Tips to Keep Hens Laying in Winter

Winter can be a slow time for chickens Some hens will take a permanent break from laying eggs, while a select few lay once or twice a week

It can be disappointing to have chickens at home, but still have to buy store-bought eggs in the winter I certainly know the shame of buying eggs at the grocery store, when I have over 25 hens at home! Please know, this is cyclical and all part of mother nature Our chickens have to maintain their body conditions in the cold, and contend with less sunlight Their energy goes into surviving, and

Nana’s Cornbread Chicken and Dressing

With turkey shortages on the rise this year, why not try a recipe with chicken instead?

Northerners make stuffing, Southerners make dressing

Although both are delicious, I may be a little biased towards the Southern classic Chicken dressing is actually a very popular Southern dish and is served all times of the year That being said, it is absolutely a Southern Thanksgiving staple! I hope y’all can give it a try this year!

Chickens specifically bred for meat production, such as Cornish Cross or Rudd Rangers work great for this recipe However, you don’t have to have a special breed At my

Making Up for Cold Weather Foraging

All spring and summer long, our flock takes care of us They give us tons of eggs on very little feed If you let your chickens out to free range everyday, you get even more “bang for your buck”

This all changes when cold weather sets in Our chickens need us now, more than ever, to take care of their dietary needs

 

While free-ranging during the warmer months, chickens easily fill their diet with everything they need Chickens are omnivores, meaning they need to consume both vegetable matter and protein Fresh grass and seeds are readily available in our yards during

Understanding the Autumn Molt

With the coming of autumn, leaves aren’t the only things falling

You may have noticed some of your flock members dropping feathers Every year, the sight of suddenly nearly naked chickens causes panic for new chicken owners

Birds, almost overnight, start looking like a strong wind came and left them stripped!

Although it seems alarming, chickens could naturally lose their feathers in autumn during their MOLT

A molt is the shedding of old feathers, to make way for new ones In the same way humans shed skin cells daily and reptiles and crustaceans shed their old skins, chickens molt out of their old

Why Chickens Slow Down Laying in the Fall

The long, warm days of summer are coming to a swift end Just as quickly, you may have noticed a sudden drop in your flock’s egg production!

Chickens will slow down laying during the fall for two reasons; less sunlight and the molt

In the world of chickens, less daylight equals less prolactin

Prolactin exists in most creatures and is a reproductive regulating hormone Prolactin is responsible for stimulating the ovulation cycle in a hen No one really knows why, but in our domestic chickens, prolactin levels decrease when days begin to have less than 12 hours of sunlight

Without a normal ovulation

The Old Hen

She’s beautiful A classic She has been a part of your flock for years and years There is just one problem; she’s growing old

When a hen who was once productive begins laying less eggs, eventually halting egg laying permanently, it can be very disappointing

Hens start laying their first eggs at around 6 months of age

Hens lay the most eggs in the first 2 years, with egg production slowly decreasing each year after age 3 On average, chickens live 8-10 years That means, there will most likely be several years your beloved hen will go on living without producing eggs

Egg

Hen Hierarchy

We’ve all heard of the old term: pecking order

The truth is, the pecking order is a very real thing in a flock of chickens Although it may seem brutal to us, establishing a pecking order, is inevitable if you have more than one chicken It establishes the leaders from the followers

All the way down the totem pole, each and every chicken has their place

The number one contributing factor in hen hierarchy is age

Age, not size, separates the bosses from the underdogs

One of my most assertive hens, happens to be the tiniest,

Benefits of Raising Children Around Livestock

In today’s culture, over sheltering and germophobia have become commonplace Parents cringe at the thought of their child picking up a beetle, or walking barefoot in the grass While caution and safety is very important, equally important is giving your child time outdoors Compelling research has recently been found to backup the positives of raising our children to have outdoor time and even to be around livestock Our great-grandparents who grew up on the farm, definitely knew a thing or two!

Generally More Healthy

Children raised around livestock are generally more healthy According to John Hopkins University, babies who were regularly

What is a Meat Spot?

Have you ever cracked open a farm fresh egg, only to find a strange little brown blob on it?

It is called a “meat spot,” and as off-putting as that name may sound, a meat spot is actually an indicator of freshness

 

A meat spot looks like an irregularly shaped brown/red speck It is always found inside the albumen, or white of the egg A meat spot does not indicate a fertilized egg Meat spots can and will occur in non-fertilized eggs The odd speck is a piece of tissue that accidentally attaches to the egg while being formed in the

Is Something Stealing My Eggs?

Have you ever suddenly experienced a drop in egg production?

While seasonal changes can often be to blame, sometimes the accuser can be a crafty predator or even one of your very own hens!

Extreme temperatures of late summer and mid-winter darkness can trigger a lapse in egg production Also, a hen’s feather molt in late fall can also be a reason she will lay less However, if one day you are getting lots of eggs, and the next you have almost none in the nesting box, you might have an outside culprit

If you are finding drastically less eggs, broken eggs