The (Belated) Summer Egg Count

November 10, 2014

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The light is fading earlier and earlier each day, and the chickens, one by one, have been giving up their daily egg laying tasks in exchange for a good molting. And because we don't use artificial lights in our hen house, it'll be interesting to see how far into fall we can go before we're completely out of eggs for the year. Right now we're down to one layer, Seven of Nine (top left, laying in my flower pot), who continues to drop eggs like a machine.

I know I haven't kept up with reporting the monthly egg count this summer, but that doesn't mean we haven't religiously marked the numbers on the calendar. I'm not sure we'll do this every year, but it's fun to see which of our girls produces the most, and to keep track of which chickens go broody most often (Starbuck), or not at all (Amelia Pond). We also like to mark down any strange illnesses or maladies that come up throughout the year. I initially kept a chicken journal to jot down such things, but I've since decided it's easiest to use a calendar. It's quick, easy, and there's just enough space for a few notes.

So, without further ado, here are the chicken stats for June through October:

June
Starbuck: 23
Seven: 16
Amy: 25
Milly: 23

Total: 87

July
Starbuck: 17
Seven: 17
Amy: 25
Milly: 11

Total: 70

August
Starbuck: 14
Seven: 22
Amy: 23
Milly: 22

Total: 81

September
Starbuck: 14
Seven: 8
Amy: 3
Milly: 24

Total: 49

October
Starbuck: 0
Seven: 16
Amy: 0
Milly: 13

Total: 29

And here are the grand totals:

Starbuck (Buff Orpington): 68
Seven (Australorp): 79 (and counting)
Amy (Easter Egger): 74
Milly (Black Copper Marans Mix): 93

Grand Total: 314 eggs

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With 93 eggs total, our grand champion layer, Milly (on the right), managed to outlay the rest of the girls by a mile, and I'm still not sure our second place layer, Seven of Nine, will catch up to her despite the fact that she's still laying eggs. Poor Milly has always been a rather ugly bird, and she looks even worse now due to unfortunate molting patterns, but her eggs are lovely. She's a Black Copper Marans, so not only are her eggs a rich, dark brown color, but they're also the biggest eggs we get.

As for our loser, Miss Starbuck, I'm sure she would have performed better had it not been for her monthly session in the broody box. That's ok, though. Of all the birds, she's definitely the friendliest.

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Last but not least, the molting. Luckily, most of the girls have managed to shed their feathers gracefully, but you can see bald spots and pinfeathers when you lift their wings or move their old feathers aside. For the most part, we try not to handle them much during this time because it seems so painful, but we also try to give them a good once-over every now and then to make sure all is well.

For those of you who own chickens: how far into the fall and winter do your birds typically molt? Do any of your hens continue to lay throughout the winter despite no artificial lighting?

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful ladies. We built our chicken coop this summer but will wait for the spring to get girls. I have decided against artificial lighting in the winter and it seems silly to get birds now just to feed the all winter long. Did you find that 4 hens produced too many eggs for two people or was it just about right?

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    1. 4 hens is just right for us. Matt and I eat eggs regularly, so there was plenty for us + a few extra to give as gifts to neighbors, friends and family here and there. In the warmer months, that is.

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  2. Hey Lindsay,

    We actually have to supplement our girls with a heat lamp during the winter because it gets a bit too cold over here (Eastern Oregon) without it. So they do get supplemental red light throughout the winter. Our Leghorns pretty much laid throughout the winter last year, though our bantams did not. This year we have 12 new birds (10 girls), and we noticed a marked drop in egg production starting around September. Our bantams have completely stopped since late August (all 6 of them). One of our leghorns has stopped laying since August as well, we're not sure why. Our other larger full sized girls are still laying ok, though not as well as in the late spring/early summer. We get anywhere from 0-4 eggs per day right now. We haven't turned on the heat lamp this year yet, so this year's observations so far are sans artificial light :)

    I always love to see how your chickies are doing, I've always wanted a buff orpington, but alas, my husband says they're too big... So I live vicariously through your posts!

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    1. Ah, yes. They're big indeed (and oh-so cuddly)! Do your leghorns and bantams get broody?

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    2. Our bantams did this summer, two of them shared the nest and would steal the other's eggs if she got up. We let them hang on to them for the full 21 days, but nothing really happened (and we didn't really have the setup necessary, and I probably checked them too much). It was kind of hard to break them afterwards, one of them would still sleep in the nest at night, and we had to repeatedly remove her during the day, carry her across the yard, and she'd still run back as fast as she could. That lasted about a week or two. We finally settled on a name for her after that though, Fluffy Nester! We just couldn't come up with one that stuck before that.

      The leghorns are very flighty and pretty much only sit on the nest long enough to lay their eggs. They are our best layers though. Nice big white eggs daily, though I much prefer colored eggs! They're also pretty good about using a nest, some of our chicken seem to prefer the floor :/

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  3. Wow, that's a lot of eggs! I love how each of your chickens is different in color and personality :)

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    1. Yeah, I'm fascinated by their differences. In some ways, I take them all as representatives of their breed, but further study is definitely required (as in, more chickens someday). :)

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  4. So many eggs! That's great! My bunnies are molting too. Their schedules have been staggered, though, so it's been a big constant fluff cloud in our house since September. :)

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    1. Ha! What kind of rabbits do you own? I don't suppose you do anything with all that delicious fiber? ;)

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