So I hustle over to Double Check Ranch's booth. "Have the coyotes eaten your chickens?" I ask the rancher.
"No, but we haven't had any eggs for 2 weeks now. As soon as the weather starts to change, the hens stop laying eggs." Oh man! "I'll be back to get some beef later!" I exclaim, as I spy a dozen eggs over at Chili Acres.
I dash over there to talk to the farmer. The table displayed dozen is his last. "Chickens haven't been laying much lately" he tells me. Sitting beside him is a friendly rustic wearing over-alls with a "Recall Pearce" button (Russell Pearce is the self declared emperor of the Arizona legislature, and there's an active movement to hold a recall election against him due to his draconian anti-immigration, xenophobic, 'solve problems that don't exist' political mindset, like SB1070). I said to the rustic "I like your Pearce button" to which he replied "He should be shot!" .. a strong reaction, that took DDF and I aback momentarily. DDF congenially replied "No, don't shoot him. that's what he'd do. Just get him out of office with the recall." My wife, the consummate peace-maker. As I purchased the last dozen eggs Chili Acres had, two other customers eagerly inquired if there were anymore. Nope - no more.
As I googled about seasonal oviparity I found a great deal of research (links here, here, and here to name a few). It's a well researched phenomenon, but I was unaware of it. After my Chili Acres dozen is eaten, I thought I might get more eggs at Costco, who carries a "cage free" & "organic" 18 pack from Hidden Villa Ranch at a reasonable price ( ~ $5 I think). As I looked up Hidden Villa, I was comforted to find they are the makers of the delicious Horizon organic butter I use too! Yes, they have some very large, industrial sized hen houses at some of their locations, but they at least seem to "care" and proudly carry lines of organic dairy products.
|Hickman's Proudly displaying a new mass production pen|
I will continue to patronize my local, healthy, sustainable, friendly, human & humane farmers and ranchers whose hens and ducks lay dark yellow nutrient rich yoked eggs, and avoid the factory industrial farms whenever possible. And, I'll take a note that when the 100F temperatures return next March or April, that seasonal variations lead to irregular egg laying.