We are starting to see signs of Spring (even though the temperatures are still hovering in the low 20′s). There is bright sunlight in the morning and there’s still glorious light at 6:00 in the evening. It’s enough for us all to exhale that breath we’ve been holding on to since the darkness arrived.
Although many chicken owners do, we do not add light to our chicken coop in order to encourage egg production in the winter. We are not an egg business and if the girls want to take it easy during the cold months and slack off just a bit, that’s fine with me. Hey, I’ve been known to take to the electric blanket heated bed a few times myself on those cold afternoons, I know how they feel.
With the arrival of sunlight though, things change. This increase in light exposure triggers hens to begin laying eggs (and it triggers moms to get up earlier in the morning). While we had been averaging about 9-11 eggs a day (we currently have 33 hens) we are now getting more like 15-18 eggs a day. Remember we have a slew of bantams who do not lay regularly but it seems that our hardy layers are really picking up production.
In our own personal Easter Egg hunt, every time we check the coop, sure enough, there’s another one.
All of this of course, means a few things. With this increased production, we’ll be on the lookout for calcium depletion. Things like soft shells, shell-less eggs, and thin spots will be carefully monitored and at the first sign of these you can bet we’ll be adding in just a wee bit extra oyster shell until we see these pesky signs go away.
The other thing this means? I’ll be brushing up on my egg recipes. Spinach bacon quiche anyone?