Low Egg Production in The Summer Months

As the scorching sun embraces us during these summer days, you might have noticed that our lovely hens seem to be taking a little break from their egg-laying duties. Lower egg production is not a cause to worry, it’s a natural phenomenon during this time of year and here is why:

πŸ”₯ Heat Stress: Just like us, chickens can feel the heat too! When temperatures rise, they experience heat stress, which affects their overall health and well-being. When hens get overheated, they divert their energy away from egg production to cope with the heat. Remember, keeping them cool and providing enough shade is essential to keep the egg-laying production going! πŸŒΏπŸ’§

🌑️ Hormonal Changes: The longer daylight hours in summer can lead to hormonal fluctuations in our feathered friends. Chickens rely on specific light patterns to regulate their egg-laying cycle, and extended daylight might cause temporary disruptions in their reproductive systems. So, fewer eggs during these months are just part of their natural response to the changing season. πŸŒžπŸ•°οΈ

πŸ‰ Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Just like hydration and proper nutrition are vital for us during hot weather, they are equally important for our chickens! Providing fresh water and nutrient-rich feed helps maintain their health and may encourage them to lay more eggs once the heat subsides. πŸ—πŸ‰

πŸ’› Give Them TLC: Our hens are the heart of our flock, and during these warmer months, they deserve a little extra tender loving care. Frequent checks, a clean coop, and a relaxing environment can go a long way in keeping them happy and reducing the impact of heat stress on their egg-laying abilities. πŸ‘πŸ’•

So, while our egg baskets might be a bit lighter during the summer, let’s embrace this natural cycle and focus on keeping our chickens comfortable and content. They’ll surely reward us with more gorgeous eggs once the cooler breeze of autumn arrives! πŸ‚πŸ“

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Recognizing and Caring for a Broody Hen in Hot Weather: Essential Tips for Poultry Keepers

Recognizing and Caring for a Broody Hen in Hot Weather: Essential Tips for Poultry Keepers

Broody hens play a vital role in natural poultry reproduction, exhibiting a strong maternal instinct and a desire to hatch eggs. However, when the hot summer months arrive, broody hens can face unique challenges that require special attention from poultry keepers. In this blog post, we will guide you on how to recognize a broody hen and provide essential tips to help keep her comfortable and healthy during hot weather conditions. By understanding their behavior and implementing appropriate care, you can ensure the well-being of your broody hens and increase their chances of successful hatching.

  1. Identifying a Broody Hen: Broody hens display distinct behaviors and physical signs that indicate their broodiness. Look for the following signs to identify a broody hen: a. Persistent Nesting: A broody hen will spend a significant amount of time in the nest, refusing to leave even for feeding or drinking. b. Defensive Nature: When approached, broody hens become protective and may peck or growl. c. Puffed Feathers: Broody hens fluff up their feathers to create an insulating layer around the eggs. d. Clucking Sounds: They emit low, rhythmic clucking sounds to communicate with their unhatched chicks.
  2. Understanding the Risks of Hot Weather: Hot weather can pose serious risks to broody hens due to increased heat stress. It is crucial to recognize these risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them: a. Dehydration: Broody hens may forget to leave the nest for water, leading to dehydration. b. Heat Stroke: Overexposure to heat can cause heat stroke, leading to lethargy, panting, and potentially fatal consequences if not addressed promptly.
  3. Creating a Comfortable Environment: To support your broody hen during hot weather, consider the following measures to maintain a comfortable environment: a. Relocate the Nest: Move the nest to a well-ventilated, shaded area to provide relief from direct sunlight. b. Provide Fresh Water: Place a water source near the nesting area to encourage the broody hen to drink and stay hydrated. c. Natural Cooling Methods: Use techniques like misting or placing a shallow pan of cool water nearby to help lower the ambient temperature. d. Proper Ventilation: Ensure that the coop or nesting area has proper ventilation to allow fresh air circulation. e. Bedding Considerations: Use cool bedding materials such as straw or wood shavings that do not retain excessive heat.
  4. Nutritional Considerations: During broodiness, hens may reduce their food intake. To maintain their health and minimize the effects of heat, consider the following nutritional aspects: a. Balanced Diet: Provide a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet to support the hen’s overall health and egg development. b. Cooling Treats: Offer chilled fruits and vegetables as treats, such as watermelon or cucumbers, to help cool the hen from the inside.
  5. Encouraging Regular Breaks: It is essential to encourage broody hens to leave the nest periodically to maintain their well-being: a. Gentle Disturbance: Gently lift the hen from the nest once a day, encouraging her to stretch, eat, drink, and relieve herself. b. Limited Time Outside: Allow the hen to take short breaks, around 15-30 minutes, before returning to her nest.
  6. Monitoring Health and Behavior: Regularly observe your broody hen for any signs of distress or health issues, such as heavy panting, loss of appetite, or decreased activity. If you notice any abnormalities, consult a veterinarian with poultry expertise.

