Hens on holiday: 3 strategies for eggless living

A few years ago, a family friend asked one of our daughters, “So, where do you buy eggs when your hens stop laying?” My daughter replied that we never buy eggs. He responded with disbelief, and my daughter told him that we had not bought eggs since our first hens started laying in 2002. The friend had a hard time understanding how we lived without eggs during the winter months, but it’s really not that unbelievable. Here are some simple strategies for living without eggs during the months when chickens don’t normally lay eggs.

1) We know the hens will stop laying, so we plan ahead. When we see that the egg production is slowing down, we slow down our consumption of eggs. We stop making quiches and eating eggs for breakfast and only use eggs in baked goods where they are absolutely necessary.

2) We use recipes without eggs. There are so many things to eat other than eggs. But if we get a craving for something that normally uses eggs, we create our own recipes! As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and without eggs one cold winter, I invented the most amazing chocolate chip muffin recipe.

3) We look forward to spring! If you have chickens in a part of the country where they stop laying during the winter, then you know that when they start up again in the spring, they lay so much that you are suddenly drowning in eggs! After not having eggs for a few months, we are happy to be eating them two or three times a day — egg drop soup, homemade noodles, creme brulee pie, pudding, omelets for breakfast, boiled eggs on salad for lunch, quiche for dinner, and more!

Why don’t our hens lay eggs this time of year?

In case you’re wondering why we don’t have eggs in the winter, it’s because the days are too short for the hens to continue laying. Commercial farms use artificial lighting to fool the girls into laying twelve months a year, but on our farm, we think that if nature dictates that the girls need a holiday, the girls should have a holiday.

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