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Cold temperatures affecting egg production
Published Wednesday, March 6, 2019 5:04PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, March 6, 2019 7:01PM CST
The recent cold temperatures are causing a slowdown in egg production among poultry farmers.
For Cindy Patterson and her family of seven, the frigid temperatures have meant less food.
Chickens lay fewer eggs when it's extremely cold because it’s less likely the chicks would survive. And eggs are a central part of the diet for the Pattersons.
"It’s not like it’s something we could do without. We really did need (the eggs) and it was kind of a big hit to the pocketbook. It's really frustrating to have 40 chickens and have to need to go buy eggs," she said.
She normally has approximately 150 chickens, but after a disastrous autumn, where about 100 were killed by foxes and raccoons, her flock has been reduced to about 40. And where she could usually count on 20 eggs per day she was finding only two.
“When there are seven of you who eat about a dozen eggs a day two eggs a day doesn't quite cut it," she said.
The lack of eggs is especially significant because the Pattersons are homesteaders — people who strive to produce their own food.
Patterson chose to be a homesteader to have more control, and less concern, over what she was eating.
"When you buy eggs in the store you don't know how those animals were treated and you don't know what they were fed and you don't know what kind of life they had. For us raising our own animals is important because we can see how they were raised."
On their farm, located near Leross, the Pattersons have a variety of animals, including cows, goats and turkeys, all of which are farmed and are potentially on the menu. Patterson estimates that they produce about 95 per cent of the protein that they consume. But eggs have always been central.
"We eat eggs for breakfast. We boil up eggs for our kids to have for lunches and snacks and for baking our own bread and for cookies and that sort of thing for school," she said.
Patterson has bought eggs and traded with other homesteaders to acquire the amount that she needs. She’s looking to replenish her chicken coop back to its full size. She knows she will have to buy some hens but will try to raise most of the birds she needs herself. She hopes to have a full flock by the summer.