This spring the flock turns four with the exception of Fifi. She is three. They are now considered old chickens. During their last molt, the girls stopped laying all together. It has now been about three months since the molting began and I can count on one hand how many eggs the flock has laid. This is the first year that we have experienced an almost complete egg drought.
Old Chickens Matter
I know it does not have to do with diet. Nor access to calcium. We don’t over treat and there are windows and lots of light in the coop. Predators have not been an issues and everyone is healthy and happy. The reason the flock has decreased its egg laying has to do mostly with old age. A flock’s laying slows way down after two years of age. I’ve come to term with the fact that my girls are on the outskirts of henopause and egg laying will not resume to a new “normal” until spring.
I thought for a long time, that I would miss the eggs terribly once the girls stopped laying. Farm fresh eggs were one of the main reasons we started keeping chickens in the first place. I didn’t know until now how wrong I truly was.
Just as each egg is special, so is each chicken. Ours all have names. They come when I call them. They are a joy to me each and every day. They have a lust for life that amazes me to watch. Their personalities are nothing short of bewildering. They share love with one another through their gestures of kindness. They stick together as a family no matter what. They have taught me that you don’t need words to say I love you, nor do you need arms for hugging. Love is about making connections with our hearts.
The importance of touch should not be undervalued. People need and crave human contact. Chickens crave contact too. It’s rare that I ever find the chickens dust bathing solo. Usually they are piled one on top of the other; preening on each other, chatting up a storm, even going completely boneless without a care in the world. It is as if time stands still. Friending and reaching out to those who surround you, even those in the houses next to you should be a given, not something that you haven’t gotten the time to get around to.
Each and every day should be lived to the fullest as the chickens remind me. Holidays are non-existent in the animal world. They don’t need days to celebrate what should be remembered, celebrated, and reflected upon each and every day.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that people are truly better as a flock that sometimes agrees to disagree. Not everyone gets along all the time, but at the end of the day, chickens never go to bed mad at one another. Nor should we. Life has only gotten more complicated, the chickens remind us how important the simple things are.
If you ask me today why I keep chickens, I am always the first to share that it is much more than for the eggs.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest