Mountain Meadows Farm

  (Hatfield, Arkansas)
Sustainable Farm Living
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Chickens Molting and hens laying eggs have slowed way down!

Laying hens on strike!  I am sure we are not the only ones with laying hens that are on strike.  We have 9 month old Rhode Island Red hens that have blessed us with a multitude of eggs, starting in June when they reached five months of age.  But about three weeks ago, the laying almost came to a halt!  We understand that this is common, but our family and customers are not happy. 

We usually keep our hens in portable pens that we move every morning so they have fresh grass and plenty of grasshoppers and crickets.  But with the cold weather settling in, which is common for the Arkansas Ouachita Mountains in November, we made a change.  We created a big indoor shelter with laying nest, perches, and heat lamps for them to roost at night.  And we used electric netting fence to enclose a really big outdoor area for them to move around during the day.  There is plenty of grass and manure from our horses and cattle for them to scratch.

The hens seem happier now and are started to lay a few eggs again.  Today we got 10 eggs!!  (we are rejoicing even though we used to get 65 eggs a day).

Does anyone have any healthy secrets for helping our hens get through the molting season and still produce eggs?  I am sure that it is of course a natural process for them to go through, but perhaps that are some things we can do to help them out. 

Hope to hear from you.

Don and Mary from Mountain Meadows Farm

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