In my last post, I shared that the heritage breed hens here at 1840 Farm were deep into their annual molt cycle. A few weeks have passed, but not much has changed on that front. They are fewer feathers accumulating in the coop each day and the girls are beginning to look like their old selves again. Shiny, lustrous feathers have replaced the ragged, loose feathers that were present just a few weeks ago.
Yet, there are still no fresh eggs in the nest boxes. Each day, we tend to the hens and hope to find an egg in one of our dozen nest boxes. It’s been a full six weeks since they last left us an egg in the coop as reward for tending to their daily needs. I’m trying to wait patiently, but these truly are the times that try a chicken keeper’s soul.
The weather has turned colder, making the daily chores of chicken keeping a bit more difficult. The fact that this occurs just at the time that the flow of fresh eggs has come to a complete screeching halt seems like adding insult to injury. I certainly don’t look forward to the weeks on the calendar when I find myself purchasing both chicken feed and eggs.
I don’t begrudge our girls a break. I want them to be fully prepared for the long New England winter ahead. Yet, I must admit that when the weather turns cooler, I also find myself wanting to spend more time baking in our farmhouse kitchen. Baking means that those fresh eggs from our coop are sorely missed.
At this point, there’s not much that I can do other than continue to tend to our girls’ needs and wait for the day that we finally discover a beautiful brown egg waiting for us in the nest box and return to the farmhouse with an egg basket that isn’t empty. We will treat them to a few protein rich treats and wait for time to take its course.
I want to know how your hens are faring this fall. Are they molting? How long has your egg drought been going on? Do you have any special tips for tending to your flock during molting season? I hope that you’ll share the news from your coop with us in the comments below. I can’t wait to read about your chickens and your strategies for coping with the molt in your flock.
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