Anyone who has kept a backyard flock eventually faces a dilemma As hens age their egg laying slows Eventually it nearly stops There’s a point where the girls eat expensive feed yet hardly lay an egg How does a flock owner decide when to get rid of aging hens and what to do with them?
A Laying Scenario
A young pullet starts laying when she is 18 to 24 weeks old If she’s of a productive breed she’ll soon lay like fury It takes about 26 hours for an egg to form, so every once in a while, she’ll take a
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
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
Perhaps the greatest joy of keeping a small chicken flock happens when an egg hits the frying pan The bold orange yolk is as pleasant to the eye as it will soon be to the taste buds No grocery store egg can compare with it That egg followed an amazing journey before becoming human breakfast
Months earlier, folks at Hoover’s Hatchery collected hatching eggs from their numerous brooder flocks and trucked them to Rudd, Iowa, then gently tucked them into incubators On each egg’s yolk is a tiny cell with combined genes from the rooster that mated with the hen