Longer days mean more eggs!

Collected 8 eggs today! I’ve been keeping count of eggs since February 1 of this year. February yielded 47 eggs total and March had increased all the way to 160 eggs. As the days grow longer and the grip of winter lightens hens will begin to lay more eggs. And as the days begin to shorten in the fall production will drop. This is avoided in modern poultry settings by keeping lights on the bird to mimic the long days of summer. But I let these hens go the old way. This is based on 15 or 14 hens. Sadly I lost a hen about a week ago to a hawk.

Rooster and Hens

Our resident rooster, Clark and a few of his hens.

Basket of Eggs

The fruits of their labor, eggs for eating and baking!

Chickens in the snow

Chickens doing their best to make it through the snow at Hillside Homestead

I found a great diary entry about this sort of thing in Sarah Palmer’s Diary from April 13, 1891. Mrs. Sarah Palmer was a resident and farm wife in Suttons Bay Township, where I also live, and she kept a diary for most of her adult life from about 1873 to 1915. It is a treasure trove of information!

Melville & Perry drove over to town after feeding this morning & Nellie Lyle & Rosa all went to School & they rode over too.  I put on a kettle of potatoes for the pigs  I have to attend to the lamb when Nellie is at School.  Nellie sent a letter to Ethel Justus.  Mother gave Cora bleached cotton for a chemise for her birthday present. Melville & Perry went over to the P of I meeting tonight, & then Perry & Cora will go to the Calico Ball. They made fence to day.  We got 15 eggs to day, the most we have got any day.

I collected 15 eggs on March 18! I love it when I can find a connection to Sarah. I’ve been serving lots of fried eggs, deviled eggs and making cakes rich in eggs. I plan to preserve some of my eggs for the winter months too. Production goes way down in December and January.  Back in my Greenfield Village days we experimented with coating eggs and storing them in oats. The wax seals up the slightly porous eggs and helps keep air out. The oats are just a storage medium. I plan to do the same thing but with some lard as instructed in “The New Buckeye Cook Book” published in 1904. I don’t have any good beeswax at hand, but I do have plenty of lard.

Feeding Chickens at Hillside Homestead

Susan Odom, Proprietress, feeds the chickens at Hillside Homestead, summer 2011

Details on that project to come! So Happy Easter and enjoy the eggs.

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