The (Belated) Summer Egg Count
November 10, 2014
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:
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
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.
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?