Egg Laying Machines

I was going to title this post “Waiting for Eggs” but in all honesty, we didn’t have to wait!  Everything I’ve read says most chickens will start laying between 5 and 6 months old.  So I was hoping to have some eggs by Christmas, that would be right at 5 months old (and what a great Christmas present).  It was November, cold out and day light hours were getting shorter and shorter.  Hens need 14 to 16 hours of light a day to lay eggs.  So after Thanksgiving I bought a timer so we could plug in a light to increase their hours of light.  I also bought layer feed for them.  Before I could get the light plugged in or change their feed, they started laying!!

Our first 2 eggs!!  A little splotchy, but we were so proud 😉

We quickly got the light put up in the coop and set it to come on at 3am.  I mixed the layer in with the remaining grower feed and HOLEY COW!!  They turned into egg laying machines.  It is now 5 days before Christmas and we are getting 15 or 16 eggs a day from our 17 hens!!  They don’t seem to mind the freezing weather at all.  They have been laying all these eggs by 7:30am and then they get turned out to free range for the rest of the day.

The only problem we had was when they first started laying.  Some of them would peck their egg, (one little hole or even just a crack)….kind of like they were curious.  Then one hen started eating an egg every day.  I would go out to the coop at about 8:30am and find wet straw and little pieces of shell in a nesting box.  I had NO idea which hen was doing it!  This went on for several days and the only thing I could think to do was just get out to the coop earlier before she had a chance to snatch that egg.  So when it was just barely light enough to see I headed out to the coop.  It worked!  No more broken eggs,…not even any cracks!  On most days we even get a double yolker or two.  Now my only problem is what to do with all these eggs!….I love problems like this. 😀

                          Meet Ginger one of our super egg laying machines!

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