Chickens / Management

The Return of the Egg

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Over the past two weeks, egg-laying has slowly picked back up.  Although these days are among the shortest of the year, most of the hens are done molting and a few more of the pullets have come into lay.  My Basque Hen pullet has recovered from her run-in with the hawk, and I believe both of my German New Hampshire pullets are now laying.

Rosie, my Welsummer, and all three of my green-egg-laying Easter Egger hens are back in lay.  Hennie, the Speckled Sussex, lays the least of all my hens, except perhaps my Phoenix.  I haven’t seen an egg from either of them yet although they have finished molting.  Little White laid well into the fall when all other year-old hens had stopped and she is molting now.

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I must admit another factor in this return to laying: I’ve been giving them a supplement.  The day after I fed them some Calf Manna, I got five eggs when I had been getting 0-2.  It’s got to be more than coincidence.  I saw a post about another chicken-keeper’s production rebounding after feeding some Calf Manna, which has 25% protein, and decided to give it a try.  (I’m not sponsored by them in anyway, BTW, although the other blogger is.)

I usually feed exclusively organic, soy-free feed from Countryside Organics.  However, after purchasing a few dozen eggs at the grocery store with an unsettled conscious and imagining the hens which laid them, I decided that I would rather give my money to a conventional feed company and eat eggs from my very happy, truly free-ranged/pastured hens than continue to buy the eggs available to me.  Just a personal call.

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So, between the now-laying pullets, the post-molting hens, and their high-protein supplement, I am now getting 3-5 eggs a day from 12 hens and pullets rather than 0-2.  It’s a great improvement.  The yolks are a deep orange, as we have plenty of dormant grass, when it’s not covered by snow.  The shells are strong, and all eggs are medium to large, which reassures me that they are not too big from too much protein.

So, I’m actually back to the point where I didn’t need to buy any eggs last week.  I’m hoping that in a few more weeks I’ll have eggs to share.  In the meantime, I am enjoying my beautiful, delicious eggs, all the more so because they came from my own care-raised hens.

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12 thoughts on “The Return of the Egg

  1. It is good that your ladies are now giving back a little something for their care and feed. I am now starting to gather some eggs from the pullets that are now about 18 weeks old, a nice surprise, they will be 20 weeks old the 10th. I wonder if it is the FF they have been getting since bringing them home? Seems like I’ve read where their eating FF might be responsible for them to lay early, whatever, no complaints. All of the flock is looking good even though many areas of the yard are still muddy, the dry season is starting slowly. The cockerels from the duel purpose chicks are beginning to put on weight, not sure just how long it will be till they are ready for the freezer. Today is starting out sunny, maybe I will get a few photos and post them on my blog. I’ll put up another reply if I get the photos.

    • I managed to get a few good photos, more to come when the winds die down a little. See the photos on my blog, http://agardeninparadise.blogspot.com/ Oh, I made a big mistake and said the new eggs were from the 18 week old chicks, they are 10 weeks old, the eggs came from the pullets that we hatched here, the chicks will be 12 weeks old on the 10th, got them the 10th of October, silly me.

      • Thank you so much for sharing your blog, Art! I checked it out. What a beautiful yard you have, and what a view! The flock looks great. Point-of lay at eighteen weeks would be awesome – like a hybrid Red Star or other sexlink – but you are seeing eggs at 10 weeks? Wow! Eighteen weeks is a nice, early point-of-lay! It may be the FF or any of many other factors, but I am sure it all points to great husbandry! Not that I have a huge following, but I’m sharing your blog on Pintrest. Thanks, Art!

  2. So glad the hawk did not win. Did you have to intervene?. I am now getting 5 eggs out of 8 hens. All but my Barnevelder has started laying. She is the runt so she should start soon. I have been lucky. There is a lady down the road from me that I can buy eggs from in a pinch. She has about 50 hens so they are always available. However, I prefer my own.

  3. Are your Basque pullets laying that you hatched from Maggiesdad? The three you gave me are not laying yet. The SA have been done with their molt for awhile now and have not laid an egg yet. I have two pullets laying really well all winter, near molted. One Orpington and one Welsummer. My broody Basque laid her first egg yesterday since having her chicks.
    Most of my pullets only molted on their necks and tail feathers. None had large bald spots like the SAs.

    Hope all is well.

    • No, the youngest Basques haven’t laid yet. I’m surprised that the SAs haven’t laid, though. Those girls need to get on the ball! About half of my hens from last year had a very big molt with bald spots and no tail, but they are mostly back to laying. Maybe moving during the molt really shook them up. All is well, just very busy!

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