Backyard Chickens – No Eggs!
March 2, 2012
So here is the thing… I have been collecting only the best cooking scraps from our kitchen prioritising the peelings from things grown in the garden for the chickens. Each morning Cuddles and Punky lazily eat breakfast and determined what sort of mood they are going to be in for the day. After breakfast we go down to the chicken coop with our offering of gourmet goodies for Henny, Penny and Cocoa. They pounce and we watch, or Punky reaches in for a pat as they blissfully sift through the bounty. Next we open the nesting box lid to see if the first egg is there to collect and celebrate with a second breakfast.
Good food – one of the key requirements for chickens to commence laying eggs.
To re-cap … We got our backyard chickens at the start of January. Cocoa joined Henny and Penny 5 weeks later and after some initial traumatic bullying issues they are all friends now.
When we picked up Henny and Penny the “chicken lady” told us that they were 6 week off laying. Mr Fresh heard the same thing as I did – they are 6 weeks off laying eggs and will lay 1 egg a day each with one day off a week (will they rotate their days off or have the same day off? Hmmm I will let you know).
Every day the nesting box is empty – except one day I opened it and I jumped and got so excited, there was a perfect little egg in the box. Too perfect, it took me a few seconds to realise Mr Fresh had played a trick. He put Punky’s plastic “cooking” egg in the box.
Anyway – At the 8 week point I phoned the “Chicken Lady” to say – “Excuse me Chicken Lady, we have no eggs, it has been more than 6 weeks -what is going on? ”
Her mum took the call and offered to answer my questions. She told me that I must have misheard. The chickens will not lay any eggs until they are 21 – 24 weeks old and at this time of the year they start to shed their feathers and will not lay regardless of how old they are. We got the chickens at about 6-7 weeks old. She said I must have heard the statement ” they are 6 weeks off laying” instead of they are “6 weeks old” hmmmm – NO I did not. I also trusted the word of the Chicken Lady and did not do much research to realise the error…
Henny, Penny and Cocoa have now developed gourmat taste buds because of the produce I have been using to temp them into laying some gooey golden eggs. What will happen in winter when my produce supply slows to a trickle and they are starting to lay eggs?
Time to do some research I think. I am not sure why I did not do so in the beginning…..It is called being too busy and trying to do too many things.
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