Recognizing a broody hen and understanding how to care for her during hot weather conditions is crucial for the successful hatching of eggs and the overall well-being of your poultry. By providing a comfortable environment, promoting hydration, and monitoring their health, you can help ensure that your broody hens thrive even in the summer heat. Remember, your attentive care and understanding will contribute to healthy hens and the future generation of your flock.

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Ecological Wonders of French Black Copper Marans Chickens!

πŸ” Discover the Ecological Wonders of French Black Copper Marans Chickens! πŸŒŽπŸ’š

🌱 Did you know that raising French Black Copper Marans chickens not only brings joy to your backyard but also provides numerous ecological benefits? These remarkable birds are more than just beautiful feathered friends; they contribute to a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Let’s explore the amazing ecological advantages of having French Black Copper Marans chickens in your flock:

1️⃣ Soil Health Champions: These chickens are excellent foragers and natural pest controllers. They love to scratch and peck, which helps aerate the soil and control harmful insects like slugs and snails. With their constant scratching, they assist in maintaining a healthy balance in your garden ecosystem.

2️⃣ Fertilizer Factories: French Black Copper Marans produce nutrient-rich manure that can be used as organic fertilizer. Their droppings are high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for promoting healthy plant growth. With their help, you can cultivate a thriving garden without relying on synthetic fertilizers.

3️⃣ Composting Companions: Chicken manure, combined with bedding material like straw or wood shavings, makes excellent compost. By integrating their waste into your composting system, you create nutrient-dense soil amendments that enhance the fertility and sustainability of your garden.

4️⃣ Sustainable Eggs: French Black Copper Marans are renowned for their dark chocolate-colored eggs. By raising these chickens, you can enjoy delicious and nutritious homegrown eggs while reducing your reliance on store-bought options. It’s a sustainable choice that supports local food production and minimizes your carbon footprint.

5️⃣ Conservation Guardians: French Black Copper Marans are a heritage breed with historical significance. By raising and preserving these chickens, you actively contribute to the conservation of genetic diversity and protect them from endangerment. Your efforts help maintain the heritage and cultural value associated with these beautiful birds.

6️⃣ Educational Opportunities: Owning French Black Copper Marans offers a unique educational experience, especially for children. By involving them in the care and observation of these chickens, you instill a sense of environmental stewardship, teaching them about sustainability, animal welfare, and the interconnectedness of ecosystems.

🌎 Embrace the ecological wonders of French Black Copper Marans chickens! These incredible creatures bring sustainability, natural pest control, and educational benefits to your backyard. Join the movement towards a greener lifestyle and experience the joy of being an eco-conscious chicken enthusiast! πŸ”πŸ’š #FrenchBlackCopperMarans #EcoChickens #SustainableLiving #BackyardChickens 🌿🌱

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10 Essential Tips to Keep Your Chickens Cool During Hot Summers

As the high summer heat approaches, it’s crucial to ensure the well-being of your backyard chickens. Extreme temperatures can cause stress, dehydration, and even fatalities among these feathered friends. To keep your chickens healthy, happy, and productive during the summer months, it’s important to implement effective cooling strategies. In this post, we’ll share ten essential tips to help you keep your chickens cool and comfortable throughout the hottest days of the year.

