Thursday, October 23, 2008
Lay Ladies Lay!
Oh to you beautiful ladies. Pip, and Blacko, Popcorn, and Cluck. My pride and joy. The fruits of my labor. What has gone wrong?
I am a chicken rancher by trade. I currently hold down a chicken ranch consisting of 4 chickens. During peak production, I am able to harvest about 3 to 4 eggs per day! That adds up to 2 dozen eggs per week. Assuming I was selling them at say... $4 bucks a dozen. That is 32 bucks a month cold hard cash. However, I don't sell them. I eat them and try to share them with the neighbors who often take care of them when I am out (Thanks Julie and Erik!).
Anyway, the ladies have stopped laying. You heard me. Nothing. And they are losing their feathers. They are not eating very much. And they are much slower to get out of the coop when I open it up in the morning. What is up with this? Are they sick? Are they dying? How long do chickens live anyways? These chickens are a little over a year old. I guess a Chicken Rancher should know these things.
Well, Thanks to http://www.backyardchickens.com/ and my trusty chicken raising book, I discovered that they are molting. Molting is something they do yearly. They lose their feathers and often stop laying. I think they are miserable at the moment. Poor things but it should be over soon. Then I can get back to all that money I could have.
Here is an Idea. Look what this lady did to help her chickens stay warm doing molting. She calls it a Chicken Saddle. This pic is from backyardchickens.com