Surprisingly Cold!

I’ve decided the ladies are fair weather girls. I’ve also decided their coop must be the Tajmahal because when the weather isn’t perfect they would rather stay inside! Maybe we need to spend less time cleaning it? Make it less hospitable?
Ladies, it’s important for you to get outside in the winter. You need fresh air and exercise to lay eggs! We haven’t seen but a couple eggs a week this winter!  Get your act together!

During the last couple snow storms we didn’t let them outside because it was frostbite weather. When it finally stopped snowing, we shoveled the snow out of the way and opened their door. They came storming out with excitement until they came to edge of the snow, and then turned around and went right back inside!

Ladies, ladies! Sitting in the coop all winter is only going to fatten you up and make you look delicious! And if you aren’t laying eggs and looking tasty you may not be here much longer!

Watch the ladies reaction when they finally get outside after a couple days cooped up on this video from their YouTube Channel:

 

A Better Nesting Box

The hens have gotten bigger and more excited about laying eggs to the point they are tearing apart anything we put in the nesting boxes.I can’t tell you how much clean straw has been put into the boxes and then just as quickly kicked out on the floor. I put shelf liner in the bottom of the boxes to make it easy to keep clean, but they scratch it up, peck at it and try to shred it for more nesting material. I’ve even found pieces of shelf liner outside in the field! And it’s not just the hen in the box kicking straw out of the nest, it’s also the chicken next door wanting her nest to be bigger reaching her neck around to the neighbors nest and pulling one piece of straw at time out of the their box and tucking it into hers! Enough is enough! We’ve had too many cracked eggs from them being laid on the bare wood in a strawless nest box. 

Once again we set out to research the best alternatives. We found a wood based fiber glued down to a paper backing. It can be built into a nest but since it’s attached to the paper it can’t be kicked out on the floor or be stolen by the neighbor. The fiber with backing is matted down to start, so a chicken has to pull at the fibers to build a nest. Plus, with the paper liner at the bottom the wood isn’t getting dirty. When it gets real dirty you just throw it away and pop in a new one. Still cheaper than buying straw over and over again.

Now it was time to test out the new material. Of the 12 next boxes we replaced 10 of them with the new material. Then I sprinkled them all with some dried herbs to attract attention. The first 2 days we found all the eggs in the two straw boxes. After those 2 days the straw was pretty much gone, like usual. We finally started to find the fibers being slowly built into nests. We knew we made the successful transition when I walked into the coop and a hen started to sing the egg song, jumped out of a fiber nesting box, ran past me out the door and loudly announced “Bukah!” I just laid an egg in the best nesting box EVER!

 

Frozen Eggs

In the midst of the arctic freeze our brave little hens continued laying eggs! Out of 27 chickens were are still getting between 16 to 20 eggs a day! Much more than anyone I know whose chickens completely stopped laying a couple months ago. To keep the eggs from freezing we had to collect them about every hour. Luckily the coop is in the sun so on a normal day, it’s higher than freezing inside.

The girls tend to spend more time sitting on the eggs on cold days anyway. They don’t want to go outside! We’ve been lucky and only found 1 frozen egg since the hens started to lay. They basically crack like the picture above.

We added heating panels that help the coop stay just above freezing, even in the sub zero temperatures. It’s really made it possible not to have to depend on running outside to collect eggs every hour.

 

The Egg Song

first-egg-sale

Here is the first carton of eggs that we sold!  As you can see, the Araucanas that lay blue eggs are rockin’! Not only their eggs bigger, they are now starting to lay more per hen than the others!

The hens are no longer our girls, they are our ladies! And our ladies and giving us 15 eggs a day! If you are one of our customers, we are open for egg business!

When the ladies lay eggs they squawk like nothing you heard before. Some chicken fanatics call it the Egg Song. There is controversy as to whether the noise is from pain or an expression of their excitement.

Why don’t you tell me what you think!
Here is the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Wpfm-AbirxU

 

 

Strange Eggs

double-yolkIt’s been two weeks since the chickens started to lay eggs. Every one was perfect in every way and neatly laid inside a nesting box! I WAS very impressed with the ladies performance! Notice the word WAS. After a week of perfection we started to see some interesting things. First, I was getting ready to scramble up 3 eggs when 2 yolks fell out of one of the eggs! Interesting! Just so you know, this is not unusual, especially to young, first timers. There is nothing wrong with eating these eggs. They are perfectly fine.

Over the next couple days I found 3 other funny eggs from first egg hens.

The first one didn’t have a shell! It was just an egg white and yolk laying on the ground underneath the roosting bars.One of the girls must have surprised herself as it came out of her. A couple of the hens were pecking at it not sure what to think.

The second was also found on the floor under the roosts but this one had a shell. Unfortunately the shell was so thin it didn’t survive the fall.

The third was also a thin shell cracked that landed in the poop trays under the roosts.

That was almost a week ago and we have had nothing but perfect eggs since. Top that off with the number of eggs collected increasing by 1 egg a day. We are up to a dozen eggs a day already! They are still a little smaller than your typical large egg, but they are getting bigger and bigger.

We are so please with our little girls. So happy, healthy and laying like crazy. A little demanding when it comes to bringing them snacks every time we visit, but I guess they deserve it!