Monday, November 15, 2010

Molting


When my 19 hens were laying full bore last summer I was having trouble selling all those eggs. I was getting roughly eight-dozen eggs a week. As soon as the hens turned one year old in August a few of them fell out and started molting. It happens to chickens every year. They start losing their feathers and they begin to look scruffy. At this point in time most of my hens look this way. A few are coming out of molt but most are in. The hens that looked big and puffy in June and now they look thin. They are still quite healthy and behaved as they did when in full plumage.

Egg production is low. Some days I will get four eggs and the next day I will get none. Sadly I have built up a good reliable customer base, but I now have to make them wait several days before I can fill an order.

Things are rough all over because another local egg producer is going through the same thing and yet another egg producer has lost a lot of his flock to predation.

I think to remedy this next year I'm going to get some spring chickens and some late summer chickens so my egg production will be more reliable for my customers year round.

7 Comments:

Blogger mark said...

Maybe your new belt has caused egg production to drop off. Have you considered that? "Oh look girls, here comes the plumber! Cluck cluck cluck!"

7:45 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Maybe you should find a market for all those feathers to make up for the loss in eggs. Maybe the local fly fishing community?

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get laying ducks to go with your hens. They molt on a different schedule so I never am completely out of eggs.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous auntie said...

PLUMBER ! LOL @ Mark

Oooh, getting laying ducks, that sounds good. Except when I first looked at it I saw the words "get lame ducks"....

8:14 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Mark they would have laughed at my former belt.

Darev, oddly only very feathers are interesting. The roosters iridescent green tail feathers were keepers.

Anon, I've had ducks before, but they never laid any eggs.

Auntie, so instead of me misspelling you are now misreading.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Papa said...

Have you extended thier day to 12-14hrs of light. Needs to be bright enough to read by.Increase the protien of there feed to 20% and move it inside thier coop they won't go out to eat in the dark

Papa

3:58 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Papa, they are on Layena Crumbles, they get kitchen scraps and are out on pasture about six hours a day. Their food is always in their coop. I mix in oyster shell.

I don't want to light the coop, though there are lights in there and a 3'X4' window. I'd rather keep them in natural light and have fewer eggs for a couple months. Let them have their natural cycles in their lives.

But thanks for the advice. I'm sure you've had customers that wanted to work their livestock to death. Everyone needs a rest. I even do less when the days are shorter.

4:23 PM  

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