When the seasons change, so change my chickens' behavior. Right now is kind of tough, but we're working through it.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that I was only getting 2 eggs per day, instead of my typical 4-6. Of course, I started worrying. Are my chickens sick? Molting? Mad? Scared? After a few days I realized that as the days were growing shorter so was their outside time. They were waking later and sleeping earlier.
A chicken needs approximately 14 hours of light per day in order to maintain a near-daily laying cycle. Right now my area we are down to 10 hours and 41 minutes of daylight. That's not enough light for ample egg production, folks!
I have several options here. Since it's getting cooler, I can put both a heat lamp and a light in the coop. That simulates daylight, which will amp up their egg production. I can also leave nature as it is, and when the days start growing longer, know that I will have eggs again.
It's a tough decision! I love my eggs! I made a delicious quiche the other night...I love skillet egg salad boiled eggs...I love eggs. But I also love my chickens. Chickens are born with only a certain number of eggs they can lay. Once they're gone, that's it. So do I basically shorten their egg laying span, or do I let nature take its course?
For this week, it will be status quo. I'm not changing anything. However, if my surplus starts to run low, I may change my mind for a bit. What would you do?