News on the hill is that we STILL have no eggs! Last spring we had predators, then we had brooding, then we had poulets not ready to lay, now we have millions of chickens and NO EGGS! Well, 40 chickens give or take and one egg a day if we're lucky. What the heck is going on?
Our flock is free-range, so we typically believe that the birds will do what they naturally do with very little interference on our part. We give them food and shelter, a chicken coop with roost and nesting boxes. Shouldn't that be enough?
Well, after so much time without eggs, we figured we better be a little more proactive. We decided to take action; figure out what the problem is. Are the girls under stress? Do they need water and feed inside the coop? Do they need something additional in their feed? Do we need a light in the coop to trick them into laying? Do we need to bed them differently? Or change the location of the nesting boxes...? The questions and wonderings go on and on.
The first thing William did was put a light in the coop. Still no eggs. Then he rebedded the coop with new straw. A few days later, every last bit of that straw was out of the nesting boxes and maybe even consumed? Then he began feeding and watering them in the coop as they don't seem to be real thrilled with going out in the cold and snow anyway. Grit and oyster shells were added to their feed, hay went into the coop for bedding instead of straw (more nutrition if they are eating it), but still no eggs.
Last night William came in from doing chores and he said, "You know that orange cat we've been seeing around the property? I think I saw it coming out of the chicken coop." Well, hecky becky, that might be an answer! Is that cat getting into the coop? Is that cat eating the eggs? Did that cat kill the one chicken that was dead about a month ago? Holy cats! The next experiment is to leave the coop door closed to see if we don't get some eggs now. I do hope this might be the explanation as I am running out of testable theories!
Successful farming is trial and error - the balance between science and art!
The Lake View Organic Farm Store is OPEN this Saturday, February 13th for a little pre-Valentine's Day fun! It's going to be cold, but we'll have hot Chai and a BIG FIRE to keep you warm for a moment of Hello, How are yous! Here's the Maiden Rock Tiny Town Fun Itinerary if you haven't already seen it. We'd love to see you out and about enjoying (braving) this incredible weather!
Remember what they say, "There's no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing!" Dress warm and you'll have great fun!
Hearts and LOVE to all of you,