Thursday, 18 October 2012

An egg, an egg, my kingdom for an egg!

I'm sure you are all wondering why I have yet to mention eggs on this blog. A little unusual for a blog about keeping chickens I'll grant you. The girls are now 24 weeks old. They could have started laying at anything from 20 weeks old. Could.

This means that for the last month we have been watching and waiting for our first egg. Every sign of unusual behaviour has had us hoping. There was the night when Pepper decided that instead of going to bed she was going to walk round in circles clucking. Surely that is a sign of a hen about to lay her first egg? Apparently not. All our waiting and hoping has been in vain, and to date we have had no eggs. You heard me; no eggs.

Instead they have decided to moult. This in itself is confusing. An adult bird will moult fully once a year during the autumn - but not in its first year, so ours shouldn't be doing that this time. The other option is that this is the last of the partial moults they are supposed to do before they reach adulthood. They should be too old for this but it seems to be more likely than the first option as none of them have lost large quantities of feathers on this pass.

Whatever the reason for the moult, no hen will lay while she is trying to regrow feathers so it seems we'll have to wait a little longer. We have one more problem though; most hens will reduce laying a lot over the winter months with some stopping all together. Our hopes for eggs before spring are therefore seeming more and more far-fetched.

Pepper seems to have finished moulting for now, having regrown all of her beautiful tail feathers so maybe she will soon grace us with an egg or two. Or maybe she'll decide that the weather has been too miserable and she can't be bothered... we'll have to wait and see!

To the chicken keepers among you... has anyone else had a spring chicken not lay before its first winter? 

1 comment:

  1. I got all excited when I glanced at the title...but was dismayed when I read on. Still no eggs. Shocking. Just as well you bought them as pets and eggs was an added bonus!