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.
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.
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.