Fresh Eggs Year Round

If you have been following my blog for a while now you may remember in this post from last spring I mentioned that we were adding to our flock with hopes that they would continue to provide us with fresh eggs through the winter. At that time we bought 12 chicks – 8 buff orpingtons and 4 black astralorps. When they were just a few days old one of the black astralorps became sick and died. We lost a second astralorp during the summer to some kind of predator, likely a hawk that carried it away, and we lost one of our young buffs due to an injury that wouldn’t heal. Thus we ended up adding 9 new layers to our flock.

I am happy to report that our plan has been a huge success. From December 1st through today our flock has provided an average of 7 eggs per day. Way more than my husband and I use.

Our current chicken count is 24. Here is the lineup –

  •  1 rooster and 23 hens
  • 2 of the hens will be 6 years old this coming spring (probably no longer laying)
  • 2 of the hens will be 4 years old this coming spring (probably laying few if any eggs)
  • 7 of the hens will be either 2 or 3 years old this spring ( we have had so many buff orpingtons it is hard to keep track of which ones we have lost) (should still be laying but maybe not as many as they once did).
  • 3 hens that will be two years old this coming spring (should be laying regularly)
  • 9 hens that will I year old this spring and just began laying late this past summer (laying regularly)

Having excess eggs has allowed us to continue to share them with family and friends. A couple days ago when we dropped some off for a neighbor he told us “these are the best eggs.” My husband replied “because we have happy chickens”.

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We keep happy chickens by allowing them to free range. They have plenty of room to spread out and peck and scratch and do what chickens love to do. Yes, there are risks involved and some times we lose chickens to predators, but thus far the rewards have far outweighed the risks.

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During the winter months it becomes more of a challenge to keep “happy chickens”. While we allow them access to the outdoors every day, when temperatures are bitter cold or there is snow on the ground the chickens seek protection from the elements.

This year my husband made them an additional sheltered area. He pulled our trailer near the chicken yard where it would be stored for the winter. After he blocked up the wheels to keep them off the ground, he  covered it with a large tarp. The tarp drapes over both sides all the way to the ground. He placed bricks on the tarp, both on the ground and on the trailer, to keep it from blowing in the wind.

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Underneath the trailer he spread straw and hay for the chickens to nestle in or scratch and peck through. He also places their food dish under the trailer each day.

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Thus far we have had an unseasonably warm winter and snow has been scarce, but on the days that we have had cold winds or snow, the chickens have taken advantage of this shelter rather than stay in the coop all day.

Do these look like happy chickens? 🙂

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “Fresh Eggs Year Round

  1. Great looking chickens Ruth!! Thank you for posting the pictures. I loved the post about them last spring and I’m so glad I’ve rejoined the blogging community in time to catch up with them….and you. I have a local lady that I get my eggs from and nothing beats farm fresh eggs.

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    1. Thanks Angela – I am glad you are back as well. Your last comment made me laugh because recently my husband made the comment “You can’t beat farm fresh eggs.” I replied “sure I can honey. I didn’t know you wanted scrambled.” LOL! 🙂

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  2. Oh, they’re beautiful! I wish we lived out in the country so that we could have livestock, but Ken keeps reminding me that I would worry about them too much when I was away for work! Maybe when we retire:-)

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    1. Thank you! Ken is probably right. I am not sure we could make this work if my husband and I both worked away from home. We may have chickens but they probably would free range like they do. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Kim. Snow really is the one thing that will keep our chickens inside. Usually the young ones will venture out in it but the older ones stay put. They have been lucky so far this winter because we have had very little snow – so far.

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  3. They do look happy – much happier than when you see the rows of chickens in cages and no room to move, just like the calves and pigs in their pens … they can’t turn around. Horrible. Your chickens are happy and probably lay more eggs. Did you hear the story of the roosters that were loose and the police were trying to capture them in Ferndale Ruth? There were four of them and the police were working hard to capture them and only did it when they cornered them – no one was hurt, the roosters, nor the police and one of the officers has a farm and they are staying with him now. The picture showed them running down the road. https://wwjnewsradio.radio.com/articles/ferndale-cops-wrangle-loose-roosters

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    1. Thanks for sharing that article Linda. I can imagine the “fun” they had trying to catch them. It’s the first time I have heard about people dumping roosters off to get rid of them but I can see why it happens – too many roosters in a flock do cause problems. They fight with each other and they tear up the hens as they are always wanting to mount them. Roosters will also go after people or dogs or anything that they think is threatening their flock. I have been spurred a couple of times. We have found that keeping only one rooster with our flock keeps everyone happy.

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      1. I think I remember either you or Kim of Red Dirt Farm writing about a rooster problem … I thought it was unusual too, but what I don’t understood … whether it is a rooster, or a cat or dog, if you decide you don’t want this feathered or furry critter, why not take it to a vet’s office or the Humane Society. The roosters got a good home eventually, if the policeman decided to keep them … hope they don’t all crow at the same time!

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      2. People are just irresponsible. It was just the easiest way to get rid of their problem. Doesn’t matter that they made it someone else’s problem. Roosters will sometimes have crowing competitions or talk back and forth through crowing. We often hear our rooster and our neighbors rooster doing this. One will crow then the other will crow in response – not sure what they are saying but they can go on and on for a while. Even if the policeman decides not to keep them they will likely become food for the family – better than letting them run in traffic or neighborhoods to wreak havoc.

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      3. Yes, people are so often thoughtless aren’t they Ruth. It makes me sad that people think so little of their own animals, or any animals sometimes. I didn’t realize they had crowing contests … that is interesting and I think they are real territorial aren’t they?

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    1. Some days we get 4 and other days we get 9. We actually have been recording how many we get each day so I was able to do the math to find out it is just over 7. I figure the ones who are laying probably are only laying about every 3 rd day. I am just thankful we haven’t had to buy eggs. 🙂

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  4. Love those chickens!!! I have 15 new girls and they are laying wonderfully this winter. My husband put a light bulb on a timer in their coop. It goes on at 4:30 in the morning so the girls get 12 hours of light. It really helps with keeping them laying all year.

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    1. I have read/heard that lighting the coop helps but since we don’t have electricity at the farm it really isn’t an option. It seems like our girls are laying every two to three days so just having enough chickens is working out well. The good news is the days are getting longer. Spring is on it’s way!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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    1. You should see them when we arrive at the farm and they come running with their wings flapping to see if we brought them a bucket of kitchen scraps or some popcorn. It always makes me laugh. Then they all gather around as we get out of the vehicle begging for whatever goodies we might have brought.

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    1. 🙂 I never realized the difference in the quality of eggs until we started raising chickens. If you can find a local farmer who raises free range or pastured chickens I would encourage you to do so. It would be worth the effort and extra price you might pay.

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