In An Egg Drought

I’ve learned a very valuable lesson this week. The crime of egg hoarding is clearly punishable by egg withholding. Remember when I told you I was having a hard time parting with my lovely eggs? I just couldn’t let them go. I counted them in their cartons. I prepared them lovingly and (if I do say so myself) perfectly. I just wasn’t ready to give them away.

Colored eggs

Clearly, I changed my selfish ways too late. Because now, we’re in an egg drought.

I admit it, I’d become a bit spoiled. The eggs were coming fast and furious. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t gather at least one, often two and sometimes even three eggs out of the nesting boxes. When I finally started placing eggs in packages to share with family and friends, I thought I was following the principles of egg karma. Give some away, more will come to you.Eggs Packaged

And then the cold came.

Snow on tree

As in, it barely broke zero degrees for a week in Minneapolis. And it’s been a full eight days since I’ve seen an egg. Even Henry is wondering when this excessively icy snap will end.

Henry in the snow

As a lifelong Minnesotan, I grew up thinking this is just the way people live. You bundle up in the winter. The frigid air bites you in the face. It nearly knocks the wind out of you when you turn a corner and are no longer shielded from the elements by a brick building. Your back becomes tense and hunched over the moment you leave your house. That’s just the way things are. Right?

It wasn’t until about ten years ago, when I stumbled across a list of the top ten coldest cities in the continental United States that I realized, no, not everyone lives this way. Because five of the towns listed happen to be in Minnesota.

It really is that cold here.

And lately, it’s been downright brutal.

All three chickens

Just like the rest of us in this frigid, frozen tundra, Susie Q, Maryanne and Roz are hunkering down and just trying to survive.


Roz peering out


They venture out of their coop occasionally, but most of their time is spent roosting under the warmth of their heat lamp inside. In the morning, I open their coop door. As usual, they race out one by one and launch their beaks into their feed. Their usual morning excitement quickly wears off, though, as they lift one foot and then the other, preventing them from freezing to the earth. At least, that’s what I’m guessing they’re doing.

Empty nesting box

Then it’s back into the coop to warm up. Their nesting boxes? Untouched. Egg laying? Not happening. My breakfasts? Totally disappointing. That’s right people, I actually had to buy eggs at the grocery store.

Oh, the horror.

I can’t say I blame the birds. I wouldn’t want to lay eggs in these conditions either.

I re-assured the ladies. It won’t last forever, I told them. Stick together and we’ll make it through. Just like it does every year, spring will come again.

In the meantime, I’m back to waiting for eggs. And putting on an extra layer of long underwear.

9 thoughts on “In An Egg Drought

  1. We’ve got 5 hens that we started just before yours and we’ve been getting 3-4, if not 5, eggs every day this winter. Their coop has dipped down to 10 degrees or so, but we feed them kale, wheatgrass, sprouts and a handful or two of scratch as much as possible (up to 1 time per day).

  2. The pictures of your hens are adorable in this blog post! I feel for them as I am sure they are happily excited to see you in the morning but hurried to get back into their heated nesting boxes for warmth. Their poor little footies! Hang in there…Spring will arrive soon. Your girls will show you love again. Incidentally, I have 3 little girls as well (ferrets, that is…). Keep warm!

  3. Those head shots of your chickens made me laugh out loud. Everyone I talk to says that chickens have their own personality. And that middle chicken just looks like a funny character. I don’t know which is which, but that one has a bit of spunk it seems.

    We’re researching what kind of coop we want and are going to get little chicks this spring. I can’t wait. Thanks for the heads up about chicken karma.

  4. I have 3 chickens in my city backyard coop. I keep a heat lamp on them during these cold spells. My egg production has gone down but am still getting 1-2 per day. I read that my girls need 17 hours of light a day. So I hooked up a light bulb, on a timer, to go on at 5pm-off at midnight. Seems to be working.
    I am also an egg hoarder!! I feel bad but I can’t seem to give them up!!

  5. So . . . I’m just figuring out this whole chicken business (take my first class on Saturday) – How do you know it’s not getting too hot/cold in the coop? You feed them outside? Do you like your coop? What would you do differently? In all your ‘spare time’ (heh heh), could you post about the nuts and bolts of your chicken system extravaganza? Inquiring minds want to know.

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