Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cold Eggs

Of course you know that egg production is dependent mostly on daylight. As the days grow shorter at the winter solstice, egg production naturally decreases. When you factor in the autumn molting cycle of mature hens (and they don't lay eggs when they're molting), late December and early January are the slowest time of year for eggs. Remember, this has rather little to do with the cold temperatures.

The week of the solstice we were down to 11 eggs, so we actually had to purchase a dozen from the grocery store. A week ago we began supplemental lighting in the coop, adding a few compact florescent bulbs on a timer from 4 am to 8 am. This morning I gathered the three eggs you see above. The two molting hens seem to have recovered and look fully feathered. They should begin laying again soon. So we're on the upswing---spring is really coming!

By the way, this morning it's -2 degrees Fahrenheit in the coop, but the ceramic heaters in the hen house are holding it at a balmy +8 degrees. We purchased larger wattage heat emitters, but we're reluctant to make a big difference between the hen house and the real world. Stay tuned!

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