  1. Provide Ample Shade: Creating shade is vital for your chickens to escape the direct sunlight. Erect shade cloths or tarps over their coop and run, ensuring adequate ventilation. Natural shade from trees and shrubs can also be utilized.
  2. Optimize Ventilation: Good airflow is essential to regulate temperature and reduce humidity. Install additional windows, vents, or fans in your chicken coop to improve ventilation. This will help circulate fresh air and prevent the buildup of heat and moisture.
  3. Offer Refreshing Water: Dehydration is a significant concern during hot weather. Ensure your chickens have access to clean, fresh water at all times. Consider using shallow containers or adding ice cubes to their water to help keep it cooler for longer.
  4. Employ Misters or Sprinklers: Misters or sprinkler systems can be a lifesaver during sweltering summers. Set up misting fans or sprinklers near the coop or run area to create a cooling effect. This helps lower the ambient temperature and provides relief to your chickens.
  5. Frozen Treats: Treat your chickens with frozen goodies to help them cool down. Freeze fruits like watermelon or berries, or make “chicken popsicles” by blending fruits and water, then freezing the mixture in ice cube trays. These treats offer hydration and a refreshing snack.
  6. Dust Baths: Dust baths are crucial for chickens to maintain their feather health, and they also help them stay cool. Provide a designated area filled with fine dust or sand where your chickens can roll and flap, ridding themselves of excess heat and pests.
  7. Adjust Feeding Schedule: During the hottest parts of the day, chickens tend to eat less. Adjust their feeding schedule to early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. This helps avoid the added metabolic heat generated by digestion.
  8. Optimize Coop Design: Ensure your chicken coop is designed to withstand hot weather. Use light-colored roofing materials to reflect sunlight, and insulate the coop to prevent heat transfer. Well-ventilated coops with proper insulation will provide a cooler environment for your chickens.
  9. Frozen Water Bottles: Place frozen water bottles in the coop or run area. Chickens can lean against or near the bottles to absorb the coldness, which provides them with a cooling effect.
  10. Monitor Behavior and Health: Keep a close eye on your chickens’ behavior and health during hot weather. Watch for signs of heat stress, such as panting, droopy wings, or reduced egg production. If you notice any concerning symptoms, take immediate action by implementing additional cooling methods or consulting a veterinarian.

Summer heat can pose serious risks to chickens, but with proper care and these ten essential tips, you can ensure your flock stays cool, healthy, and productive. By providing shade, optimizing ventilation, offering refreshing treats, and being vigilant about their well-being, you’ll create a comfortable and safe environment for your feathered friends to thrive during the hottest months of the year. Remember, a cool and contented chicken is a happy chicken!

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The Importance of Controlling Mites in Chicken Coops During the Summer Months

Summer is a time when chickens can enjoy the outdoors, bask in the sun, and forage for bugs and fresh greens. However, warmer temperatures also create favorable conditions for various pests, including mites. These tiny parasites can wreak havoc on your flock, causing discomfort, health issues, and decreased productivity. It is essential for poultry keepers to be proactive in controlling mites during the summer months to ensure the well-being and vitality of their feathered friends.

  1. Prevent Health Issues

Mites are not just an annoyance; they can pose serious health risks to chickens. They feed on the blood of the birds, causing irritation, itching, and feather loss. This can lead to stress, decreased egg production, anemia, and weakened immune systems. Furthermore, mite infestations create an environment conducive to the spread of diseases, as the parasites can serve as vectors for various pathogens. By controlling mites in your chicken coop during the summer months, you reduce the risk of health issues and maintain the overall vitality of your flock.

