Sunday, January 12, 2014

Being Sneaky: A Chickie Update

Last I wrote about the ladies, poor Elsa was having a rough go with her molting.  The others were taking advantage of her sickly state and were asserting their dominance more than ever. Well, she got all better and her feathers came back to their full glory.

The other three went into their molt a few weeks later, and Elsa, being the sweet dumb thing that she is, didn't take the opportunity to retaliate.  I was a bit worried about the others though, because in the middle of their molt was when we had that super cold snap where it was getting down to the teens at night and never above freezing during the day for about 5 days. This was definitely the closest I have gotten to knitting them sweaters. But they got through it with extra corn scratch and hot meals in the morning and are all back to full plumage.

Here are some shots of the sad looking molters:

During their molt, they didn't eat much, which was pretty darn noticeable. This meant they weren't pooping much either, so Shawn, who has been on poop duty for the last several months, got a bit of a break too.  In the last several weeks though, their eating picked up and we were thinking this meant they were prepping to lay again. Granted, we figured since the days were still so short that we would probably see some eggs in early February. 

Boy, were we wrong.

Shawn went out this morning to let the ladies out and Abby was nowhere to be found. A peek inside the coop found her sitting in the corner on a PILE of eggs. Nine of them to be exact.  At first we thought she'd gone broody and we were going to have to intervene with some serious debroodifying.  But it turns out she was just adding to the pile.  

Since laying in a dark corner makes for egg collecting to be a pain in the ass, we changed out the old bedding in their nest boxes, which seems to have worked since we found an egg in the box later.

So there you go.  Another laying season has begun and it looks like it's gonna be a good one again.  By the way, this is season number four for Abby and Frannie and number three for Pearl and Elsa. I'm thinking this is a bit uncanny since everything you read says egg production drops by season three. I guess this is just the beginning so we'll see.  I'm thinking happy healthy chickens just means more eggs.

The pile found this morning:

They did a good job making a nice nest in the corner...

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