Little blue frozen egg!!

One of my hens laid a little blue-green egg in the nest box this morning! It was 10 F in the coop, so it froze before I got to it, but I’ll cook it today. I don’t heat my insulated coop, and the little door to their yard is always open unless it is double digits below zero F.

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So cold doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to laying! Neither does my tough-love, low energy treatment: to have as sustainable an operation as possible I only feed local grain (wheat, barley and/or oats – always available) and bring them salmon and table scraps and warm water once a day. We’ll see if that egg tastes fishy since most of their protein and calcium comes from salmon!

The key is light. I got them as new hatched chicks June 15, so they are about 31 weeks old. A couple of weeks ago I installed a compact fluorescent bulb on a timer in the coop and have generally been giving them an additional hour of light a day until today. Today they will have artificial light from 4:30am to 9:30am (dawn) then from 4:30pm (dusk) to 6:30pm – 14 hours as my sources tell me they need. Yesterday they only had 13.5 hours, so that was enough for one girl! I will slowly adjust the hours to start later so the eggs don’t have so much time to freeze.

It certainly seems like a miracle that they are starting to lay! Here is the flock:
The black Easter-egger type (blue/green egg layers):

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One of the three grey Easter-eggers:

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Probably the lone brown egg layer – the barred rock mutt:

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And, of course, the duck family:

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3pm update: another little blue egg in the nest – this one not cracked from freezing!! And I ate the first egg and it was delish – no fishy at all!

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6 responses to “Little blue frozen egg!!

  1. I forgot about the ducks!
    The day you called, Mike brought in 7 eggs! I think that was a day and a half, but still a record for the season. They are getting extra light via a 9 W CF and the days are getting so much longer that it takes weekly adjustment. Still light at 5 pm now!
    Love you dearly. Congrats on success with the chickens. Love to all.
    Mom

  2. I like to turn all my light on early early in the AM, so they can have a natural going to bed time. There’s a fear that if the light just goes out when it’s really dark they may not be appropriately roosted. Of course you may have enough ambient city light that it’s not a problem.

  3. I’m thinking that the first egg I found was from the day before and that I have one grey easteregger that is laying one egg a day, though she skipped yesterday, she was on the nest today before I left for work. I think there is enough ambient light in my neighborhood to make the evening light shut off a non-issue.
    Incidentally, here are my economics so far (roughly):
    Start-up costs to date: ~$30 for 10 chicks, ~$70 for 3 adult ducks plus loan of proven mother duck, ~$60 in local grain and small bag of chick starter, ~$10 for spray foam for coop, ~$40 for chicken wire for coop/tractor, $24 7 watt led light bulb for coop. Free table scraps, salmon waste from dipnetting, lumber and insulation scraps for coop.
    Daily costs (worst case scenario – January – approx. highest supplemental light needs, plus high feed needs because of cold/snow): ~$0.01 per day for electricity for light, ~$0.40 per day for local grain.

    So if I average my fixed costs over a 3 year lifespan for the animals and 10 years for the coop itself, my worst case costs are about 58 cents/day.

    I know one shouldn’t count eggs before they are laid, but if I get a pretty conservative 2000 eggs in that three years (out of 5 hens and 2-3 female ducks), that works out to less than $3.81 a dozen. Not including the meat (three cornish-sized young chickens and a rooster butchered to date, hens in the stew pot when they stop laying?, fall-butchered muscovy duck offspring?) and fertilizer. This is all being quite conservative with my estimating, but counting on a good supply of free salmon scraps and table scraps/greens and assuming no accidental deaths, etc. The price per eggs would be much lower if the duck costs weren’t in there too, but I don’t feel like separating them out right now, I’ll just let eggs subsidize my muscovy meat operation for now!

  4. So glad to hear about the non-fishiness! I was going to ask you about it. I’d heard that you could give fish scraps to chickens, but didn’t want to try it for exactly that reason (in Kansas, we never had a lot of opportunity to feed the chickens fish…). We did a light inside and Christmas lights on the coop (chickens like to be festive, too) and it’s worked out well since they hang out outside now when it’s dark. We got another chicken “donated” to us by a friend who had the rest of hers wiped out by a coyote, and she’s still not quite accepted by the others, but is laying, so no complaints!

  5. I like the idea of xmas lights on the coop! That would help convince them to get some fresh air.

  6. We feed our chickens quite a bit of salmon. Just makes the egg yolks brighter. Budget Feed in Palmer has an all-Alaska ration they custom blend from salmon and Delta barley. Though I haven’t stopped in there for about a year. P.S. there’s a new brewery in Palmer too, so it might be worth the trip 😉

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