Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh, Those Tricky Chicks

Just when you think you know your chickens, they go ahead and surprise you. I mean, you'd think a creature with the brainpower of the average root vegetable would be predictable. But no. You just never know what those crazy birds will do next.

Let us take--for a completely random example, as if you didn't see this narcissistic turn coming--MY chickens, for instance. I thought I knew them. I thought they were disdainful of any additions to their store-bought chicken feed, for one thing. I have tried at various times to give them half-frozen greens from the garden, stale bread, apple peelings . . . all to no avail. They turned their stupid beaks up at this nice fresh food and went on eating their artificial feed. Even though lots of OTHER people swear by giving their chickens all the scraps and old produce hanging around and claim their chickens love it. It really made me wonder what was wrong with MY chickens. Do I have the chicken equivalent of a picky toddler who refuses to consume anything other than pasta? Are they retarded in some way (other than the retardation of your average chicken, I mean, which is pretty substantial)?

Then, faced with about half a dozen starting-to-rot apples, I decided on a whim to cut one up and throw it in the chicken coop on Tuesday. By yesterday morning, it was completely gone. Oh. I don't know WHY they changed their tiny little minds, but they ate the apple, so that's something.

And another thing about those chickens. I thought it was understood that they were done laying eggs for the winter. Everyone says chickens don't lay in the winter unless they are exposed to artificial light. Everyone says chickens go through natural cycles with the sun and I shouldn't be expecting eggs until the days get longer.

Everyone didn't count on Poppy, that crazy chook*. You will recall, perhaps, that Poppy surprised me last year by laying her very first eggs around this time. Which is also the time, coincidentally, of the LEAST daylight in the whole year. Poppy, rebel that she is, doesn't seem to care about the conventional chicken wisdom. Yesterday, the same day I discovered that the chickens have spontaneously decided to eat apple pieces, I also decided to check the nesting box for the first time in a few days, just in case. I found two eggs in the nesting box. These are the first eggs I have found since this one over a month ago.

Now, I know it was Poppy because I only have two hens and they lay different colored eggs. Poppy's are green and Penny's are brown. Makes it easy to know who's producing and who's letting the team down. But if it hadn't been for the color, I would have thought they were Penny's. Because Poppy has never laid her eggs in the nesting box we built for the purpose (see, she really is a rebel). On TOP of the nesting box, sure. All over the floor of the coop, all the time. But IN the nesting box? No. And yet, there they were. Two green eggs sitting in the nesting box. Maybe she wanted to pay me back for the apple.

Or maybe she's just a chicken and therefore subject to no reasoning capabilities whatsoever. I'm going with that one.

* "Chook" is an Australian word for chicken. I think it's really fun to say and write. Try to work it into a conversation today.


Anonymous said...

nope, didn't say they WOULDN'T lay...but they won't lay regularly.
So keep on choocking for eggs.

Did that work?

word verification 'dollea'

Carmen chook her dollea to the babysitter with her today.
You asked for it you got it.... toyota.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she is just hoping for a piece of birthday cake! Is it still around?

SaintTigerlily said...

It is posts like this that make me smolder with jealousy. If I didn't live in the city I would want to live on a farm. Period.

Anonymous said...

It's 'cause it's cold - they are eating extra odd things to stay warm and huddling in boxes. Just a thought.

Chickens said...

Oh hi, so you're from Australian? There's no need to worry about your chickens, really. As long as they are comfortable with the food, you don't need to push them. Speaking of the season, sometimes a different kind of chickens do act differently. A better house can also improve your chicken performance. Check the link for more information if you like. :) Hope it helps.

sheila said...

My ducks are laying better than my chickens. 4 ducks, 4 duck eggs everyday for weeks now. 9 hens are laying 6 to 7 eggs a day. 4 Silkies are laying 1 to 2 bantam eggs a day. I'm not sure how many of the Silkies are hens though. Still waiting to see if someone crows so I know if I have any roosters in the batch. So that's around a dozen eggs a day. I'm giving eggs away just to get rid of the excess. My neighbors are very happy.

Mayberry Magpie said...

When my daughter first played soccer at age 6, I found it so frustrating to watch, I compared it to a human (the coach) trying to herd chickens (the girls). I now know, thanks to you, my metaphor was truly brilliant, because 6-year-old girls are as retarded at team sports as your chickens are at, well, everything.

Anonymous said...

OK .....late on a post today? Too much revelry is all, I hope. Don't want it to be something is wrong.