Lesson 971 – Lack of eggs in New Hampshire

We are finally starting to get eggs after a winter of seeing none. None.

None.

I know that the founders of our flock are starting to see the near side of 5 years, but still, you’d think that we’d have had some remaining layers still around.

But in New Hampshire this is something I’ve heard from a few chicken owners, eggs are scarce this season. It’s been and continues to be a brutally cold winter and intense cold equals stress.

Along with that physical stress comes the constant struggle to keep the girls in water. When the thermometer dips (well) below zero, even our trusty water heater can’t keep up and the water quickly freezes. That situation leads to another source of stress contributing to egg scarcity.

When it becomes a matter of life or death to keep yourself warm and hydrated, your body tends to shut down non-essential functions – like egg laying. In fact, when it’s brutal like this, some of the older chickens just can’t keep up at all, we’ve lost 3 chickens this winter, the biggest hit we’ve had since starting with a flock.

Lately, we’ve had some warmer days in-between the perpetual blizzards of Winter 2014. Enough to melt the snow and ice (we actually chipped down to the wooden porch this past weekend.) And the sun is starting to assert her grace on our days. I look out to the coop and I see our girls roosting with their bodies turned toward the sun. Drinking in what warmth they can while they are able.

The warmth restores.

And look, some eggs. Like the trickle of a spring thaw, we are only finding one or two a day but we are starting to find them.

IMG_20140225_080927033(1)

thaw dirty but beautiful to see

It’s a sign – Spring will eventually arrive and with it will come some new chicks to replenish our older flock. We’ll be back in chicks, eggs, and sunny days again – at some point.

Some point soon, I can tell.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

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9 Comments

Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Holidays, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotable Chicks, The Family

9 responses to “Lesson 971 – Lack of eggs in New Hampshire

  1. We were always told that chickens need a certain amount of daylight to lay eggs so we would keep a light on in the coup to extend their light to equal 12 hours a day. Even when the flock began to age, we still had a few eggs through out the winter. It was always less than summer, though.

    • Wendy Thomas

      Cindy,

      You are right on that, chickens need about 16 hours of sunlight a day in order to regularly lay eggs. But even in past winters we at least got a few eggs every few days, but this winter it’s gone down to nothing.

      Spring, for several reasons, can’t come fast enough.

      Wendy

      On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 9:54 AM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:

      >

  2. We got one egg every couple of days in VT, and that from the 2013 chantaclers. Now we are finally up to 3 a day. The banties have no interest in laying and say they are not sure if they ever will, winter sucks!! Now when is spring coming???

    • Wendy Thomas

      Pam,

      Yup, this has been a tough one. It has *killed* me to have to go out and buy eggs, but this spring we are going to get a new batch of chicks and hopefully that will help next winter. (If not, I’m going to look into freezing eggs.)

      Wendy

      On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 9:56 AM, Lessons Learned from the Flock wrote:

      >

  3. Sarah

    My farmer here in upstate NY has had similar situation of few or no eggs. In the last couple of weeks, though, the girls have started to see spring and I can get great eggs again. She also lost a few of the older girls to cold this winter, too. We’ll all be very glad when it’s warmer.

  4. Keith Alexander

    The trick is to always hatch a few flock replacers each spring. so they are old enogh to start laying that winter as POL hens do not moult in their first year and tend to lay quite well through the winter of their first year regardless of day length..

    We have had a good flow of eggs all winter and are now up to about 75% back in lay. Also our Ducks started last week as well plus the Geese are at the gathering twigs and stuff stage… Spring is on its way.

  5. Cindy

    We are in NY and have had a hard time keeping water also. Every day when I get eggs and check water and feed they always eat the snow off my boots. So I have a 2 square pails that I fill with snow and lay it on it’s side. I do it in the morning and evening it’s usually almost empty each time. We also have a light on a timer that goes on from 3-7am and 6-7pm to add extra light for them. (adjusting it as it is getting lighter sooner and staying later in the day) we do have some chickens that came in june but the rest are 1-2 years older and our egg count did well all winter. They also are spoiled every day they get bread (out of code) and I make suet with peanut butter and give them birdseed every 4-5 days. Happy girls lay happy eggs!

  6. Ellen

    My polish started laying just before Christmas, and has layed all winter. My Silkies(2) started laying in Jan. some days 2 eggs somedays 3 nothing to depend on, and we have had to buy eggs . But since this is my first year. the outside chickens are giving a large egg . a day. Oh ya the polish and Silkies are in a heated garage, with the light on from 5 am till maybe 8 pm. Ya they are soooooo spoiled. I have been turning the heat down two degrees a week to get them ready to go outside. They get greens and fruit, daily, (I think half my food bill is for them). Love my girls.<3

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