Finally the last of my chicken started laying this week. Yesterday was the first time in many months that I got six eggs in a single day from my six hens. My last hold out was my “Easter Egger” who lays blue/green eggs. She has turned out to be one of my most light-sensitive layer I have had. This has put me in a quandary. This quandary brings to the forefront, a debate that I have each spring should I get new chicks and cull part of my flock this year.
My chicken breeds are carefully chosen to be cold hearty and good layers. Until this year my choices have served me well. In the shortest days eggs have gotten scarce, but this year as days got shorter I had six hens who decided all to moult at the same time. When chickens moult (lose their feathers) they don’t lay eggs. Moulting can take as little as 4 weeks or as more than 8 weeks. If you mix moulting and short days, well this winter we actually had to buy eggs!
Now spring and baby chick season is here. Since I elected not to mail order any chicks this year, I am at the mercy of what the local feed stores have. Feed store chicks start arriving this week, with the best selections arriving the last week of the month. So now my debate goes into to full swing. Is it time for some of these girls to go to freezer camp? Do I get a few new chicks and come fall keep the best of what I have? Hopefully the laying patterns of the next few weeks will make my decision for me.