Sunday, May 2, 2010

Egg Hunting

I have been busy, sorry about not posting sooner, will try and catch everyone up.  Sarah injured her left ankle at home on the way to play practice,  so Annmarie had to drive her over to the hospital the next day (she wasn't wanting to bear any weight on it).  She ended up with a bad sprain, took it easy for a couple of days and is now able to walk around with her aircast (ankle splint).  We went and saw her in the play last night.  It was good.  I so would have been in drama class if we had had it available.  It was a cute play, "Til Death Do Us Part".  She has one more weekend of the play then it is back to swim team four nights a week.

I have been having issues with the chickens stashing eggs in unapproved locations.  They are not consulting me before finding a new nest.  I have seven boxes in the coop for 33 hens.  So 5 hens/box, and they are large boxes so more than one hen can fit at a time.  Trouble is the cat took over one to have kittens in.  I thought this was going to be an issue, but not so much.  I find the kitten curled around 2-4 eggs every day!  The chickens just jump in there and lay an egg.  If the momma cat is in there they just lay it near the front.  The real trouble is I have two hens trying to go broody on me.  Annmarie has forbidden me from having any more chicks until I start killing chickens off.  I am up to 54 chickens if you include the babies that are 8 weeks old now.  I am starting to run out of space.  So those two brooders are just like squatters.  They camp out and won't let anyone else use the box.  I had already added a door to the old wood/coal shed.  The chickens were sneaking over to the coal side and laying eggs.  I gated that section temporarily ( hog wire panel and a tarp covering it) until I have time to add a wooden gate (stairs have to be done inside before I can start on the outside again).  So I was out collecting eggs yesterday (child is still on injured duty) in the wood shed (unapproved laying region) and looked over in the far corner and spotted some eggs.


Of course there were not supposed to be any over there.  Their unofficial spot is just across the wire along the back wall so I can just reach through and collect them.  I had to move the fence and collect them.  Of course I don't know how old they are (less than 6 days, probably 4, but not positive) so they get to become chicken food.  I didn't have a basket so I just gathered them up a few at a time and placed them on the ground through the fence.  Sprout and Bailey were running around and Sprout was sniffing the eggs and then he ran outside.  I threw all the eggs at a stump to break them open for the chickens and cats.  Every once in a while the chickens get in the way and get thumped with an egg.  They really don't like that.  I found 13 eggs in that nest.  Last month alone I wasted 48 eggs from the chickens not complying with my plan.  Plus, I don't want to sell eggs that I am not sure of the age.  Scares some of the customers.  So, Sprout ran around the yard for about 10 minutes until Annmarie let him in.  She noticed he had something in his mouth.



It was a whole chicken egg!!  He had been carrying it around the whole time after he snatched it.  He had not broken it.  It had a few teeth marks, but he had not broken the egg.  He is a little thief, you have to be careful with setting down tools when he is around also.  I never would have guessed that he could get an entire egg in his mouth.  He weighs just under 10#.

I did go out and add another temporary nest box in the coop and a semipermanent/temporary one in the wood shed.  I also moved a bunch of stuff in the corner to make it so the chickens won't want to go lay eggs over there.