The Egg Flood

farming

Around the beginning of March I got one of the first signs of spring on the farm (the real first sign was back in February when last summer's young female calves went into heat for the first time and started bellowing and making well, cow-eyes, at the bull from over the fence) which is a rising tide of eggs!

buckets of eggs

I do provide supplemental light for my hens in the winter but with the bitter cold we often experience in Vermont, they expend a decent amount of energy in the winter staying warm, so production drops. I could provide them with heat as well as light to keep production up but constructing an insulated hen house and heating it would be pretty energy intensive, so it seems more economical to just let production drop a bit for a few months. They are well sheltered from the wind and snow with pretty much unlimited food and since golden comets are very winter hardy they are quite happy.

Another winter egg production issue is frozen eggs. When it's -10F outside, eggs freeze in less than two hours after being laid. I use seedling heat mats in the nest boxes to give myself a little more time to collect them but on some very cold days, up to half the eggs freeze before I can even collect them! The hens are more than happy to gobble them up once I smash them open and it gives them a nice nutritional boost, so I am not too concerned about waste but it is a frustrating reality of winter in Vermont.

So I am always happy to see the big uptick in egg production and the end of single digit temperatures! The result of that though is that I have lots of eggs to pack and sell. Cold calling businesses isn't my favorite task but it's that or drown in the flood of eggs.


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