|Foster, one of our Americaunas as a baby chick|
|The Americaunas - Flo, Foster and Billie, Faye in back|
The egg production from my girls has slacked off more than normal even taking the shorter days into consideration so I’m leaning toward age as a cause. A couple of hens are molting so they are excused from laying for a few months. A molting chicken has to put all her energy into growing new feathers, not making eggs. Pilgrim, my Plymouth Barred Rock hen, is currently broody. Pilgrim prefers to sit on the nest than lay eggs, so she’s excused for now also. Once Pilgrim gets past this hormonal phase, she’ll go back to laying again.
|Kelsey with the Peeps|
I have a heater in the chicken coop for the cold winter nights which keeps the temperature above 35 degrees. I do this not for egg production, but to prevent my girls from getting frost bite on their combs and wattles. This year I may add a light. Egg production is definitely influenced by the amount of light exposure with the normal recommendation being at least 12 hours daily for maximum egg laying. I’ve noticed that if the weather is overcast and rainy, the following day’s egg production will be smaller. Likewise, sunny days yield more eggs.
Backyard breeds like mine are not expected to be major egg layers. My hens all look different and their eggs reflect their diversity; they can be small, large, white, blue-green, brown or freckled. I usually know each egg’s creator by name. I got the chickens for several reasons; pets, pest control, garden fertilizer and the most delicious, beautiful eggs. We don’t need a bunch of eggs, but it’s kind of special when your breakfast has been produced by someone you know personally.