It finally happened.
Three months after spending hundreds of dollars on building a coop. And after three months of painstakingly making sure my girls have the most wholesome, nutritional, non-GMO feed that doesn’t break the bank. And three months after two months of wondering why the heck I wasn’t getting any farm fresh eggs….
They went and did it.
Now, it is spotty in when we get those eggs. So far, we’ve gotten six since Wednesday. For all of you who are now saying “What the HECK! ONLY six? I thought they laid an egg a day!”
Typically, they do. But what we need to remember is that chickens don’t lay year round, though rows upon rows of egg cartons in our grocery stores would indicate otherwise. The truth is, we live in a world very much based around being convenient, not necessarily healthy. Those rows of eggs are achieved by mimicking an ideal laying environment. Hens need a minimum of 14 hours of daylight to lay. Commercially, hens are given supplemental laying to produce enough to cover consumer demand.
But this system isn’t natural for the hen.
Like all things in nature, eggs come in cycles. Eggs are truly a seasonal food. Hens lay the most in the spring and summer, with egg production slowing going into the fall months. Eventually, they’ll cease to lay and begin to molt. This natural cycle gives the bird a much needed respite, and allows the body to rest. Yes, your hens are going to look a bit strange during this molting time. Don’t worry — they’ll be back to their former glory soon!
During molting and the fall/winter months, you may typically get an egg or two per week, per hen. This isn’t, however, a given. Some will lay more, others less. All depends on your particular hens, nutritional, etc.
Our girls were acquired late into the summer, at an age of about 18 weeks. So they’re starting to late at a time where their egg production is already going down. I have to be honest, ya’ll–I’m a little thankful for it! I know, I know! Fresh eggs are amazing. Delectable. Scrumptious. They’re, in my humble opinion, healthier than what I can get at the grocery store. Not to mention, the taste! Oh, the taste. Infinitely better.
But. I am thankful because right now, life is a little hectic. And fresh eggs deserve delicious recipes to be cooked in. And right now, girlfriend ain’t gettin’ much cooking done. I’m using this time, instead, to gift others with “farm” fresh eggs. And reading up on some amazing recipes to try (stay tuned for those!).
I will say, though, having hens that are finally laying has given me such a shift in perspective. Before, they were really more of our pets. Funny looking little creatures, with big personalities, that entertained. Now, they serve a purpose. And while I still adore the girls, this is a homestead. Maybe a small one, but it is. The point of all this is to raise as much of our own food as possible. To raise quality food. To stop relying on a system I truly view as broken. This isn’t an easy endeavor, nor is it always going to be days like today, where everything is good and right. That’s just not realistic life on the farm. But right now, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the moment.
And these eggs, maybe. If I wasn’t running late. What else is new?