My French Marans hens have started laying their beautiful chocolate eggs once again, only six days after the winter solstice, December 21, which marks the commencement of longer daylight. The increased daylight often measured in increased minutes of daylight, signals chickens in general to begin laying.
If you let your hens follow their instincts, and don't add supplemental light in their coop to keep them laying, they will take a natural break or molt in the fall to winter, and begin laying once again with the natural stimulation of incremental increased daylight. This can vary by a hen's age and breed. When a hen does start laying once again, after a break, her eggs might be smaller at first in size.
In a previous post here at VGG, Discovering The French Marans Chicken Breed, I write in detail about the French Maran breed, and how they actually secrete a dark chocolate tint to their eggs aided by a unique mucous gland in the last moments of laying their eggs. This is the secret of their deep chocolate color, and what is unique to their breed. In the photo above, you can see the first egg is two-toned, as my French Marans hen, Coco, turned on her mucous gland, as she commences to begin laying her first egg, after her fall/winter break. The second laid egg is fully tinted dark chocolate, and it appears that her egg-laying process is in place. It is yet another example of how beautiful mother nature is.
For more information on the French Marans Chicken Breed please go to Marans Chicken Club USA. See "Diggin' These Links", on my home page- left side bar, for more chicken-related links I've assembled especially for you.
Are your hens starting to lay since the winter solstice? Do you have any "egg stories" to share?
Announcing for all of you that live in the Encinitas area, Weidner's Gardens is hosting a "Fruit Tree Workshop" on Saturday, January 16, 2009. Come see their fabulous bare root fruit tree selection for the season, and learn a few tips. See below for details. Hope to see you there!
11:00-1pm, Master Gardener, John Marsh, will speak on "Pruning Your Fruit Trees."
1:00-2:00pm, VintageGardenGal, Bonnie Jo Manion, will speak on the "Basics of Espaliered Fruit Trees."
Weidner's Gardens, 695 Normandy Rd., Encinitas, CA 92024, (tel) (760) 436-2194, www.weidners.com, Saturday, January 16, 2009, Hours are 9:00am - 4:30pm