Happy winter solstice! It’s the longest night of the year.
Winter egg production is usually a pretty good indicator that the days are getting longer–even if it’s so subtle that we humans can’t notice it. But a week or ten days after the solstice, the chickens start laying 1) again; and/or 2) more. However, something starts changing the week or so before the solstice, too.
For instance, this past week Cleo laid an egg two days in a row. She hasn’t laid since, but she popped out two little eggs after weeks of not laying. (Granted, she was molting much of the last month or two.)
Beaker also laid her first egg in weeks/months this week.
And Caroline and Pippi have both been seen in the boxes. No eggs, but they’ve been hanging out, trying to lay an egg.
We bought a grand total of two dozen eggs at our coop this winter. That’s the lowest amount since we got chickens. The hens start slowing down in October, really go into hiatus in November and December, and don’t usually start up until around New Year’s. But the golden comets–well, Annie and Emma–have gotten us through much of late fall and early winter since they have both laid an egg almost every single day since they went through chicken puberty. (White Tail hasn’t laid since the Great Hawk Attack of 2015; then she started molting about two weeks ago; first-year birds don’t normally molt, but we think her poor little body is confused given the injuries). We did ration eggs for a few weeks. And we supplemented them with those 24 store-bought eggs. But we actually had all-our-hens scrambled eggs again for most of this week.
Their eggs have been unusually orange this week, too. We think it’s because we let them into the garden about 10 days ago. They’ve been chicken-thrilled to be in there. There were some chard plants that were chicken-edible, but not human-edible. A ton of chickweed has come up. Plus random worms and bugs. And for some reason they love the asparagus patch. It’s been fascinating to see Annie and Emma’s eggs get darker in this short period of time now that they are feeding on more greens and bugs. Science experiment in the garden!
Now that it’s the winter solstice, egg production should be turning a corner.