Agustin is very proud of his chicks. He has taken care of the breeder flock. Saved their eggs each week then loaded the incubator every week since January. Every Thursday we hear the chicks in the hatching cabinet, and he sorts them out before moving them to the brooder bins in one of our domes.
The first of the Black Austrolorps we hatched back in February should be laying well now. The problem is that they are not. We did buy 800 chicks of the hybrid layers to make sure we had enough chickens to lay for the winter as it will take some time before we get up to speed with the Austrolorp raising. These layers are not laying well either and they should be by now.
We have carefully examined every aspect of the chicken operation such as making sure they have lots of fresh water, feed and misters to keep them cool during hot spells. We have made minor adjustments but nothing that would cry out as the reason why the new flocks are not laying. The girls that have been laying all spring and summer are going into a natural moult and lay fewer eggs. Our new girls should be taking over. I have heard that other pasture raised operations are having reduced egg yields to varying degrees. At the present time belief is that the smoke from the fires caused a stress in the birds. They are jungle creatures, and if they smell smoke then survival is the base instinct not laying eggs. I am hoping that over the next few weeks production will increase dramatically as they get over this stress.
We have enough eggs for everyone this week but there may come a time when we have to cut deliveries. This will mean that those of you getting larger amounts of eggs each week will be credited and have less eggs to pick up. Please make sure that you check the sign in sheet every week to see how many eggs we have for you. If you are sending a significant other make sure they know the drill.
We hope that we will not have to do this but please be prepared. The chickens still eat the same; the feed bill is as big as ever but we just do not have enough eggs to sell at the present time.