Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Persistence of Poultry

Our new hens are performing quite nicely. They go to roost where they should. They lay where they should. The other hens were following along quite nicely. Roosting where they should, and laying in the boxes, or so I thought.

Chatterbox hadn't been laying before we got the new hens, and I was convinced Henrietta was laying in the boxes with the other hens. Then she went missing for two days. I really thought she hadn't been eaten, and was concerned for the rest of the flock. Then we caught a glimpse of her at the water.

After some hunting around we found her nest; a rather large one. Wouldn't you know the darn thing was setting right where she was hatched! Like mother like daughter I guess. We're not sure if the eggs are any good. While she was building that nest we had some very cold weather and changed roosters. We've been reading up on candling the eggs, and will be doing that soon to check the eggs. I'll keep you updated.

As I mentioned Chatterbox hadn't been laying. It had been quite some time. A few days ago I was out in the goat shed, and what do I see, but two eggs. The nest was squeezed in between a gate and the wall. I knew they were Chatterbox's because of the size and color. I collected them.

Then the other day I walk out of the door, and see her in our storage area up on the top shelf where the rabbits' hay is. I could tell by her clucking that I had interrupted her. Lo and behold she had made another nest between the two bales. With one egg in it. Today she was in the same general area, and threw a fit every time I went outside. I have yet to find today's egg.

Anyone know anything about ducks? Our ducks were given to us, and I really should do a bit a research or some more careful observation. It seems they lay for about a month and then don't lay for about a month. They hadn't been laying, and then I found an egg about a week ago, and then no more. Odd...

Earlier this week I spied the drake and one hen off eating. The other hen was nowhere to be seen. Knowing this means that she is off laying somewhere I kept an eye and an ear out for her. Soon I heard her calling to the other two, and saw her coming out from the general direction of the goat shed.

A later inspection of said shed revealed that both ducks were making nests under the shed. They are making them in a place that I can see, but can not reach. I could see though that several eggs had frozen and cracked, and been pushed away. There were not many eggs in the nest. Should I break up the nests? Maybe I should just shove some straw under there for the nests?

Now I certainly appreciate the persistence of these hens, and their desire for off spring. I am all for a natural growth of poultry here, and there isn't anything much cuter than newly hatched foul, but these hens just aren't on my schedule! New peeps in February? It just doesn't sound like a great idea. My plan was to wait and let them sit in March or so. I suppose if they do hatch out any this winter I will need to bring the peeps in. Maybe that would be a good use for that garden tub we never use? That wasn't exactly my plan though.


  1. I don't blame you for not wanting any little ones just yet. March sounds like a good time to me as well- before the gardening really starts and after the threat of too many serious cold snaps.

  2. Oh! More chicken mama drama! I love it!
    You've been "awarded" over at my blog btw. If you're into that kind of thing! LOL

  3. Oh how fun!! I can't wait to have the room to have chicken drama of my own- some day!