Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No Eggs For YOU!

 We got our chickens starting back in February. We raised then from day old chicks.

We lost their coop to storms twice- the first time was bad, the second didn't hurt so much. It took awhile to get it rebuilt permanently but we chose a better protected location, beneath a stand of trees, where they were shaded and protected from most winds.

At the end of July all the work and the whole reason for our raising chickens paid off- they started laying! It started slowly, just one egg a day, then 2. Up to 4, on average, a day. Some days we'd just get 3 and some 5.
We ended up with a stock pile and started giving them away.

 Belly Button has been our primary chicken wrangler. We let them out in the morning and feed them, but after that she waters them, feeds them in the evening, collects the eggs and puts them away at night.

About a month ago we lost one of our 5. A Rhode Island Red. We only had 2 of those. My husband found it dead in the hen house one morning. It seemed odd to us, as there were no signs of foul (no pun intended) play and all of them were healthy.

Later that same day the neighbor's dog, who had been hanging around for a few weeks, going home only on occasion (I figure to eat), got into the chicken coop.
The kids had been playing outside and came running, screaming and crying, because of the awful sound coming from the chickens. My husband and I ran out as fast as we could. It took my husband all his self control to keep from hurting the dog. (Don't think too harsh of him- these are not just chickens, but have become part of our family and instinct is to protect.) He brought the dog (and the dead chicken) home and warned the owner to keep him locked up. We worked so hard for these girls, to loose them to a way ward dog would be devastating.

And the scare to the kids, the noises, the thought of them being killed, all the feathers he tore out, has been hard on them. 

Chickens can be delicate things. They scare easily. And can suffer heart attacks from nothing more than a scare. We think that's what happened to our girl that night. He got in but couldn't get to them because they were locked in their house. The scare gave her a heart attack.

The day after the attack they stopped laying. There's been a few eggs, 5 total I think. Only one of which we were able to retrieve. The other eggs are being broken by the chickens before we can get them. We can't figure out why they're doing that, breaking them that is. So now we have chickens that aren't laying and we're not sure if they ever will regularly again. It's like they're saying "No eggs for YOU!"