we’ve been watching a few of the suspect roosters and it’s much more evident that probably three of our latest flock of six are probably roosters, which is a bit of drag because roosters in town are a no-no.
the prominent combs are a giveaway in addition to the fact that they are practicing cock-a-doodle-dooing.
update: a few weeks later.
we found a good home for them with someone who appreciates and can have roosters 🙂
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.
The Girls have discovered The Wonders of The Compost Bin which resides inside their chicken run around the coop. they very much enjoy the perfect mixture of worms and bugs and vegetable matter and egg shells.
my understanding is that you should prevent discourage hens from eating whole eggs because once they get a taste for them you’ll get a whole less eggs in your fridge.
but egg shells are a great source of calcium – are there any issues with letting them munch on the shells in the compost bin? should we crush them so they aren’t identifiable as eggs or are half shells not perceived as shells per se by little chicken brains?
and are there any other issues with letting The Girls hand out in the compost bin in general and eating egg shells in particular? i’ve seen some websites claim that you should thorougly clean the shells, cook them briefly in the oven and crumble thoroughly – is that really necessary?