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Turkey Tracks: Chickens Start Laying Again

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Turkey Tracks:  December 31, 2012

Chickens Start Laying Again

Our chickens stopped laying sometime in October.

That’s ok, because they need a break.  By Easter time, most of our hens are laying every day and only slack off as the summer progresses.

The chickens who are a year old molt in the fall.  They are the worst-looking, most pitiful little things until they grow in new, glossy, glorious feathers.  It takes all their energy and LOTS of protein to grow in new feathers.  Besides, laying eggs is an awesome and involved task.  They just plain need to rest so I have never put light on them to extend the normal light quotient of the days.  I do put a red light if the temperatures drop below zero.

Just before Christmas, chickie Valentine, a Freedom Ranger, laid an egg.  Valentines eggs are HUGE.

A few days later, Pearl, the younger Wheaten Americauna laid a stunning blue egg–great color and shape.  (I know it was Pearl because I saw her making a bed in one of the egg boxes and because Nancy, who is now almost 4 years old, is still growing in feathers.)

And a few days ago, Pearl and Rosie, my only Copper Black Maran female now, gifted us with two eggs.

Aren’t they pretty?  That chocolate brown egg is characteristic of the Marans.

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Then, we got the big snow, and the chickens are locked into their cage/coop arrangement–which they hate.  Even if I opened the coop, they would not come out.  Wisely, they know they are sitting ducks in the snow and with all the bare bushes that offer little protection from a swooping bird predator.  You will recall that’s how we lost a huge Maran female two winters ago.

This morning I took them some leftover meat and pancakes, with some milk poured over–alongside their normal grain feed.  Pearl was investigating egg boxes again.  I predict we’ll have another egg before long.

I am a bit surprised as in previous years, the hens didn’t start laying again until the days got longer.  I had expected Blackbird, the little hen we let Chickie Sally (eaten by the fox in August) raise this summer, to start laying her first eggs any day now as she is a full five months old.  Blackbird is a Wheaten/Maran cross, and she’s solid black with a small comb.  She’s beautiful.  Her eggs will be an olive green color.

Blackbird is also the low bird on the chicken pecking order, so she’s fairly stressed when she’s locked in with all of the hens.  Pearl, the former low bird, chases her endlessly.  Rosie, the head chick, is mean to everyone but Valentine, who is twice her size.  No one messes with Valentine.

Written by louisaenright

December 31, 2012 at 11:21 am

One Response

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  1. We could write a book about your chickens…LOL

    Susan Heath

    December 31, 2012 at 12:52 pm


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