What’s up with these hens? I’ve collected at least one egg every day for the past four years.
Now…nothing. Not one single egg in the past three, almost four weeks. I talk to the ladies, whisper sweet nothings into their ears. I implore. I cajole. I beg.
No eggs. Not. One.
This is not totally uncommon. Hens don’t lay much when they are molting their feathers. The girls are mostly done and looking beautiful—except poor Molly Brown who started late—but I’m still finding feathers around, so it’s not totally over yet.
Another factor is hens lay fewer eggs in the shortened days of fall and winter. Some people add light in the coop to artificially circumvent this natural occurrence. I’m gonna let nature and the hens do their own thing.
And then there’s age. The six girls from my first flock have been laying for four years. I think only three of them were laying before this drop off in egg production started. “Henopause” happens.
But not a single egg? From sixteen hens? For weeks? That’s just not right. Six girls are only one year old. I’m calling them the real slackers. The two babies from this year haven’t started laying yet—but it’s about time…
For a while I thought they might be laying eggs in the straw on the floor of the shed and Doink was finding and eating them. Since the hawk seems to make daily flights over the barnyard, the hens have all been inside much more than usual. I take more trips out to the barnyard, poking around in all the dark corners to try and confirm my suspicions. But no. Anyway, most of the ladies sing the “egg song” right after they’ve laid one. And the barnyard has been very, very quiet.
I miss those songs. I miss the crazy arguments they have when two or three hens want the same nesting box at the same time. What a fuss they make!
But mostly, mostly I miss those eggs. I bought a carton of eggs from pasture-raised hens (you guys know the cage-free designation on eggs is only slightly better than the worst eggs you can buy, right?) so Very Excellent Husband Don will have them to make his fantastic Thanksgiving feast. I can’t bring myself to eat them, though.
As luck would have it, I went to the wonderful open house at Broken Shovels Farm yesterday and even though their egg count is way down too, I was able to score a beautiful dozen from her hens—eggs I have no problem eating with gusto. So now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a hot mess of scrambled happiness. And dream of collecting an egg in a nearby nesting box soon 🙂