6 Eggs!

There are seven hens in the Little Barn, one of which is an old bantam White Leghorn named Betsy Ross. She no longer lays eggs, but the others, the Ladies, are heading into their peak laying year. They hatched last spring, fully matured over the winter, and are now laying eggs in the nesting boxes, and in their favorite place, the rabbit hutch.

Despite the snow on the ground and the thermometer at zero this morning, now through the end of March will see the maximum egg production for the year. That’s because the length of daylight tells the hens it’s time to lay eggs, but that it’s not yet time to go broody. This weather is actually better than mid-summer, when sweltering heat depresses laying. Right now, the Ladies are cozy in their coop, and warm enough in the sunshine, to be able to crank out the eggs.

Yesterday I collected six from the six Ladies.



Yes, even Veronica laid an egg! She’s a Cuckoo Marans, a breed that is supposed to lay chocolate brown eggs. She doesn’t. In fact, the darkest egg of the lot belongs to Beulah. But, that’s okay. Veronica is a chatty, cheerful hen that likes visiting schools and meeting children. Any eggs from her are the icing on the cake.

Beatrix, who was showing signs of straining to lay an egg without success, now has all in gear and is producing her pretty greenish-tinged egg. (Beatrix’s egg is to the left, alongside Owly’s slightly bluer egg on the right.)



Twiggy lays the white egg. Being a Leghorn, she lays eggs six eggs a week, and sometimes even seven. The other girls lay from two to five eggs a week. After a winter of using eggs sparingly in cooking, I now have an abundance to work with. Egg Salad! Frittatas for dinner! Custard for dessert! Despite the freezing temperature outside, it’s feeling a lot more like spring in my kitchen. The eggs are just in time for programs I’ll be doing to promote The Farmstead Egg Guide and Cookbook. There will be samples of recipes at book signings! Keep an eye on my events page and let me know if you’ll be coming.


  1. My hens have kicked into high gear as well. A dozen yesterday. Although my issue is the ones that are laid early in the morning are frozen and cracked by the time I can get to the coop in the evening. Spring please hurry.
    I love the basket of different colored eggs. It’s one of the reasons why I have a flock of many breeds as well.

    • I missed collecting an egg, and it was frozen solid the next day – but didn’t crack. I let it thaw and it was fine. Delicious, in fact.

  2. Love the egg carrier! The colors of your eggs are just fabulous. I glad your getting full quota from your girls and wtg Veronica. What a sweet hen. We lost one of ours this week. Luna, my big, white, fluffy Delaware. I was hurt, but Doc was heart broken. We don’t know what happened to her. We put her to bed the night before and she was perfectly normal. Doc checked on them about three hours later and she jumped off the roost to greet him in the dark. He had a flashlight. Next morning, he went out and found her laying at the bottom of the roost. He said she was always awkward on the roost where she was so big. We just don’t know. I’m watching the rest of the flock for illness. Seems there’s quite a bit of sneezes, but that’s all. Droppings are normal and all are eating and drinking. Egg production is slightly down from 6-7 eggs to 4-5 a day. We’ll just keep watching.

    • I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Chickens can die from all sorts of ailments, like heart disease, that we don’t see any signs of until they’re gone. We also have been seeing sniffles come and go in the last two weeks. But not sneezes. Continue to keep a close eye on your girls! A splash of apple cider vinegar in the drinking water can be a good tonic for a flock on the verge of illness.

  3. Oh, aren’t those pretty eggs! Co-incidently, I ordered your new book from Amazon this morning, and last weekend I located a farmer who sells (very proudly) a whole “rainbow” of eggs in a variety of sizes that add up to extra large. The biggest was a light brown egg with dark speckles, and another tan one had the name “Ruby” pencilled on it; both were yummy!! And here in DC the cardinals and titmice have started to sing again, so spring can’t be too far away :)

    • Thank you for ordering my book! It’ll be cherry blossom season there before you know it (and maybe before I see the ground here. A foot of snow is predicted for Thursday.)

  4. 14 below zero this morning, yet with the increased daylight and (currently) sunny skies, my 8 girls are laying between 4-6 eggs daily! Yes, this gives us great hope during these brutally cold winter days. I’m excited to be using delicious fresh eggs once again in my kitchen with great abandon! YES!

  5. Delighted that the Ladies are producing for you. The variety of colours and shades in the eggs is a pleasure to behold and I get that from my mixed flock, ranging from the dark terracotta of the Welsummers to the almost white of the Blue Australorp. Here, on the other side of the Atlantic, production has also picked up, although my bantams lay less well than large fowl. Unlike you (and unlike the past 3 winters), we have had no snow as yet, although temperatures were around freezing this morning. One of my two silkies has been producing eggs on 4 consecutive days, then missing a day – or at least she did, for just over 3 weeks – but now deems her clutch completed and is again broody. As you once described Betsy Ross, she is one “pesky bantam”, taking up prime nest boxes. I’ve banished her to the anti-broody coop, but suspect she’ll continue for several weeks.

    • We call them “pesky” but we enjoy them just the same. I never bothered trying the anti-broody on the bantams. It does break the broodiness, and then they just get right back to it.

  6. I have 8 one year old Lohman hens.
    During their first year we had almost constantly 8 huge eggs from them every day.
    Since this is my first year of wintering chickens, I expected them to slow down their production
    quite a bit but so far we still get mostly 7, sometimes 6 and sometimes 8 eggs per day.

