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?
about 6 weeks after bringing The Girls Home we already began to suspect that one of our ameraucana hens was, in fact, a rooster as it was developing a comb and plucking feathers off hens necks. but it’s not unusual for a hen to develop rooster characteristics in a flock without male so we held out hope that She was not a He since neighbors might not be too keen on waking up to a cock-a-doodle-doo! at the crack of dawn.
about a month later “She” started attempting to crow but it was a mangled, pitiful attempt at a cock-a-doodle-doo! but we still held out hope that She was not a He since it’s not entirely unusual for a dominant hen to try to get her crow on.
at that point whether She was a He was a bit of an academic point in terms of of annoying neighbors but we still thought perhaps she was just testing her vocal chords and would eventually chill out.
but alas, two weeks later, The Dude Who Looked Like a Lady started unmistakably announcing the appearand of the morning sun with a full-blown-the-sun-is-rising-and-i-want-the-to-let-the-world-know-COCK-A-DOODLE-DOOOOOOOO!
so, with a touch of sadness, in the interest of maintaining good neighborly relations, we arranged to have him sent to a caring home in the country.
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!
why haven’t i taken more pictures of The Girls over the past 12 weeks? because it’s hard! they’re skittish and Highly Suspect of The Big Man With The Camera! i have come to believe that my nascent career poultry portraiture will never happen; i think the beautiful calendar hens must be stuffed or sedated. how else can you get them to sit still for 30 seconds?
perhaps i should learn a thing or two from odin, since he’s figured out that The Girls seem quite approacheable if you come bearing gifts of food.