Friday, October 23, 2015
The Autumn Molt
I had to buy eggs the other day. Brown eggs, almost identical in size and colour, perfectly clean, perfectly egg-shaped.
Not a speck of poop, tag of sawdust or lingering feather to be seen.
Not even one green egg in the carton.
Our hens are old-ish, and they are molting. The coop and the outside pen are full of feathers, and now that our gardens are done for the years, the chickens are ranging all over the yard so every time I come across a flurry of feathers, it takes me a moment to move from panic -- Raccoon! -- to the realization that the ladies are simply flinging feathers behind them as they traipse around the yard.
The worst part of this annual drop in egg production, brought on both by the molting and the shorter days, isn't having to buy eggs; it's my husband's threats to replace our old-ish hens with new, younger models who will lay eggs.
"We're not running a retirement home here, you know," he says.
Uh, actually, we are. You just refuse to accept it.
I'll have to make some calls and see if I can't round up a few young layers to toss into the coop for the winter. Perhaps if there are eggs in the boxes, my husband will forget that most of the hens are enjoying their golden years without the hassles of popping an egg out their butt every other day.