After dealing with work stress (ongoing!) and some health things that needed taken care of , I’ve been away for too long. Add nearly two feet of snow, constant cold and, well, me, the girl who gets cold at 70 degrees–
Let’s just say I’ve been hibernating.
A few things have been going on, as we plan for this next year and some improvements to our property and our gardens, but we are mostly in hiatus. I have some new arrivals to show you, and there is a list of more to come, but I’ll save that for later.
I’m not here to talk about just me. Or just you, and a problem you may have had or may start having or may have nightmares of having. It’s about the hens.
Those egg-eating hens.
I started suspecting it sometime in January, as we’d get a stray egg here or there and then nothing. The Delawares laid for a week solid, and the Welsummers were the only ones to give us a handful of eggs a week as winter dragged on. We ate all the eggs that were put up in the freezer, and I have been guarding our now half-dozen eggs carefully. They’re valuables. When, like us, you can easily go through 2-3 dozen eggs in a week (breakfast, baked goods, pasta)–eggs are key sustenance.
But the eggs would disappear here and there. Sometimes I’d see a piece of a shell, but I would also find an egg for me. It wasn’t so common I was worried. Just common enough to be a thought–maybe it wasn’t an accident, so to speak.
Then I would find shells on the ramp up to the coop. A stray shell in a corner, if I looked hard enough.
I think one of my chickens is eating my eggs. And I think it’s one of my hens.
And I think, if I find her, I’m going to eat her.
We have been thinking of how to get those pesky Welsummers to lay in the boxes, and not on the ground. And how to get the egg eating to stop, and to hope against all hope it’s just one hen and she hasn’t taught the others. So on Saturday we laid the pine shavings on real thick. We picked out the spots where it looked like some old egg damage had been done. We bought more packs of golf balls and laid them 2-3 in each nest box.
We cut up old jeans and stapled them to the nesting boxes, a long overdue move.
Don’t judge the poop. We keep a clean coop, but I can’t spend every cleaning day repainting the walls to keep up with these messy birds.
It felt right. And soon after we did this, we got an egg. Left the house, came home–one more egg. It didn’t seem right. An Ameraucana egg and an Ancona egg, but my Welsummers should be laying. My Delawares should be laying. My Marans are much slower.
Then I looked closely and in the fresh pine shavings, egg yolks. No shell, but surely some egg yolk from some nasty hen ruining my breakfast.
So, I’m sorry to say that, unless she stops herself, as soon as I figure out which hen (please say it’s just one!) is eating my eggs, she’s going to be dinner shortly thereafter.
How can I be expected to hatch chicks if I can’t even eat breakfast?
Note: If you, like me, weren’t proactive and haven’t covered your nesting boxes, I highly recommend it. We dragged our feet until we finally had a pile of jeans. Even aside from the egg eating, it was a smart move that we should have done a long time ago. Jeans are sturdy enough that they should hold up to the environment, and this way we are reusing something that would otherwise go to trash (too many holes to be worth donating or saving).