So I have this problem. Last year, I ordered my first chickens, they arrived first week of June, aww, so cute, etc. etc. October arrives, we start to get a few tiny wee eggs, so far so good. Spring and summer are glorious, eggs all over the place. Brown ones, Blue ones, Green ones. Fall hits, and you know what comes next. Molting. The girls take a well-deserved vacation from egg production. Here we are, mid-December, the days still getting shorter, and the last 2 hens still looking a bit peaky from the molt. Of COURSE we're not getting any eggs from them, and here we go. Hubby starts griping about the cost of feed and freeloading useless hens and they laid eggs all LAST winter so what's the deal? In vain do I point out that WINTER is, biologically speaking, a Very Bad Time to hatch baby chicks. I bring up the FACT that if he were to magically acquire baby chicks tomorrow it would be freaking June at the earliest before he could expect eggs every day. And the babies would consume vast quantities of feed, even more so than our hens who free range and eat less feed because of that thank you very much. I mention that if we simply *wait until March at the very latest* our trusty 18 month old hens will start popping out lovely large size mature eggs, not the tiny little pullet eggs you get from new layers. None of it registers. It's all "You've become emotionally attached. I'm not going to feed them all winter just because you've grown to regard them as pets. If I don't see eggs in 3 weeks they're going to the stew pot." I keep telling him if he wants to know where the feed went it's down to the dozen freaking roosters way out back in the other coop, which he "hasn't had time" to process, despite me asking for a date upon which I will HELP send them all to freezer camp. But no, my 6 perfectly healthy, tame, easy going layer hens with easily two more years of solid production ahead of them are the ones with the target on their backs. I would also be willing to bet money once the stupid extra roosters are out of the picture, the young hens who are just beginning to lay here and there will pop out plenty of cute little pullet eggs. Sigh. I just have to get the man to stop and THINK about it for five minutes. I've told him he's throwing away a five dollar bill in order to save a quarter, but it's just not getting through! My one saving grace is if he "doesn't have time" to process the extra roosters, he won't "have time" to do my poor girls a mischief either. I put a string of solar-powered LED lights in there thinking a wee bit of extra light can't hurt, and may get them back on track to lay before March. Any tips, articles, commiseration? I'm already exhausted because we just got 2 goats on Friday night, and I've been anxious about how they're adjusting to their new home, I've never had goats before so if they even so much as sneeze my first reflex is to worry (even though rationally I can see they are the very picture of healthy happy pregnant goats, and I talk myself down, it's still exhausting). And now two of the kids are down with a stomach bug, which will quite probably make its way through the whole rest of the family in the next week. Yay.