Friday, August 28, 2009

Girl ...

... you'll be a woman soon. (we hope!!!)

Our "little girls" are now officially bigger than "the ladies" (they are a heavier breed than the red hens). I'm thinking it's about time for these freeloaders to get to work.

"When will my pullets finally start laying?" is the most popular question on the Backyard Chickens online forum which I frequent. The best answers I have seen are:

... the day after you give up on them ever laying
... the day you break down and go to the grocery store and buy eggs
... the day you sit down and do the math, figuring out exactly how much you have invested in your first egg.
... the day you think that you might be hungrier for fried chicken than you are for eggs

The more serious responders have posted "clues" - things to watch for when they are getting close. Wilma and Betty have met most of the criteria - though it seems they are still a bit pinker in the comb than the ladies, whose combs and wattles are a very vibrant red. Hens need about 14 hours of daylight to lay eggs and with fall soon upon us, the days with 14 hours of daylight are waning, if not already past. We had thought we wouldn't use artificial light in the henhouse to keep them laying in the winter - but we made no firm decisions about articifial light in the late fall. Technically, winter doesn't start until Dec. 21, right?

Twenty weeks is the average age for the first egg from Buff Orpingtons. By my count, they will be about 19 weeks this weekend.

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