    What totally caught me off guard was, when we had a couple really
    mild days 2 weeks ago. So mild, that I opened the door for the first
    time since beginning of October to let them out.
    They totally enjoyed it and after the 1st day of running outside, we
    had !!!! 13 !!!! eggs!! From 8 chickens!!
    I still can’t believe it. The day before and after that they had their “usual” production of 7 eggs.

    We thought they might have wanted to show their gratitude for being let outside ;-)

  7. Terry, beautiful eggs! Congrats…..6 out of 6 is wonderful! The Little Barn is in high gear! How about The Gems? What is your daily egg count in the Big Barn? I’ve seen a Speckled Sussex and your Buff Orp in the nests but none of the others.

    My hens are approaching 8 months old and all 6 are in high gear. I collect 5 to 6 eggs daily. I end up giving some to family and friends. Oh and I just love fresh egg salad sandwiches! =)

    • The Gems are leaving only an egg or two a day. Japser, Amber, and a few others are regulars. Misty, despite her nervous energy, is also a good layer. But it’s not daily, like with the Ladies.

      • Is Misty still trying to eat feathers from the Gems, or they still chasing her off from getting too close ? Though Pearl being so gentle might let her get close and eat her feathers.

        • I haven’t spent enough time observing to know for sure, but both flocks are nicely peaceful, with the hens all roosting and foraging together.

  8. Oh, how I groan in envy over everyone’s fresh eggs!!!

    It was 0 degress for us last night. The days are getting longer here as well, though. I was coming back from picking up a replacement Hermit Crab (one died) and realized the horizon was still streaked with color at 6 pm. And this morning I was checking out an American Goldfinch and it’s head looked liked it might be getting more yellow than olive green (or maybe desperate wishful thinking on my part :) ). I can’t wait for warmer weather! (And farm stands with fresh eggs!)

  9. They are such pretty eggs! Here in England, we rescue hens that have been intensively farmed for their eggs. Once they pass their peak, they are sent for slaughter to be made into cat food or into cheap pies :o( . I rescued 3 in December and they havent stopped laying as yet! They have new feathers growing (they arrive almost bald due to living in an A4 size space) and they have learnt to eat treats and free range.

    • Kim, I think that is wonderful you were able to adopt your hens, that is a great group you have in the UK, the Hen Rescue Trust. I tried looking into something like that here in the US but no luck. I think here they keep it secret so folks don’t know what happens to the chickens when they get “old.”

  10. Terry, you commented on how cold it is by me…which is just east of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Thought you might enjoy knowing you and your menagerie have a devoted hem cam fan in NE Wisconsin. :)
    We have had the coldest winter in something like 20 years with piles and piles of snow, too. This week’s forecast is looking good though with a break in the mid-20’s from Wed. on. HOPEFULLY.

    I’m on my third flock with a young group of 8 mixed breeds that I acquired in early October. I have learned so much from you and thank you for that. Your practical and sensible approach to chicken-keeping has been great. I am sad that I haven’t been able to get any businesses within reasonable distance from my home to carry “Koop Clean” and am jealous every time I look in on your girls!

  11. After a very cold (for coastal CA) spell in December, we have had balmy conditions, sunny days, and night temps in the low 40s but I am still eagerly waiting for my almost two year old girls to start laying again. Scarlett decided that she would start molting in the beginning of January so she’s out of action for another month. After molting in Oct/Nov, Henny laid 5 eggs in December but has not laid one since. It is just my trooper, Amelia, who is laying an egg every other day. No egg salad or custard for us in the near future!

  12. A coue weeks ago, I walked into my hen house, just as I was about to grab the eggs that were in the nest box, I heard ceack crack crack crack crack they all cracked at the exact moment I reached for them…

  13. I am very happy to say we are back to our usual coastal weather and the Hens thanked us(as if we had anything to do with it), with 5 eggs per 5 girls that are laying. Our Orpington was very late moulting so isn`t back to laying yet and the whitish hybred? is over 3 yrs now and hardly ever produces an egg anymore. We could almost be fooled into thinking it was Spring here. :)

  14. Lovely picture. Certainly “Spring” cannot be far behind. It looks like you have colored some beautiful Easter eggs. We are anticipating a storm here in East Tn. Got our furnace fixed today so we are ready. I am sending something to you and the boys!

  15. So, your post made me hungry for eggs and I went out and bought a dozen. Must be like washing your car causing a rainstorm because I found two eggs tonight! Henny is back in action!

  16. My girls had thier first molts, so eggs are few and precious, actually had to buy eggs, I bought organic, but could not believe the color difference of the yolks compared to my girls. New babies coming in april, here we go again, they are a lot of work, but I love those chickens! One of the girls keeps dropping an egg from the roost, overnight, so its a broken frozen mess in the morning, is this a normal chicken trait?

    • It happens, (I found one this morning) but hopefully she’ll get in sync with daylight and laying. Sometimes they drop at the roosts because they haven’t settled down during the day to go into the nesting boxes.

  17. I recently found your site while searching for “winter chicken care”. I’ve a question about how to introduce chicks to a new area. I have a couple of bantys that were given to me (full size), but I plan to get a half-dozen Rhode Island Reds to increase my flock as soon as the local store begins their “chick and bunny days” in March. Anything I should know about introducing new chicks to a couple of full grown (albeit, half-size) chickens? The primary planned environment will be a “tractor” type run with incorporated coop. Any help would be appreciated. Jp