Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Daily Egg

At this time of year, the only chickens that I have laying eggs is usually the young pullets just starting out their egg laying careers. The older hens have stopped for the year, taking a break to grow fresh feathers, put weight back on, and rebuild their body's mineral reserves. 

This is normal for my region because I don't provide artificial light to extend the "daylight period" for my birds. I let the girls live naturally. 

The main reason for going the natural route is that I'm not aiming for top egg production. My goal is nutrient enhanced mulching material for the gardens. That pen litter is more valuable to me than the eggs. I consider the eggs a free bonus. 

So here I sit, getting one egg a day. This one-egg-a-day thing has been going on for a full month now. The young pullet is really pumping out the eggs. Good girl! She hasn't missed a day yet. 

So what if I wanted eggs year around in order to go back to selling lots of eggs again? I would need to add fresh chicks every year in January in order to have layers when the older hens stopped. To tell you the truth, I'm thinking about it. Selling eggs would bring some income in. If I do it, then I'd build another pen for young birds that lay, and one for old birds past laying. Reason? To funnel the higher nutrition to the layers and the lesser nutrient dense foods to the manure producing flock. So now I have to consider if it's worth the expense to build another pen. Yes, I could have all the birds mixed up together, but then I'll be hard pressed to come up with that much high quality feed without buying it all....which negates the idea of making some income selling eggs. Feed cost an arm and a leg here. 

So for right now, I have one egg layer and about 50 older hens taking a break. Of this 50, I'm guessing that only half were laying last year. Thus I have a lot of old hens. Time to make some decisions. 


  1. I wonder if you could set up some kind of trap door on the nest boxes so when they start laying again you could separate the layers from the non layers.

    1. It's actually fairly easy to tell which hens are laying. The color on their legs pale out, their feathers get a tad ratty, their vent gets softer, and the pelvic bones on each side of the vent get wider apart.

      The problem I see with the trap door idea is that non-laying hens will go into the nest boxes too. They sometimes just lay in there for a while, sleep in there at night, or go looking for eggs to break open & eat.