Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A bad chicken day

People have been asking how the chickens fare in this frigid, polar vortex, weather. Frankly, they're fine. They have down coats on, and our job is to keep the draft off and keep them dry. Check. Check.

Today I am home sick, but wanted to check on eggs because they do freeze fast in this weather. Our nest box has a seedling heating mat on its floor, which is on a timer to keep the nest box warm during the day. This is less for bird comfort and more to keep eggs from freezing, but we were hoping it would entice birds to lay in the nice cozy comfort of a warmed space.

Throw that idea out. Today I found three eggs. One in the box, one frozen solid on the floor of the coop, and one - oh shit - broken and being eaten by three of the birds on the floor of the run. I quickly scooped up the runny mess and threw it in the compost.

I returned to the coop to remove the frozen egg off the floor. I could see see it an access window. I went to open the window and the latch broke in the locked position. I literally couldn't get to the egg. I went into the house to get a screwdriver to remove the latch and open the door. By the time I got back, the birds were circling the egg in the coop. I don't know if they had tried to crack it open because it was frozen solid but they were definitely interested in it.

Any chicken owner knows egg eating is one of the horrors of owning chickens. Once they taste the warm goodness that's inside, it's hard to break them of the habit. And one egg eater will teach the others. This is a big problem.

I'm not sure what to do and will scour web pages to see what others have done. Was I supposed to do what dog trainers do when a dog does something bad, scare them and make them think the world is about to end? And how do we get them to lay in the box?

Anyway, thought I'd share with you that it's not all roses over here in The Eggplant, more to come.