This makes sense. Egg production takes a lot of energy, and it’s now really cold outside. (If given the choice of staying warm or laying eggs in the dark and cold, which would you choose?) Similarly, the majority of the girls have just passed their second season, so all five of these two-year-olds are moulting. Feather making takes energy too, especially in the winter. So we have some mighty foolish looking birds strutting around the snowy henyard right now. The only ones sporting every feather are Beatrice (the oldest) and Patty (the baby).
The pinch-hitting guineas, who are also two years old, are moulting too. They give Pauline a run for her money in terms of looking mangy. I was going to relocate these three guineas to the freezer but I really should do it when they’ve got their feathers: plucking pinfeathers is not what I call a fun time. Unlike the chickens, egg-laying in guineas is definitely seasonal: usually from April to September, then fuhgeddabout an egg until next year. If you can find where they lay them, that is.
So the seasonality of it all is hitting me, right when I get antsy to make some pies and custard. Darn. I will just have to wait, cease our usual breakfasts of eggs, and start getting stingy. I’m getting an egg a day now, which means I can have a cake in 3 days, a custard in 6…
*Of course there are things we can do to increase production. We can trick them by keeping a light on in their coop at night, as exposure to a single bulb will have them thinking spring is here again. We can keep them in the coop year-round, with the lights on: with just one light the coop stays above freezing. But, well, why push it? I will just hoard eggs and put a light on in the coop for these extreme cold nights (like last night when it dropped down to 10*).