullet eggs, but Voila ….eggs.
I don’t use lights to extend the daylight hour forcing them to lay through the molt. I believe it shortens the lifespan and the quality of life of the chickens. Who doesn’t need a rest in the winter ??
I also switch to straw to keep the coop a little warmer in the winter. Deep litter, that blog post here https://yellowbrickroadfarm.ca/2023/01/17/deep-litter-making-your-winter-coop-work-for-you/ , can help keep your girls warm through their molt as well.
Either cull out your older gals and use them for bone broth (they make the most beautiful yellow broth) or suck up the feed cost and support them through the molt. I cull my older roosters in the fall and usually just let my older girls die off naturally.
They have earned it.
Love Jenn xx