We are having egg issues! We currently own 17 laying hens. Let me repeat that… we own 17 egg laying hens and yesterday when we collected eggs, there was 1. How do 17 chickens who are only a year or two old only produce one egg?
Our numbers normally drop in the winter, but they have never dropped this bad, over the last week we have collected just over two dozen eggs. That is 24 eggs in a week. We should be getting at least a dozen a day! I am perplexed. Normally, we sell at least 5 dozen eggs a week. That is really helpful in covering the cost of the addition chickens, that we raise specifically for egg sales. It would be really great to get egg production back.
During the winter chickens do not produce as many eggs because their bodies are using those calories to stay warm. We have been increasing their feed and supplementing feed with extra compost and pumpkins that we have collected. They are enjoying the extra treats but they are still not producing. They are running low on crushed shells so I will get more of that today. I also have been occasionally giving them sunflower seeds as scratch grains, I will increase that as well as add some cracked corn to their diet.
We will be also adding lights to our chicken coop. I will put a light in the night coop where they sleep and in the covered area where they can get out of the rain. We have had some really rainy, over cast day and I am wondering if they are not getting the light that they need.
I hate to force them to lay, I know that their bodies need a break, but this is a little extreme. The decrease in egg production as been going on for about 2 1/2 months. We have still been able to get at least 5 dozen to be able to sell. This week I had to tell my last regular egg customer that I did not have any eggs for them. I do not want to lose them, if they think that they are not going to be able to get eggs from me they will go somewhere else.
Since we have been talking about chickens and eggs so much around here the last couple of weeks, we have been trying to figure out what the plan is for our flock in the New Year. We know that over the course of the year we will be raising 48 chickens for meat. We are going to do it in two batches, the first in yearly March and the second in July. We have learned in the past that is not a good idea to raise chickens near hunting season, there is no one to help process them. We are also going to be at least adding an addition 6 to our flock. I would love to get 2 dozen eggs a day. That would cover what I want to sell as well as I want to make our own mayo from now on.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you and your family a Happy New Year.