It seems that large numbers of people decided this year that raising chickens in their backyards was a way to lessen the blow of an economic recession (highly debatable). The result of this unexpected demand was that our new flock of fowl was delayed by nearly two months.
We had ordered chicks, and it’s hard to argue that there will ever been a more exciting package waiting for you at the post office than one that is “chirping”.
But raising chicks is a much more time-consuming endeavor than just ordering pullets (what young hens are called prior to laying their first egg). The chicks will have to mature for at least 18 weeks before they are at laying stage.
In order to mature, chickens need the appropriate amount of light, and ushering chickens to puberty can take longer as the days get shorter and let’s face it, what bird in her right mind would want to lay an egg and bring a new chick into the world when the temperature outside is 4 degrees. (Chickens are not as dumb as people make them out to be. They have evolution on their side!)
Had all gone according to plan, the new chicks would have arrived at the end of Spring and started laying by Autumn, but alas, here we are in the dead of winter getting only one egg per day. With 20 chickens, no way is everyone pulling their own weight.
To make matters worse, the chickens have not yet learned that we built the roosts specifically for comfortable laying, so we are finding eggs in all corners of the chicken yard (the flip side of this is that you get to start every day with an Easter Egg Hunt)
We’ve placed plastic eggs in the roosts hoping that the chickens’ natural instincts will take over and they’ll learn to make these attractive little cubbies their own.