Friday, December 2, 2011

Farm Fresh Egg Shortage?

 I went to the local health food store to pick up some of their pastured chicken eggs (which I love). The eggs they carry are from a local farmer and well worth the extra $1 they cost when compared to "regular" storebought eggs.  Turns out that the chickens have quit laying, though! The farmer even bought more laying hens to help remedy the problem, and those hens have also quit laying!

It's a bit early for chickens to quit laying, especially with our so-far very mild and warmish weather for this time of year.

In talking further with one of the health food store workers, their chickens had also molted early and are not laying much at all. She had thought this was due to not having heat/light on in the coop, but her friend's coop has light and heat and even she is having this problem.

Also, it seems an Amish family semi-locally has observed this same problem. It seems that the chickens molted not too long ago, had a little break, but now are molting yet again (and laying hardly at all).

I think I got the right details with the right people up there. At any rate, this is a strange thing to have happen to so many different flocks at the same time!

I wonder if possibly..
~the warmer weather and rain has led to the chickens not laying,
~the chicken feed companies are cutting back on their protein in the feed and that's causing the chickens to back off on the laying,
~or if they're doing an animal survival thing of reserving their energy for the (supposed) long winter ahead?

Just some thoughts....
Has there been an farm-fresh egg shortage in your local area?

A pic from Memory Lane....back when I had chickens...and my own eggs!


Rhonda James said...

interesting. I have 2 laying hens but they are new to that job so I know to expect irregularity. I will discuss this with my chicken lady at the local farmers market today and let you know. I wonder if the same thing is being experienced at the big chicken farms?

Tanya said...

I think it will be interesting to see whether this is happening across the country!
I have no idea whether the commercial farms are experiencing this or not, but if we could figure that out it might shed some light on the cause(and it would definitely cause more of an uproar and cause for investigation).
Most chickens on the commercial farms are bred specifically for egg production while most farmers around here opt for heritage-type, dual-purpose birds(though not across the board). The heritage breeds tend to be more susceptible to slowing down/stopping laying than do the bred-for-egg-production breeds.

(I'm sure you probably know this already, just clarifying for other readers that might not know.)

Let me know what you find out!

Michelle said...

I have to add that I was surprised that my new flock molted at all. They just started laying in July. We had a heat spell 106 around Sept 1st. I noticed a drop in production at that time. I have had several flocks over 20 years, and my moving around the country. I am also a former 4H poultry leader. My previous experience has been that the young birds typically lay through the first year. I have 3 polish, which only layed July & Aug. The 4 araucana's are laying 2 eggs a day right now. I never really got 4 green eggs steadily. I don't buy commercial feed. I get my special ration from a local farm. The ration was developed by UT. It has more kelp, and none of the stuff commercial feed has, such as arsenic. I believe we have had a lot of cloud cover and rain, which will cause the egg production to go down. They need 12 - 14 hours of light per day. I am going to let my birds rest until Jan or Feb, then put in a light bulb on a timer. I need to add that to my list. I figured I can get a timer pretty check at Christmas time. We have been getting enough eggs for me. I started buying eggs for dh.