Let there be light!

I’ve heard so many people talk on various chicken forums about eggs…or the lack thereof.  More this year than ever before, really.  I wonder if it is because more people have started raising chickens, hence the additional worry about eggs?

If you read my blogs often, you’ll know I’m not a proponent of additional light in the coop to encourage egg laying. After watching hens work so hard laying eggs most of the year, I’m happy to let them take their time off, build up nice feathers, take it easy before the work begins again in late winter/early spring.

There are lot of things that can stop a hen from laying eggs. The first and most common reason is:  lack of light!  The hens need about 14 hours of light a day to really get started. Having said that, some of my Buttercups began laying shortly after the first of the year and they are going strong. My few other breeds are not yet laying, but I know they will soon.

Other reasons?  The best article I’ve read on the topic is from a blog on Murray McMurray Hatchery . In it, they outline nine reasons why hens may not be laying well, including stress, poor feed, parasites or disease, extreme temperatures, and lack of fresh water.  It’s worth looking at all of  them to ensure your hen has the best conditions possible.

I think sometimes in our busy, instant-gratification world, we might be expecting a little too much from everything, including our animals.  I try to appreciate the chickens for what enjoyment they bring to me.  And so, if eggs are a part of that, so be it.  If not, that’s ok, too.

eggs

But with the days growing noticeably longer, many of my chicken friends now have eggs again.  I hope most of you do, and if you don’t, hang in there.  You will have eggs again, in the fullness of time.

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