Why did the chicken…


Let me tell you what I dream of.  I dream of a better world where chickens just lay their eggs, with shells, and don’t take part in cannibalistic infanticide.

The past few weeks we’ve seen a few more rubber eggs, which had me concerned, followed by…nothing.  We’ve actually had a few days where no eggs have been laid, and many days with just one egg.

I was starting to freak, thinking dammit, it’s over, we’re going to have to send Romy to the big freezer in the sky…when I came across this:

It’s the middle of winter. You’re getting very few eggs from your flock, if any at all. They’re still in the stages of molting, or they’re just finishing up their last molt. …

Many chickens cease laying during molting as they need to channel all that energy — and all available protein — into growing out their feathers, which are almost purely protein (keratin fiber, to be exact).

Oh, Garden Betty.  You’re good for more than just Xmas presents.  Though, in addition to putting our coop to shame, she also makes me feel like a negligent chicken owner.

Our chickens are molting?


I’ve maybe seen a few extra feathers lying around, but no piles of discarded down or balding spots on the ladies or “crazed porcupine” necks.  Nothing freakish.

This change did coincide with a few weeks of no sun, meaning it stayed dark until well past 8am, and a pretty extreme drop in temps (I went running the other morning–17 degrees out, felt like 3.)   So it is possible.

Paul spoke with the woman at Southern States, who assured us that the feed we’re buying is infused with plenty of protein for winter.  So…fingers crossed that I am just unobservant and this is what’s going on.

P.S. Thanks goes out to Uncle Joe for the opening picture.

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