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.
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.
Posted by Perri at 10:07 AM