December Hens

Our hens aren’t laying.

It is cold, and dark, and they need daylight for egg production.

So we rigged up a light a week ago that comes on early in the morning to extend the light to closer to the 14 hours they need.

Still no eggs. But I’m hoping every day.

Last year we got our first eggs from this group of hens on Christmas Eve. I dare to dream that they are soaking up the light with the plan to fill the nesting box in less than two weeks.

Never has a chicken so resembled a teapot in its cozy!

This happy and warm chicken lives at Shelburne Farms in northern Vermont.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Emily-Jane
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 09:28:13

    How fantastic to live on a farm. I think you are so lucky. I’ve been thinking about the possiblitiy of getting a house with some land after my last son graduates high school in 5 years. I’d love to get a couple donkeys, lol…I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. I just ordered some books off Amazon-one called Barnheart about a woman who doesn’t know anything about farming, but despite all that, is determined to have a little farm of her own and make it work. I am going to read that for inspiration. Jon Katz from Bedlam Farm inspires me, too. I want that kind of bucolic life.
    I hope you get your eggs. Maybe you should sing to them, or put a little gentle music in the henhouse? Just a thought from a non farmer. It would work for me if I were a chicken. 🙂 Especially if it was Frank Sinatra.

    Reply

  2. vtbee
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 11:53:18

    your pic of the henhouse is gorgeous! and i love the cozy chicken!! hope YOU are staying cozy with a big mug of hot christmas tea. xoxo

    Reply

  3. Dona
    Jan 09, 2012 @ 15:48:19

    Did you know that chickens molt & will stop laying during that time? We have 4 barred rock hens that recently stopped laying back in November with no eggs for about a month. They have just recently started up again. They are free-range during the day & cooped at night but the only light they get is natural light during the day so I’m not sure about them needing a certain number of hrs of light in order to lay. But maybe it is different for different breeds of chickens.

    Reply

    • 129twigandvine
      Jan 09, 2012 @ 16:10:54

      Thanks, Dona! I did wonder if they were molting, but no visible loss of feathers. The good news is that they did begin to lay again after we added the light, and on Christmas Eve no less!! We are back in eggs again and I am remiss in writing an update here on the blog. With daylight only between 7 am and 4:45 the lightbulb on the timer makes a big difference, but already we’re seeing more light in the evenings. Soon we can turn out the light and let nature do its thing. Warmly, Sue

      Reply

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