My colleagues are happy because they get to buy fresh eggs for less than the store price, and I am happy because the money I receive covers the feed and the eggs my family eats.
About a quarter of the households in my village keep chickens, which helps explain why the little shop on Main Street never stocks eggs. Yes, eggs are an abundant commodity around here, or at least they were.
It started with one of my chicken-keeping neighbors revealing that her hens had stopped laying and then asking if I had any eggs to spare. Two days later, another neighbor with hens informed me that he was the victim of a sudden and unexpected egg shortage. I cut back on the amount I take to colleagues and now supply both neighbors with eggs every week, too.
Though it is normal for chickens to slow down or stop laying during the winter, mine stay productive year-round. Last winter, my original nine hens were consistent, with only a minor reduction in overall weekly totals.
The same trend seems to be at play so far this year. While my neighbors' hens have decided to take time off, mine are still going strong.
I think the secret lies in light. Most hens naturally slow down or stop laying as the days shorten, but if they get at least twelve hours of light a day, they will generally stay productive throughout the winter months. Unlike my eggless neighbors, I provide my chickens with two or three hours of light in the mornings and have found that it helps keep them productive.
I have encountered conflicting opinions regarding chickens and light. Some say it is detrimental; others claim the opposite. My experience informs me that a little extra light does not harm. On the contrary, my chickens generally look healthier and, I dare say, happier than other chickens in my neighborhood.
No light, no eggs.
If I were eggless, I could not be the eggman. And where would my neighbors, colleagues, and family be without the eggman?