Monday, July 12, 2010

"O Eggs, Eggs, Wherefore Art Thou Eggs?"

Yes, the great egg conundrum continues. It appears Charlotte, Nellie, and Swoope have decided to continue their strike. : . . ( <-That’s me with tears! We have now had our three chickens for almost 60 days. When we purchased them (at an increased cost, mind you, due to their “perfect” egg-laying age) we were told they were between 5 and 6 months old. Seeing as how EVERYTHING I’ve read says they usually start laying around 6 months, and in some cases 4-6 weeks earlier, I’d say we’re overdue for some chicken love!

We just can’t figure it out. They have more than ample space in their coop (probably enough for at least 10 hens), golf balls in their nesting boxes as hints, they free range at least 6 hours/day (and yes – I am 99.99% sure they are not laying outside the coop), layer pellets are freely available to them at the slightest whim, and I even make them a blend of oats, flax, sunflowers, soy beans, lentils, cantaloupe, etc., etc. a few times a week for a meal. We diligently head out each morning to check on them and let them out of the coop. Just once we’d like to see an honest to goodness chicken egg. It pains me to have to buy them from the supermarket when I know we have perfectly good chickens taking over our backyard but nothing to show for it! We did have a hot spell a few weeks ago of 100 degree weather, but for the last week & a half it’s been 88-93 and I just don’t think that is too hot for them to lay.

So the only thing we can come up with is that when we bought them we were hoodwinked into believing they were older than they are. I’ve read that the pigment on their beaks, legs, and elsewhere changes color based on where they are in the egg production process. This isn’t helping me much. One thing that we have noticed is the huge variation in combs & wattles between the three. The Brown Leghorn (a.k.a Swoope) has always been the more diminutive bird (size-wise – let’s not talk about attitude-wise!). But in the last week or two her comb & wattles have at least tripled in size (hopefully she’s not a rooster – haven’t ever heard a peep out of her so I think we are safe on that front).

Next up is the Barred Rock (a.k.a. Charlotte). While she is the biggest physically, her comb & wattles fall in the middle size-wise, though I still think they are quite small.

And finally we come to the Black Sex-Link (a.k.a. Nellie). Her comb & wattles are almost nonexistent! I really thought they’d be bigger by now. I’m sure they haven’t grown since she was a month old!

Anyone out there in the blogosphere have any suggestions? Or were we blessed with three completely healthy hens that will never lay a single golden egg? Forget gold – I’d be ecstatic with a white! - Carrie

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