The weather is pretty bad at the moment which means the ladies are stuck in the secure run more where they’re sheltered from wind and rain. Choccy would only stay under the Eglu anyway but the three Charlie browns really don’t have the sense to come in from the rain.
What they lack in brains, they make up for in personality. They’re so sweet natured although they do have a tendency to peck at my check shirt. The other day I was putting corn in the run when one jumped straight onto my arm. That was just too cute!
The ladies are laying surprisingly well for the time of year. We actually had four eggs the other day which was a pleasant surprise. The next day we had one. I don’t track egg numbers, which I could easily enough. The reason is the way I look at the hens – these are pets with a benefit rather than livestock.
If I was selling eggs then I’d definitely track production and all the other costs. At the moment I really don’t want a business. I’ve more than enough demands on my time. Besides, the economics of chicken egg production are so tilted towards volume. I’ve played with the figures and the minimum that would possibly be viable as a micro-business is 500 birds. Not much when the commercial producers generally run between 25,000 and 50,000 hens.
Blood Spot Egg Problem
It’s not uncommon to get a little blood spot in an egg but the other day we cracked one where there was a lot of blood in the egg. The yolk had a red line across and the white was almost red. Happily it’s not happened again but a bit of a concern in case one of the hens has a serious problem inside.
Our eggs are normally a dark yellow yolk which is down to them getting plenty of green food. If they’re stuck in the secure run due to weather, I try to provide some greens. Dandelions, especially young ones, go down well and they just love chickweed. Lettuce, cabbage and microgreens get devoured.
Herbs can go down well but they really don’t like parsley. I tried some and they all took a peck and then ignored it completely. I’ve got to cut back our herb bed which is getting a bit wild, so I’ll dump the cuttings in the run and they can eat what they like and leave the rest for me to compost.
Sleeping in the nestbox
Choccy is being a bit of a pain at the moment. When we first had the hens I closed up the nestbox before bedtime and opened it the next morning. This stopped any sleeping and more importantly pooping in the nest box. Remember hens will produce more poop at night than in the day
Well Choccy has gone back to sleeping in the nestbox, which means either cleaning it out each day or dirty eggs. So when I take them their evening corn up I’m closing the box up. Then about an hour or so after dark I go back up and open the nestbox. She doesn’t move into it when she’s settled down for the night.
Automatic Door Opener
It’s a bit frustrating, I’ve got the automatic door opener which means I don’t have to head up to let the girls out at silly hours of the morning in summer and closes up at dusk whether we’re around or not. But at the moment I’m having to go up in the dark to open the nestbox for the morning. I know I could go up early but I’m not a morning person. Too many years of working evenings and nights to break the habit now.
I must say the Omlet door opener is a brilliant bit of kit. No pulley wheels to jam up, strings to break or just plain not working. Once the timing is set up, all you need to do is check the battery capacity each week as part of the cleaning routine.