The hens are the first to notice

About this time of year, egg production starts increasing. I have 25 feathered lovelies in the henhouse. From November to February, I’m lucky to get 3-4 eggs each day. It’s winter, after all.

But about a week ago—even with nighttime temperatures dropping to as low as -25F—I began collecting 5 or 6 or 8 eggs each day. Hens follow the sun. It makes sense. As days lengthen, they figure it’s getting more reasonable to start building a brood of eggs for hatching in 5-6 weeks. 

(Side note on chicken biology: hens lay eggs for a week or two, then begin seriously sitting on them to incubate. This means it takes longer than the 3-week incubation time for a hen to put together a satisfactory batch to hatch.)

Anyway, as I noticed egg production increasing, I also noticed a slight change in daylight hours. Yes, it’s cold and snowy and the icicles are two-foot long, but the hens know we’ve turned the corner toward a new season. 

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