  1. Promote Comfort and Well-being

Chickens rely on their feathers to regulate body temperature and protect their skin. Mite infestations can compromise the integrity of their plumage, resulting in discomfort and stress. During the summer, when temperatures rise, chickens need their feathers to help them stay cool and prevent overheating. Mites not only disrupt the insulation properties of feathers but also cause itching and irritation, leading to a decreased ability to regulate body temperature effectively. By keeping mites under control, you ensure your chickens’ comfort and promote their overall well-being during the hot summer months.

  1. Preserve Egg Production

For many poultry keepers, maintaining consistent egg production is a top priority. Mite infestations can have a detrimental impact on egg-laying hens. The stress caused by the constant itching and blood loss from mite feeding can disrupt their reproductive cycles, leading to decreased egg production or even complete cessation. Additionally, mites can contaminate eggs, rendering them unmarketable or unsafe for consumption. By implementing effective mite control measures during the summer, you help safeguard the productivity of your flock and ensure a steady supply of fresh, healthy eggs.

  1. Prevent Infestation Spreading

Mite populations can multiply rapidly, and an unchecked infestation can quickly spread from one bird to the entire flock. During the summer, chickens may have more contact with each other, especially when they gather in shaded areas or seek relief from the heat. This increased proximity creates a higher risk of mite transmission. By actively controlling mites in your chicken coop, you prevent the infestation from spreading and minimize the impact on the entire flock. Early intervention is key to avoiding a larger-scale infestation that can be challenging and time-consuming to eradicate.

  1. Maintain a Clean and Hygienic Environment

Controlling mites in chicken coops goes hand in hand with maintaining a clean and hygienic environment. Mites thrive in dark, damp areas and can hide in crevices, cracks, and bedding material. Regular cleaning, including removing and replacing bedding, disinfecting surfaces, and inspecting nesting boxes, can help prevent mites from establishing a foothold in your coop. By implementing good husbandry practices and focusing on mite control, you create a healthier living space for your chickens and reduce the risk of other pests and diseases.

As the temperatures rise, mite populations can flourish in chicken coops, posing significant risks to your flock’s health and productivity. Proactively controlling mites during the summer months is crucial to prevent health issues, promote comfort, preserve egg production, and maintain a clean environment. Implementing effective mite

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A Beginner’s Guide: Common Mistakes First-Time Chicken Keepers Make and How to Avoid Them

Embarking on the journey of raising chickens can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, for first-time chicken keepers, there are common pitfalls that can be easily avoided with a little knowledge and preparation. In this guide, we will outline the most common mistakes made by beginners and provide helpful tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable chicken-keeping venture.

  1. Insufficient Research and Planning

One of the biggest mistakes first-time chicken keepers make is diving into chicken ownership without adequate research and planning. It is crucial to educate yourself about chicken breeds, housing requirements, feeding, and healthcare needs. Take the time to understand local regulations and restrictions, and ensure you have a suitable coop and run setup before bringing chickens home. By investing time in research and careful planning, you will set the foundation for a thriving flock.

  1. Overcrowding the Coop

New chicken owners often underestimate the space requirements for their flock. Overcrowding the coop can lead to stress, disease, and aggressive behavior among the chickens. To avoid this, provide a minimum of 4 square feet of space per chicken inside the coop and at least 10 square feet per chicken in the outdoor run area. Adequate space promotes healthier chickens and minimizes conflicts within the flock.

  1. Neglecting Proper Ventilation

Good ventilation is crucial for maintaining a healthy coop environment. Poor air circulation can lead to the buildup of ammonia from droppings, which can cause respiratory issues. Ensure your coop has proper ventilation through windows, vents, or screened openings. This allows fresh air to circulate while removing excess moisture and odors, creating a comfortable and safe environment for your chickens.

