September 15, 2014
We were on vacation this past week. Coming back, we harvested raspberries, (we really had 5x this much but this is what was left after eating them for supper)
tomatoes,(Mr. Stripey and Brandywine)
Peppers,(and more tomatoes throughout the bowl)
and…Yup. Eggs. Go figure.
At the beginning of August, I read in a blog about how it is not necessary to feed free-ranging chickens chicken feed in the summer. At the time, our chickens were eating a lot of feed & producing fewer and fewer eggs. I now realize they were doing that because daylight hours were decreasing; however, at the time, all I knew was that they were costing me money and someone offered a way to spending little to no money so I went for it.
So, we expanded the run so it was the size of a typical suburban backyard to ensure they had PLENTY of room but were still kept safe, as was my garden. Because of the expansion, some of the young chickens got into something and we had three die 😦
They also started moulting like crazy and stopped laying. Two weeks after expanding the run, we stopped getting eggs from them. I thought it was a little early in the year for them to moult but it was clear (with all the feathers everywhere) that is what they were doing.
When we came back from vacation this week, I didn’t see feathers all over the run, as I had before. I thought it was odd because it had only been a month. I asked my daughter to check in the coop to see if there were a ton of feathers in there, as there were before I cleaned it out.
She came back with three eggs. We got another one yesterday. Sigh. All I can figure is that cutting off their feed supply, though they had plenty of greens and bugs and seeds (we were harvesting our sunflowers), put them in a ‘forced moult’. Now that their bodies have adjusted to little to no feed & pure free-ranging, they are laying again a little bit.
I assume they will go into another full moult soon. This is all speculation, of course, as I have only had chickens for 18mo. I think I ruined my birds 😛 I feel badly (especially for the ones who died) but there’s nothing I can do about it except to learn from my mistakes and take notes for next year.
As far as the rest of the harvests: the raspberries were eaten, the green peppers were chopped up and frozen, and the tomatoes are on the counter, finishing up ripening.
How were your harvests this week? Check out what’s going on in other gardens around the world at Daphne’s Dandelions.