Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coming Out of the Lull

Our egg numbers are up by some dozens, most likely due to the warm and sunny springlike days we enjoyed the past week. As our layers creep out from their winter hiatus, the longer days and fairer weather in spring will increase egg production. The photos below are chickens in a field of flowering cabbage plants. Our layers are a picky bunch, however, concentrating more on winter weeds than on the cabbage plants. Still, it's a great help to us. The green hills and pinkish white almond blossoms (as well as the aforementioned flowering brassicas) signal the approaching spring.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hen's Winter Tendencies

Our laying hens take a break in winter. Their egg production slows down due to cold temperatures and shorter day length. To the folks who enjoy purchasing eggs at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets, thank you for your patience while they take a break. Some poultry farms opt to install lights in the coops to extend the hen's perceived light hours and trigger steadier laying patterns. Since our mobile coops are located in remote fields away from power sources, we have not set up a lighting system to influence their egg productivity. After Winter Solstice, the day light hours gradually increase and the egg availability follows this change. Just this week our egg collection numbers went up. Rest assured, there will be enough eggs to satisfy the demand by early April. Our September arrivals of chicks are now mature enough to lay their first eggs. Laying hens typically start to lay eggs around six months. Their first eggs start out small and increase to full size about their eighth or ninth month. Happy egg eating!