February 9th, 2008



To interested parties: Walkabout continues strong, full of herself. Sometimes I think she's the healthiest one in the remaining flock of seven. When let out, she is the one that walks in the house to demand a handout. Walked right around me the other day as I stood at the open door. Still hasn't pooped in the house, thank goodness. Can't say the same for the extremely geriatric dog.

Egg production is way down. I think we manage about 2 dozen a week now, maybe less. This is way down from the 4 dozen we used to get with 12 girls at peak production that first summer and fall. Shells are often thin and mottled. While the Dude thought his reading indicated this meant they were old, a quick check of the book suggests either respiratory disease or lack of calcium. And while the drop in production is expected past 2 years of age, light plays an important role. And guess what? I've been slacking. I don't let them out (turn their light on) before 10 am. Not exactly the 15 hours a day of light they recommend. More like 8 hours.

So I'm resolving to get their light turned on by 8 am from here on, earlier if Miss E gets in gear for school. (The book suggests using a timer and wouldn't that be heaven?) Two more hours a day should help production. Being in the coop less should help disease. Disease is probably why we lost another one so soon. Two girls down this winter from "natural" causes. And I'm going to add more limestone to their mixture. The feed store said the layer feed had enough, but it doesn't seem like it to me. Worth a try.

Meanwhile, the Dude will sign us up for another 12 hens today. No, wait. I already blogged that. Well, it's exciting news as far as I'm concerned. Eggs, lots of eggs. Eggs to sell at work, eggs to sell to neighbors, egg money for E if she will do some of the chores associated with the hens.

And now, back to my creative writing time. The clock be ticking.

Frog Out

Edited to Add:
March 17th!
Either the chickens will be green or in another 4 weeks after that, their eggs will be.