Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Eggly

I haven't done a chicken update in a while and since we've had some very important developments, I figured it was high time I got on the ball.

Earlier this afternoon, the girls eating a mix of honey dew,
uncooked oatmeal, and leftover pasta/sauce

The Good News
Finally, after many months of watching and waiting with bated breath, Charlotte, our Barred-Rock, started laying large light brown eggs exactly one month ago. I don't think it was a coincidence that it happened literally the day after Jason went out and had a heart-to-heart with her - he said, and I quote, "Do you want to be part of breakfast or part of dinner?" Fortunately for her, she chose the former! For a total of three blissful days we had all three chickens giving us their delectable treats.

The Bad News
On day four of egg-heaven Swoope, our Brown Leghorn (and most prolific layer), didn't produce an egg. OK, not a problem, she usually takes a break every fourth or fifth day. Here's the problem - her "break" hasn't ended. It has been three weeks since she laid her last egg. Seemingly nothing is wrong with her - she's eating and drinking fine, hopping/flying over the fence every chance she gets (because the grass is always greener on the other side - in this case it literally is), poop is normal, no mites or bugs that I can see, and she's still going up into the nesting box at least every other day - I think she's just teasing us. Oh, and nothing appears to be popping out of orifices it shouldn't be. We have no clue what is going on with her. The other two are still laying strong. It's just such a bummer. If it isn't one hen it's another! Being newbies at chicken keeping we don't profess to know a thing. So those of you out there with more experience - any ideas on what could possibly be going on with her? Any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! -Carrie

Picture of Swoope taken just today as I caught her sitting on "her" golfballs. She seems to be spending alot of time in that box. Should I take out the balls? They certainly know where they are supposed to lay by now.


5 comments:

  1. She's on strike! You should increase her pay :)

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  2. What Pigs Don't KnowOctober 22, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    HaHa! The problem is if you ask Jason these are already the highest paid hens around. Oatmeal, lentils, flax seed, sunflower seeds, cantaloupe, apples...the list goes on and on. These girls have it made! -Carrie
    PS - Thanks for visiting our site by the way!

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  3. Are they free to roam the property? If so, she may still be laying, just not in the nest box. I have about 40 chickens and they are truly free range meaning they are not fenced at all. For the most part, they use the nest boxes provided in the coop, but every once in a while they seek out other places. It seems like right now is one of those times! I was getting about 18/day on a regular basis in the nest boxes and now I'm lucky if I find 4! Usually I can find where they are laying, but it's been a few weeks and so far nothing! I feel your pain :)
    Kelly

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  4. LOL, loved Jason's heart-to-heart!

    Have they started moulting? I understand that's when they lay off laying. That and shorter hours of daylight. I'm watching my egg production with baited breath, because I'm really going to miss all those eggs once the winter dearth sets in.

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  5. What Pigs Don't KnowOctober 25, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    Kelly -
    I'd be so upset if I had 40 hens and only got 4 eggs in one day! As for Swoope, while she does have access to "the outside world" (if she jumps over the fence), we have never come home to find her outside the chicken area. Occasionally when we're home we'll see that she's flown over, but that's usually in the first few minutes (we have a small house and a very small yard so it's hard NOT to notice these things). So - no, in this case I don't think she's laying outside the coop, but good idea!

    Leigh -
    No signs of molting yet. I think it must just be the shorter hours in the day affecting her the most. It seems too that her egg production may be related to the temperature - but not in the traditional sense. I never imagined that she'd be popping out one a day when we had over 30 days straight of 100+ (and usually 103-105) degree weather this summer. I'd heard they stop laying when it gets too hot. Now we're in the uber-pleasant 60s, 70s, and 80s, and the "cold" is just too much for her delicate system to handle! -Carrie

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