  1. Inadequate Predation Prevention

Predators pose a significant threat to backyard chickens. First-time keepers often overlook the importance of predator-proofing their coop and run. Secure the coop with sturdy hardware cloth, bury wire mesh around the perimeter to deter digging predators, and reinforce doors and windows. Regularly inspect your setup to identify any weak points that need strengthening. Taking these precautions will help safeguard your flock from potential predators.

  1. Improper Nutrition and Feeding Practices

A balanced and nutritious diet is vital for the health and productivity of your chickens. First-time keepers may make mistakes such as overfeeding, underfeeding, or providing an imbalanced diet. Consult a poultry nutrition guide or seek advice from local experts to determine the appropriate feed for your chickens based on their age and purpose (meat or egg production). Supplement their diet with fresh greens, grit, and clean water to ensure optimal nutrition.

  1. Neglecting Biosecurity Measures

Biosecurity is crucial to prevent the spread of diseases among your flock. First-time chicken keepers often overlook the importance of implementing biosecurity measures. Limit visitors to your flock, practice good hygiene by washing hands and changing footwear before entering the coop, and quarantine new birds before introducing them to your existing flock. These practices will help minimize the risk of disease transmission and maintain a healthy flock.

  1. Ignoring Regular Health Checks

Regular health checks are essential to detect any signs of illness or parasites early on. New chicken keepers may neglect this aspect, leading to delayed identification and treatment of health issues. Take time to observe your chickens’ behavior, check for abnormalities, and perform routine checks for external parasites such as mites or lice. Establish a relationship with a local avian veterinarian who can provide guidance and professional care when needed. Make sure to have simple veterinary tools on hand such as BluKote to protect injuries if they arise.

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New Coops For The Farm

The Making of an excellent chicken coop

In the past decade, our chicken coops have undergone significant improvements tailored to the specific needs of each breeding group. Admittedly, some of our earlier coops reflected our limited carpentry skills, but we’ve come a long way since then!

Over time, we have chosen to work with a local builder who customizes the coops to our precise requirements, taking into account factors such as climate, predation levels, and environmental considerations for our hens. Just this week, we added two new coops to our farm, and we couldn’t be happier with their appearance and functionality.

The coop design we prefer is showcased in the accompanying photos. To move the coops between pastures and ensure fresh grass for our flocks, we utilize our small Kubota Tractor, equipped with special forks that securely attach to the bucket.

Here are the features we prioritize for our farm:

  1. Elevated Coops: Our coops are raised off the ground to prevent predators from digging underneath. This elevation also offers a shaded area for the hens to escape the heat on scorching days, while providing a safe haven from aerial predators like hawks.
  2. Dual-Sided Nesting Boxes: We favor coops that have nesting boxes on both sides. While hens often prefer to lay eggs in the same box, having multiple options allows for flexibility. Additionally, external access to the nesting boxes enables convenient egg collection.
  3. Convenient Cleanout Door: A spacious cleanout door positioned in the front middle of the coop facilitates easy bedding replacement and general cleaning.
  4. Solid Plywood Flooring: Our coops feature solid plywood floors for effortless cleaning. While some people opt for wire bottoms, we have found that plywood floors offer better sanitation in the long run.
  5. Ample Cross Ventilation: To ensure comfort during hot summer months, we prioritize ample cross ventilation in our coop design, allowing for proper airflow and cooling.
  6. Adore Store Auto Door: We highly recommend the Adore Store auto door, which we believe to be the best available in the United States. After trying various options, these doors have proven to be durable and reliable over time. Using rechargeable batteries instead of single-use ones is not only environmentally friendly but also ensures excellent performance.

By incorporating these features into our coop designs, we have created a safe and comfortable environment for our chickens, while also streamlining maintenance and providing optimal conditions for their well-being.

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How Big Should My Chicken Coop And Run Be?

How Big Should a Chicken Coop and Run Be for a Flock of Chickens?

If you’re planning to raise chickens, it’s essential to provide them with a comfortable and safe living space. One crucial aspect of this is determining the appropriate size for your chicken coop and run. In this article, we’ll explore the factors you should consider and the recommended sizes for a chicken coop and run for a flock of chickens.

Factors to Consider

Before you determine the size of your chicken coop and run, you should consider the following factors:

  1. The Size of Your Flock: The size of your chicken coop and run will depend on the number of chickens you plan to keep. Generally, it’s recommended to provide at least 2-3 square feet of floor space per bird in the coop and 8-10 square feet of space per bird in the run.You can of course expand this space, the more the better to reduce flock stress and keep immunity and health high!
  2. The Breed of Chickens: Different chicken breeds have different space requirements. For example, larger breeds like Orpingtons and Wyandottes will require more space than smaller breeds like Silkies or Bantams.
  3. The Climate in Your Area: The size of your chicken coop and run will also depend on the climate in your area. In colder climates, you may need a larger coop to keep your birds warm, while in warmer climates, you may need a larger run to provide shade and ventilation.

Recommended Sizes for a Chicken Coop

As mentioned earlier, it’s recommended to provide at least 2-3 square feet of floor space per bird in the coop. Here are some recommended coop sizes for a flock of six chickens:

  1. Minimum Coop Size: The absolute minimum size for a coop for six chickens is 12-18 square feet. This size will provide enough space for your birds to move around, but it’s not ideal for long-term living.
  2. Medium Coop Size: For a more comfortable living space, a coop size of 24-36 square feet is recommended. This size will provide ample space for your chickens to move around, stretch their wings, and engage in natural behaviors like scratching and dust bathing.
  3. Large Coop Size: If you want to give your chickens plenty of room to live, a coop size of 40-60 square feet is ideal. This size will provide plenty of space for your chickens to move around, and you can also add perches and nesting boxes for added comfort.

Recommended Sizes for a Chicken Run

For the chicken run, it’s recommended to provide at least 8-10 square feet of space per bird. Here are some recommended run sizes for a flock of six chickens:

  1. Minimum Run Size: The minimum run size for six chickens is 48-60 square feet. This size will provide enough space for your chickens to move around, but it’s not ideal for long-term living.
  2. Medium Run Size: For a more comfortable living space, a run size of 72-90 square feet is recommended. This size will provide ample space for your chickens to move around, and you can also add grass, plants, and other natural elements for added enrichment.
  3. Large Run Size: If you want to give your chickens plenty of room to roam, a run size of 120-150 square feet is ideal. This size will provide plenty of space for your chickens to exercise, forage, and engage in natural behaviors.
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Chickens and Compost

