Bantam lays two eggs a week in December
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: