when i asked whether i should light the chicken coop to maintain egg production in the winter, i received quite a range of answers. some folks said they didn’t get any eggs in the winter without supplemental lighting, others said their birds kept laying at about 30% of their summer production and still others said their birds kept laying at 70% of summer production without light. i should add that several folks responded that i shouldn’t light the coop in the winter since there is no reason to “burn out” backyard birds since we’re obviously doing this for love and not money.
i certainly have no interest in burning out the birds and even though i’m guessing that we’ll still get enough production in the winter to yield a few dozen eggs a week without supplemental lighting, i decided to run dedicated electrical to the coop for a variety of reasons. regarding supplemental lighting, i think we’ll turn on a light in the morning for a few hours, not so much to drive production as to try and get them all to lay before we leave for work in the morning so we can collect eggs before they freeze ( supposedly most of The Girls will lay within a few hours of “daybreak” ). and even if we weren’t turning a light on, we’ll still want electric service to power a warmer to keep their water from freezing and for running a heat lamp on the coldest days of winter. and, of course, it will always be nice to be able to turn on a light when i’m shoveling out a path to the coop in the dark after the inevitable snowstorms that will come this winter.
in keeping with their new interest in me and my activities since The Dude Who Looked Like A Lady left, The Girls were more than happy to inspect my work and cluck approvingly from the compost bin while i dug the trench for the electrical line.
now that they have electrical service and a strong wifi signal from the house, i wonder if i should put a laptop in the coop so they can send me a tweet when they lay an egg.
turns out, The Girls, love, love, love the strawberry patch. it’s pretty darned cute to watch them race – and i do mean race – over to the patch when we let them roam free in the yard.
unfortunately they’re going to be pretty bummed when we mow over the strawberries this weekend.
it’s hard to believe the harvest is done and it’s already time to prep for next year.
one of our favorite books is “the growing story” where a boy learns that he is growing right along with his dog and chickens.
we’re living that story as odin grows right along with his new chicks.
they’re all growing too fast!
while the chicks can still fit in the palm of my hand ( just like odin once did ), at this rate it won’t be too many weeks before they to are too big!
over the next few weeks we’ll take a little time to get our new baby chicks used to us. odin has been feeding them a lot so they like him best 🙂
this is a black australorp.
and this is an ameraucana, known for laying colorful bluish green shelled eggs.
this is a fine, fluffy light brahma.
and a shot of our other ameraucana.
no shots of our buff orpingtons this time around, but i’m sure you’ll see them in the future 🙂
we’ve been talking about getting chickens for quite some time, partly for fresh eggs ( although there is certainly no shortage of farm-fresh organic eggs in the area ) and partly to have fun with odin learning about where food comes from – know your farmer, know your food! caring for chickens and collecting eggs is nothing new to odin since he’s lucky enough to go to a school that has a couple of birds right on the school grounds.
so after years of talking, we finally went out to chett’s feed and seed and bought some chicks! two ameraucanas ( they lay blue-green shelled eggs ), two australorps, two orpingtons and one light brahma. if all goes as planned we’ll pick up a couple of barred rocks soon.
for the next 5 weeks or so, they’ll stay in a brooder under a heat lamp as slowly ween them from a toasty 95F to ambient temperature.
odin quickly took to letting the chicks smell his hands and soon they were eating away from them.
he’s going to make a fine egg farmer.