Heading for Solstice…

We are definitely nearing the shortest day of the year.  Yesterday afternoon between 3:30 and 4pm I went out and took these photos….



It has been REAAALLLLYYYY cold here for the last week or so… night-time temps dipping below -30c and daytimes barely reaching -15c.  The pond only stays open due to the stock tank heater in the centre.  Even my “massive” pond pump had frozen pipes and had to be removed (should have been done before freeze-up… oh well!!)

DSCF8451Even with all of that, the chickens started laying eggs again.   So… just as it got really cold and the daylength was almost the shortest it can be, they’ve started on their egg laying cycle.  Which leads me to believe that egg laying (or rather lack thereof)  has not much to do with temperature or light….. but much more to do with moulting and stress. [see post ~ ].  Egg production dropped immediately from a dozen a day down to 4-6 a day and gradually tapered off to none by late October (due to moult).  Currently we are getting 6-8 per day (yes some of them froze in those extreme cold temperatures, but I’m trying to collect more often to prevent that) and expect to climb to over a dozen soon.  Also, I have 4 new Barnevelder hens that should very soon be at the point of lay…. one hatched in May and three in July.  So… the egg basket is filling once again and I’m no longer having to buy those pale supermarket eggs.  I’m going to begin dehydrating eggs once again, as soon as we get a bit ahead of things.

We are once again into our Solstice count-down and planning ahead for our winter Yule and Christmas celebrations.  No tree yet, maybe this weekend or next.  The outside lights are up and on in the evenings… nothing decorated inside yet.   Soon!  More updates next week.

Forecast is calling for a Chinook to blow through this weekend and by next Tuesday the temps are supposed to be up to +13c.  Ahhhh…. Alberta weather!  (The chickens will enjoy some outside time as they haven’t really been out for over a week!)