Sunday, November 21, 2010


Maggie's Farm takes this free-ranging thing seriously. Our 30-some chickens hang out under the porch and on the porch, in the barn and pasture, under the apple trees and, if the kids leave the van door open, IN the vehicles (yes, it's happened. Really). They are happy birds, lucky to be engaging in full-time poultry politics. (Chickens are born politicians. Anyone who's spent any time around the coop can imagine them in little powersuits nodding and "yes-ing", and jockeying for position.)

But they've quit laying eggs.

There was a period of diminishing returns-- 3 or 4 eggs a day in September and now, zero, zilch, bubkus. (I have no idea how to spell bubkus) They have a light in their coop to stave off the afternoon darkness. They have food and fresh air and water. They have lovely nest boxes full of comfy shavings.

But.... Nothing.

Now, many of our hens are elderly. "Fancy Feather" and "Chicklee", "Sandy" and "Rangey" are over 7 years old now. But there are also many younger hens who have no good excuse.

I wonder if the non-egg laying is a silent protest. Our male-to-female poultry ratio is terribly skewed at present. We have about 8 young and cocky roosters, survivors of this summer's fox attacks. As roos are wont to do, they sneak around waiting to catch the biddies away from the flock. Jaguar, our dominant rooster has his hands (wings) full fighting them off.

Now, I'm all for converting these young roos into chicken soup. But my better half has a bit less enthusiasm for this project. He started it a few weeks ago when I was out of town, managed one rooster before he lost his resolve and called it a day....Yes, he's a softy :)

And so, while we lurch through endless "what to do with the roosters" debates, the hens continue their protest

And we go eggless.


Chai Chai said...

Just the time of the year, the eggs will be back.

Perri said...

I hope so. I bought eggs for the first time in a long while today-- "cage free" of course :)

Ariel Swan said...

Oh roosters. I'd give you the number of our savior - but I don't think he is looking to start a new business. My husband was depressed for days after the doing in of Red the we are so glad it is done. I can't imagine eight. OMG. Maybe there is someone who can help you - if not - someone will have to overcome the softness - because 8 roosters will lead to...more roosters and lots of fighting. Right? Or - pray for more fox I guess.

Lisa said...

We are also eggless in Southern NH. Mine are moulting and i dont use light in their coop so i have expected it... half... last year I got a few eggs daily... this year


(you're right, i dont know how to spell that either)