When the leaves start falling, and there is a regular chill in the air each morning, I know it's time to start thinking about winter weather. It may be just bringing in some citrus plants, or covering that "favorite mum" but for some of us it means getting the chicken coop ready, laying by the last of the firewood and insuring that all the outdoor pipes are covered and prepped for our bitterly cold winters (okay, that last part was a joke).
It's also a great time to read. Winter means I can read all the beekeeping magazines, poultry magazines, seed catalogs, and finish that long book I started last year. Now, if that was all one had to do in the winter, that would be great, but the truth is on a piece of property that is anything larger than a postage stamp, there are constant things that have to be tended to. As we move further into the season, we will talk about many of those.
I asked my wife what her thoughts were as we moved into the fall season in full swing and she sent me a small note:
"Our trees are turning vibrant's of red, mellows of orange, tangs of yellow and will soon be meadow brown and musty grey and Squanto the cat has acquired his place on our braided rug in front of our low burning fire.
The mums have broke forth with the singing of autumn. The scarecrow is still watching over the garden, but all he sees is the upcoming winter greens and carrot tops. Gone are the ripe fruits of summer.
Our pumpkins and hay bales line the front lawn with whispers of cool winds blowing bits of straw along the browning grass and tumbling leaves."
Egg production is a science: one that I have not mastered! Everything from weather, to feed changes to simply spooking the chickens seems to affect how they lay. Getting the right protein in the food, making sure there is clean water, insuring that they have free range and many other simple things are all important. But with so much involved in producing a consistent amount of egg volume, really, the Lord is in charge. You can't tell a chicken to lay, and you can't even tell them WHERE to lay. But rest assured, in time, they will lay.
Making sure eggs are organic has become very important to us. If you are planning on getting the most out of your chickens, you want the healthiest choices possible. So going with Non GMO feed, and avoiding use of antibiotics and pesticides is a great start.
But that is not the end of a good organic regiment. One should consider also the benefits of having an area for the chickens to "free range." Literally, giving them some yard space is all that is involved. We give our chickens about 2 acres to graze and work. They take care of all sorts of pests, all the while pecking at our blueberries, figs and other low hanging fruit. A few holes in a fig is well worth the price of a good egg!
The egg I am standing in front of in the picture was taken in Kansas this year, as we passed through the town of Wilson, KS. It is supposedly the Largest Czech egg in the world. I just wouldn't want to meet the chicken.
A self-styled agrarian wanna-be, enjoying the goodness of the Lord.