After we caught “Jake the egg eater,” the next day we caught two more chickens eating eggs. They were put in the box-o-shame.
We got a previously cracked empty egg and filled it full of hot sauce and put it in their pen. Sure enough, all three chickens had to take a taste.
There was some extreme chicken distress going on in the box-o-shame. Lee and I deduced that somebody really needed to lay an egg and was trying to hold out until they could get to their nesting box. We decided to let them back out, since we could uniquely identify all three chickens if we needed to butcher them later. All three chickens made a mad dash to the nesting boxes and in about twenty minutes all three had laid an egg.
We kept putting hot sauce in any broken eggs we found and our unbroken egg collection rate went up dramatically. I think partly this happened because I spent the day working in the garden. I would stop and get an egg every time the “HELLO WORLD! I LAID AN EGG” crowing started.
This is not a success story yet. We are still getting broken eggs. Lee said he saw one chicken eating an egg despite the hot sauce on top of it. Apparently chickens can’t taste the capsaicin in spicey food. For that reason, we got a bottle of hot wasabi mustard and will try that next.
In other chickens news, we have a chick house full of piranhas.
At night when the chicks would be relaxing under the heat light, I started noticing plucked bare backs. Oh joy of joys! We knew it was cramped in the mini-coop but I was hoping we would get the coop moved and have them free-ranging before anything like this happened. Lee has ordered wheels online, but until they arrive and he builds the mini-coop moving rig we needed an alternate solution. A midnight operation of “Save The Naked Chicken Butts” commenced and the box-o-shame was converted into the box-o-victims.
The box-o-victims turned out to be every chick that wasn’t a Lakenvelder. I think we must have racist chickens. Well I take that back, the Lakenvelders have allowed one Araucana to remain with them un-plucked. Every morning I expect to find that last chick plucked bare by the piranhas. Surprising facts about Lakenvelders: they are the smallest breed we ordered, they are the most dominant, and they were the first to start crowing. The mini-coop is parked just outside our back door, and with all the pubescent crowing it sounds like someone is throwing a party with kazoos.
The king of the box-o-victims is happy. We call him Beak Head. The other chicks weren’t happy with him as they are pretty peaceful and Beak Head really wanted to prove how awesome he was by stomping on them. I say ‘was’ because Beak Head has hurt his leg and is no longer pulling king of the box moves.
Poof Head is ridiculously cute but is a little overwhelmed by life. She never knows what is going on because she can’t see a thing. When the other chickens run from us in terror, she runs toward us. Her male pattern baldness (courtesy of the Lakenvelders) is starting to grow back in. Poor thing. The second little Poof Head seems to be much more with it. Maybe that’s because her head feathers haven’t blocked off her eyesight yet.
So far I have been liking our new Araucana strain, the Cochin, and the Polish (even though they are ridiculous). The Lakenvelders have been my least favorite. We will see how they are when they get older. They are supposed to be great at foraging. It’s no big loss though (as we can just eat them), and sometimes you just have to experiment to find the breeds that work best for you.