It is now early March and the weather is very warm. The high temperature was over 70 degrees earlier this week. The average high temperature normally doesn’t reach the 70s until June. Even the deepest snow piles have almost completely disappeared. Instead of mid-winter, maybe this is really an early-summer update.
How have the chickens fared over the winter?
Like the goats, the chickens are doing well! On the coldest days, the chickens remained inside the chicken coop with a space heater to help them keep warm. On days at or above freezing, the chickens would usually venture outside as long as the snow wasn’t too deep. During the recent warm spell, the chickens spend most of their day outside.
The chickens are venturing out into the pastures during the warm weather and enjoying the longer days.
Click through for more pictures, including an interesting egg phenomenon.
Most of the hens did not lay eggs regularly throughout the winter. Most breeds only lay eggs when there is at least 14 hours of strong sunlight per day. During the winter, there is less sun so the hens don’t naturally lay eggs – this helps them conserve energy to keep themselves warm. You can help encourage them to lay eggs throughout the winter by turning on artificial lights to increase their exposure to enough hours of light. We did not use any extra lighting and were happy to let the hens have a break from laying eggs.
The hens are beginning to restart laying with the longer days and warmer temperatures.
We think that one of the hens has been laying different size eggs (they are all the same similar color). A photo of the different sizes is below.
From left to right, the eggs vary in size from small to elongated (a normal medium egg in the grocery store would fall around the second from the left with the third being a large grocery store egg). We are not sure why the egg sizes are so varied from a single hen.
You can let the large one hatch and see what kind of chick comes out. On the other hand, maybe not. You might get a rooster.
I cracked it open and it was just a typical sized egg yolk in a very large egg.