Your Chickens Can Be Amazing Ecological Allies
What do we mean by that? Well, we all know the natural world faces a whole host of issues. Sometimes the scope and scale of it all can be overwhelming. We FEEL you, we have been there. These days instead of being paralyzed by how bad things seem we put our life force and energy into what positive things we can do and slowly we have seen amazing changes take place over time in our lives and business. You can join us right now with one simple straight forward solution to a problem.
Problem: food waste going into the landfill and taking space while creating methane and other green houses gases.
Solution: Get yourself a little countertop compost container (it has a charcoal filter so no smell will be present) and feed
your kitchen/meal scraps to your chickens. Viola, your trash suddenly becomes food for the flock and richer eggs for you!
Interested in composting? For food waste we do not feed to our chickens (like banana peels, avocado pits, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, ect.) we use this under the counter container. We just put it on the door under our sink and take it out to the compost pile each time we bring the food scraps to the flocks. Easy peasy! We like to put our non chicken food scraps in our compost pile along with the spent bedding from our brooders and coops. The straw and eco flake we use are excellent sources of carbon, the chicken droppings are excellent nitrogen and the food waste balances it all out. If you cannot have a compost pile and live in an urban setting, this type of waste can be put in a yard waste bin the trash company collects. They will turn it into soil for you!
Pro tip: to prevent attracting rodents, feed your flocks the chicken safe food scraps in the late morning or mid day so they have plenty of time to devour the days treats before sunset when rodents like to travel.
With all of that lovely compost it will be time to start a garden! Before you know it, the few birds you brought into your life will quietly invite you to a whole new lifestyle. More time outside, more time closer to the land and your food sources. It is a beautiful thing!
Our Farm/Hatchery Commitment to a Healthy Planet
Taking care of the natural world has been the forefront of our mission as a family, farm, hatchery and business. In 2019 we were able to go 100% plastic free in all of our shipments. In 2020 we went zero waste and in 2020 we erected a giant solar array in our pastures so now every chick is hatched by the power of the sun.
We recognize that shipping chicks nationwide has a carbon cost to it. To offset in a real way, in 2020 we began to support the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica. Their story is nothing short of incredible (it was started by elementary aged school children) and they are an organization worth supporting. The acreage of rainforest they protect and slowly expand are the very lungs of our planet. The air we breathe is all one, supporting our rainforests allows us all to breathe richly and deeply! A portion of every single purchase you make through us directly supports them, thank you for allowing us to do that. πŸ™‚
Farm Update
We are still hatching chicks weekly and offering them for local pickup as well as shipping. Nationally, the weather is beginning to warmup for those that have been experiencing long sustained winters. We can finally get chicks sent your way, yay! Many of you have asked about fertile hatching eggs. Back in January of this year we opened sales and they sold out swiftly for 2023. We will be shipping our first round of eggs this week for those of you who did place an order. At this time we do not anticipate having eggs available again in 2023 but if we do open sales again we will let you all know via this newsletter.
Happy Earth Day weekend everyone!
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When do chickens start laying eggs

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs?

If you are thinking about getting chickens, or have some growing up currently; you may be wondering when they will start laying eggs. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the breed of chicken, the age of the chicken, time of year and the environment in which the chicken is raised.

In general, most chickens start laying eggs at around 18 weeks of age. However, some breeds of chickens, such as Leghorns, may start laying eggs as early as 16 weeks of age. Other breeds, such as German Bielefelder, may not start laying eggs until they are 20 weeks old or older.

The age at which a chicken starts laying eggs is also affected by the environment in which the chicken is raised. Chickens that are raised in a warm, sunny environment will typically start laying eggs sooner than chickens that are raised in a cold, dark environment. This is in part because chickens need at least 14 hours of sunlight to start laying reliably. That triggers a part of their brain to know that it is spring going into summer. The days are longer, they can forage for food longer to keep their protein sources up for solid egg production and they are not expending extra energy trying to keep warm.

If you are eager to get your chickens laying eggs, there are a few things you can do to help them along. First, make sure that you are feeding your chickens a high-quality layer feed. This will provide them with the nutrients they need to produce eggs. Second, make sure that your chickens have plenty of access to fresh water. Third, make sure that your chickens have a comfortable place to lay their eggs. A nesting box with soft bedding will be ideal. If you are past 20 weeks and have not seen eggs yet there is always a chance your ladies are hiding their eggs somewhere in the barnyard. A REAL Easter egg hunt may yield the secret stash of eggs.

With a little patience and care, you will soon be enjoying fresh, delicious eggs from your own backyard chickens. Remember that the ladies will naturally slow down and often times stop laying all together in the late fall and winter because of the cold and lack of daylight hours. Some folks use supplemental lighting to make the ladies lay again. While this does work, it does not give the hens their natural winter break and in the long run it will shorten the life of the hens.

Here are some additional tips to help your chickens start laying eggs sooner:

  • Keep them in a warm, dry environment.
  • Feed them a high-quality layer feed.
  • Make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.
  • Provide them with a clean, comfortable nesting box. Think cozy, safe vibes for the ladies to be able to relax.
  • Handle them gently and provide a calm safe feeling environment for them. Avoid needless chasing them around or causing them environmental stress.

There is nothing better than discovering a first laid egg from one of your girls, it truly feels like Christmas morning!

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