So for over 3 years now I've had chickens who give me eggs. Very large, brown eggs. They've helped reduce my food bill for quite a while.
Twice a year, chickens will moult and loose feather, growing new ones. They do this during the spring and fall. Most times when they do this (beside
looking rather scary looking) they will drop in their egg production, even stopping all together.
During the winter, most chickens will also reduce the amount of eggs they lay. This is mainly due to the less amount of day light during the winter,
especially in the more northern latitudes.
This past fall, my girls started their moulting and stopped laying, but once they were done, they never went back to laying. All winter I've had no
eggs from them, which was unusual, and I started to think that they were done. Chickens will only lay eggs for a finite amount of time (around 5 or 6
years). My birds were only 3 years old so it was puzzling.
The feed store ran out of my favorite layered pellets I give them (22% protein) and were not expecting a new shipment of over a month. So I took to
feeding them dried cat food.
The dried cat food is chock full of protein and the chickens love it. The main reason you do not feed them this all the time is: Cost. Cat food cost a
LOT more than chicken feed.
But, it certainly helped bring out their feathers and the colors in their feathers:
I was also hoping it might boost them into egg laying again, because I really could not understand why they were not laying anymore. They are just too
young to no longer be laying.
Weeellllll, turns out they were hiding the eggs from me. Which is funny because they do not brood (sit on) their eggs. These are Cinnamon Queens
(colored sex linked) and Golden Laced Wyandottes. They don't brood. You want chicks, you have to get the eggs quick and keep them under a heat lamp
But yesterday, as we were getting ready to go into town, my wife noticed one of the hens coming out of our wild black berry patch, and sure enough,
she saw a pile of eggs there!
I took this picture this morning:
There were 3 other places in that patch they were laying the eggs. Getting them out is NOT fun. The thorns on the black berries SUCK.
Our rooster, Nugget was not happy with me messing with the eggs:
He's got some VERY long and sharp spurs, and he came at me:
I had to remind him that I'm a lot bigger than him, still he wasn't about to back down, hehehe.
Anyways, got the eggs inside now, cleaned up and now I need to water test them (bad eggs float, good eggs don't), as I don't know how long some of
these have been sitting out there.
But at least now I know where they've been hiding the eggs and can keep an eye out for more.......unless they decided to find a new place to hide