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S.A.D. and happy chickens

October 12, 2010

I tried to deny it. Maybe I thought it was something that would go away. But the chickens have very clearly stated that winter is coming.

Some of you may have noticed that you were short a few eggs this week (or didn’t get any at all). I guess I thought they were reacting to Jon and I being away last weekend. They’re very attached to us, after all. Or maybe the bird cannons going off in the neighboring vineyards have been rattling them. It sounds like a war zone these days, as wineries try to protect their fruit from meandering starlings. The chickens don’t like it, either.

But since we’ve been back, the ladies have been laying half as much as usual. And today I noticed that some of them are losing their feathers. And it occurred to me that the chickens have Seasonal Affective Disorder! Only, in the chicken world, this is called “moulting”. The shed their feathers, slow down egg production, and shift their energy resources towards making a new down coat for the winter.

Commercial producers avoid this process by flooding the chicken coops (cages) with light, set on specific photoperiods to keep them out of sync with what’s going on outside. I’m ashamed to say that I tried this last winter, and it DOES work. But I’ve learned my lesson. This kind of treadmill running is exhausting for these poor birds and pretty unnatural when you think about it. But this season, I’ve developed a tremendous respect for what they produce every day. Day after day after day.

 I think these ladies deserve a rest!

Many apologies to those of you getting egg shares. I will divvy up whatever they do produce, but for the next couple of weeks, don’t count on CSA eggs. We’ll adjust the accounting at the end.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cat permalink
    October 12, 2010 8:30 pm

    s’ok with me, thank the chickies for me:D I’ve got sort of a stockpile of happy chicken eggs (we got behind) anyway. whatever, they’re still fresher than what I could get at the store.

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