What Time Should I Expect You?

Mourning Dove_FCNC-CO_LAH_0385.nefWhen does migration bring new birds to Colorado? I’ve been pondering that question ever since I started birding. As a gardener with years of experience, I know when to plant each crop or flower. I know that 70° afternoons can be followed by 3° nights. Yes, April is like that—don’t be fooled.

But migration varies from species to species, and even sometimes from year to year. Instead of learning when to set out a dozen veggie varieties, I have to become familiar with the timing of hundreds of birds. For the most part, that’s still a huge mystery to me.

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Culling the Flock

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I have nine hens in my chicken coop: six pullets that have just started laying small eggs, and three aging biddies who lay huge eggs… once in a while. We love the jumbo eggs—one per person is enough for breakfast—but we are only finding three or four per week, whereas the six pullets are together laying five or six eggs per day. In the meantime, the hens are all munching down on laying pellets at pretty much the same pace.

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Eggs!

pullet-eggs_lah_2165After a fox attack last spring, we’re down to only three aging hens and six five-month-old pullets. Instead of giving eggs to all our friends, I’ve had to buy them at the market. So this morning, after being out of town for the weekend, I walked out to the coop hoping to find an egg, or maybe two. Instead, there were close to a dozen!

Yup. A month ahead of schedule, our new pullets have become egg laying hens.

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