Have you noticed how slowly the numbers on The Egg Count have been creeping up? For the past couple of months, we've been averaging 3.4 eggs per day from the four Gals. However, things have changed.
It appears the Gals are on strike.
When the Young'uns skip out to check for eggs each day, they are coming back sad faced and empty handed. We've been eking out about an egg a day for the last week or so.
This is only our second year of having chickens here on the Farm, so Farmer Ron and I are not exactly poultry experts in any way, shape or form. Like most things we do, we figure the best way to learn is by doing, so we got the chickens and we're figuring it out as we go. We even took this approach to having kids..."Let's just start trying and see what happens." So far, it's worked well, a bit chaotic, but well.
Not being completely well versed in the way of the chicken, we're at a bit of a loss as to the slow down in egg production. Many theories have been thrown around the dinner table - a sneaky little neighbor gal, the lack of sun, a shortage of eggs on some other planet (think aliens), a need for the coop to be moved, chicken stress (whatever this might be), a sneaky animal neighbor, chicken cannibalism (we haven't seen any empty shells). See how may possibilities with which we have to work?
The best theory we've come up with is that the Gals are molting. What is molting you ask? Here's your answer, thanks to wiki answers:
Molting is the process of shedding and renewing its feathers. During the molt the reproductive system of the bird is allowed a complete rest from laying and the bird builds up its body reserves of nutrients. It is a natural process, designed to maintain the birds' ability to escape enemies by flight( strong new feathers) and to provide greater protection against cold winter conditions. In most breeds the molt occurs once per year but can actually happen twice in the same year. The molt can last from 3 months and occasionally for up to 5 months depending on the condition of the bird at the start of molt. A good tonic added to the drinking water will help speed this along.
So, we're using molting as our working theory of our lack of eggs. We really don't have a clue if it's a correct theory, but we're going with it for now and we'll see what happens. Three months is a long time to keep these Gals if they aren't going to give us eggs since we don't keep them over the winter anyway. (They end up in our freezer somewhere around the start of December.)
Will we break the Laying Chickens Union strike and bring in scabs?
Stay tuned...who knew chickens could bring such drama to our lives?