Sunday, February 15, 2009
Beware the zombie chickens!
Remember, right about this time last year, when we had to break down and buy store eggs? Hah! No such thing this year!! Thanks to our Zombie Chickens!!!
No, seriously, our chickens are some weird, freaky, zombie type fowl.
Why do I think so? Well, most chickens go to roost when it gets dark, right? In fact, I think all chickens do; at least all the ones I've ever known. Not ours. Not anymore.
We put a light in the hen house to keep the layers laying. When the days are short, just a few hours of electric light will make a huge difference in egg production. We turn the light off a few hours after dark, because the hens (and Captain Roo) need their rest.
But since the installation of the light, our chicks wander around in the dark hen house yard, pecking and clucking as if it were broad daylight. It doesn't matter if their light is on or not, they just hang around waiting for us to tempt them inside the hen house for the night with a bucket of feed.
Not that I mind, it's just kind of funny to own zombies. For the record, zombie eggs taste just like regular free range eggs.
If you own hens and want to increase your winter egg production, definitely use a light for a few hours after dark. They also need extra feed to produce eggs in cold weather, because their normal rations are going toward keeping warm. However, even all of this won't bring your hens up to their near summer egg production. But there is a way...
The secret is one that DH discovered by accident: He gave the chickens some hay (not straw), and suddenly, we get a dozen eggs in one day! Unheard of for this time of year!
We've had one or two days with no production, mostly due to extremely cold weather. But for the most part, the hens are laying like they think it's July.
On the down side, now that they have electricity in their little bungalow, they are clucking about cable tv and internet!