Char­lotte’s Chick­ens

Ban­tam lays two eggs a week in De­cem­ber

Your Chickens - - Contents -

Egg lay­ing usu­ally seems to pick up as soon as we have had the short­est day. I ac­tu­ally man­aged to get quite a few eggs at the end of De­cem­ber. Amaz­ingly Flor­rie is lay­ing a few eggs – about two eggs a week, which is un­usual be­cause ban­tams don’t tend to lay in the win­ter. She must be about five years old which makes it all the more ex­tra­or­di­nary. I think be­cause she had two broods last year and sub­se­quently spent some time out of lay, this means she has the pos­si­bil­ity of more eggs in her system. I hope she is not think­ing of go­ing broody!

Hens have a pre­de­ter­mined num­ber of eggs that they could lay in their life­time. When a fe­male chick hatches she al­ready has thou­sands of ova in her ovary which can po­ten­tially de­velop into eggs. When she reaches sex­ual ma­tu­rity and is ready to lay, an ovum from her vast stor­age of ova in her ovary will then de­velop into a yolk, which will in turn en­ter into the oviduct, be cov­ered with al­bu­men (the egg white), then in the last stage will re­ceive a shell and will then be laid through the vent. The process takes around 25 hours. Hens may well not be able to lay all their po­ten­tial eggs in their life­time and I think it is im­por­tant that they have a rest in the win­ter. The lack of light in the win­ter af­fects their lay­ing any­way and we need to be pa­tient although of­ten I meet peo­ple who don’t un­der­stand why I get fewer eggs in the win­ter months. In fact most peo­ple who have never kept hens do not re­alise that it is nat­u­ral for hens to stop lay­ing in the win­ter. I sup­pose be­cause farm­ers keep caged hens who lay right the way through their first year, ev­ery­one thinks this is what all hens do!

ABOVE: Well done Flor­rie – lay­ing in De­cem­ber Cap­tion:

Char­lotte Popescu

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