There was a nice surprise awaiting me when I arrived home yesterday. Taylor and Victoria painted the door to the chicken coop while I was gone. Doesn’t it look great?
What’s more, the CE is moving forward on plans to build a small deck in the chicken yard. Here is an outline:
The CE took very good care of the chickens while I was gone. They have now come to believe that daily free-ranging is an entitlement, and they complain mightily if we don’t open the gate to the pen on their command.
I stopped by the feed store on my way home yesterday to pick up a bag of laying feed for the girls. When I commented that they haven’t yet started to lay, the employees told me that it’s possible that we won’t get eggs until spring. SPRING!!!??? Actually, I knew this was a possibility from the beginning. When we had to postpone getting the chicks from April to June, I realized we would be right up against the edge of the seasons. Chickens go through a molt in early fall, which for our young pullets amounted only to a mild mess of feathers. After a molt, as the feed store employees put it, “they take a break from laying”. A break? How can they need a break if they haven’t laid anything yet?
The dual factors of a molt and the change of seasons – shorter, colder days of fall – some, perhaps even many, chickens stop thinking about egg-laying until spring. We still think that Hope is getting ready to lay – she has been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to make a “nest” of the paper towels that line the coop counters. Today I’m going to set up the nesting box counter with the same layering of newspapers, paper towels and pine shavings as we have on the other counters, and hope that makes the nesting boxes more attractive to her and her three eggless counterparts. Spring is a long, long ways away and far too long to wait for our first, fresh, organic, free-ranged eggs!