How are your peeps coming along?
The winner of our Puffy (and Poopless) Peeps Give Away is Mike!
For the rest of you who received a box of real chicks in the mail, here’s a few more things you may want to ruminate on.
Blondes (Leghorns) and redheads (Rhode Island Reds) are the usual backyard choices for laying hens.
They will start laying small “pullet” eggs around six months old, unless they start crowing, which sounds like a dying carburetor or maybe a moose with the hiccups.
Separate those. They are turning into roosters. Roosters are boys. Boys don’t lay eggs. Boys have cooties and attitudes. They must go.
I once had a hen that crowed though, so pay attention.
She laid an egg in the morning and crowed in the afternoon and the other hens decided she could stick around, but she had to be the one in charge of crossing the road.
Your hen will lay an egg a day for the next three years or so. You will protect it, feed it, water it, admire it, and clean the coop. You will tend the nest boxes every day and remove the eggs as fast as they’re laid so that when the hen returns to the nest and wonders, “That’s weird. I’m pretty sure it was here a minute ago,” she will shrug, go outside to play, and lay a new one in the morning.
Over and over and over.
Unless she’s a naughty hen, or maybe another breed like a Light Brahma or Polish, and decides to get “broody”. Then you have to crowbar her butt off the nest and steal the egg without getting your hand removed by the angry mama.
This hen may get so broody that she decides to start her own nest somewhere you can’t find it, like our Bantams did once – on the roof.
You may discover how Easter Egg Hunts were invented and why.
You may discover, all by yourself because you’re very clever, your own special collection of rotten eggs, in case of emergencies.
Like a zombie attack.
So when the nest boxes are suddenly empty every day, you have to ask yourself: “Are eggs about to roll off the roof onto my head and cause a zombie apocalypse or are my biddies turning the corner to henopause?”
This is important because you have been getting some amazing eggs. They have more nutrients and better flavor and brighter yolks and sometimes TWO yolks because you have some seriously happy hens. They get to run around and eat bugs. They get to poop on your patio. They like to roost on the swing set and take dust baths in the side yard.
Maybe all the ladies need is a nice massage, maybe a nap.
It’s time to learn how to properly hypnotize a chicken.
If Clark Gable can do it*, so can you.
- Find your chicken. Lure it over with a bread crust. Say “chick, chick, chick”
- Pick it up like a big cuddly feathery teddy bear
- It will wiggle. That’s okay. It doesn’t know how much fun it’s about to have
- Gently lay it on its side, on the ground, like it’s nap time for chickys
- With your finger, draw a line in the dust, from the chicken’s beak out and away, along it’s line of vision
- When the chicken focusses on this line, it will go quiet and limp
- Time the time-outs with your buddies to see whose chook takes the longest nap
- This, my friends, is how they make boneless chickens
*Clark Gable made a black and white movie in 1945, “Adventure”, that was pretty much a bomb. Not even the love scenes were any good. But the man had chicken skills, and I will never see Rhett Butler the same way again.