ever since The Dude Who Looked Like a Lady left for a nice home in the country, The Girls have totally taken a liking to me. while they used be so skittish around me i found it hard to believe anyone could have a career in poultry portraiture, nowadays they’ll follow me around the yard and curiously check out whatever i’m doing.
which is all well and fine, except when it involves jumping up on the chopping blocks when i want to split some sauna wood! or maybe this barred rock has a death wish now that her man left.
more seriously, it makes me wonder how flock dynamics change when a rooster leaves. i assume they have to re-establish their pecking order but we haven’t seen any signs of conflict. but do they also become friendlier and more outgoing without a rooster to keep them in check?
The Girls are rapidly approaching The Age of Egg Laying at the same time the days are getting shorter and shorter. most poultry resources claim that a good “rule of thumb” is hens should get about 14-16 hours of light a day to maximize egg production, which in the upper midwest means you have to supply supplemental lighting. but i’m not necessarily interested in maximizing production. i’ll take decreased production as long as we can get at least dozen eggs a week in the winter.
i’ve found anectodes online from folks who claim all our breeds ( buff orpingtons, black australorp, americauna, barred rocks, light brahma ) will continue to produce in winter – e.g. “Will Buff Orpingtons lay in the winter??”.
so, do we need add supplemental light to get them to start laying? to keep laying?
we’re leaving on vacation and we have A Chicken Sitter to watch after The Girls.
hopefully we have as many chickens when we get home as we did when we left!