Once you get over the fact that the girls are all subject to their own biological clocks and their own genetics, it's a little easier to check the nest boxes every day without going crazy for the next girl to start laying. It is disappointing enough to go from 2 eggs a day back to 1 for a few days. It seems like Weiss is the most reliable layer. Rosa does ok for afew days, then misses a day or 2. We've also had afew shell-less eggs here and there. Yesterday when I least suspected anything different, I checked the box to find 3 eggs!!!! Rosa and Weissy's light brown eggs PLUS A GREEN EGG! Not sure if it came from Prissy or Flower at this point, but so excited to see it and boy is it beautiful! No one has laid yet today, so not sure if it will continue. The Barred Rocks are a heavier layer than the Ameraucana's, so I'm not expecting an egg a day from them. We'll see how it goes!
Lila has become a monster. He is down right evil. I'm trying to give him a chance, but he is just aggresive and constantly attacking me. The other day, Kenny got home from work just as I was in the shed getting some scratch. All the girls followed me and were waiting just outside the door for their treat. Lila was pacing behind them giving me the evil eye. I was scared to leave because I knew he'd come at me. When Kenny got there, he chased him away and the 2 of them were over at the entrance to the coop. I thought I was safe and started walking to the side of the coop so I could throw the scratch in the run for them to pick at in there. That quick, Lila came flying from the backside of the coop and attacked me. It caught me so off guard that scratch went flying everywhere as I tried to fend him off. It was my wake up call. I did nothing to provoke him and in fact was no where near him when he started his attack. It makes me sad that he cannot be nice. Today, I barely cracked open the door to slide in a bowl of treats and he came at my hand and left a mark with his claw. I've been watching alot of youtube videos on culling chickens these days. I think I could do it. Butchering Lila would open a whole opportunity. I can envision buying some broiler chicks next year, raising them for 10 weeks and butchering them all for the freezer....hmmmm. Well, I keep wanting to give Lila a chance, but he is just a mean and nasty bird. The girls really seem to like him, but the other day, as punishment, I let all the girls out of the coop and made him stay in. I didn't want to fend off more attacks. He was pissed and paced back and forth like a raging bull making his little pissed off noises. The girls didn't wander at all and stayed near the coop foraging (made easy by the scratch I spilled during the attack the day before). They are so sweet and come to me when I call them. I think he is just one jealous creature.
I love giving the chickens kitchen scraps depending on what I am cooking for us. I will not give them moldy or spoiled things, but I waited too long to use my asparagus last week and I gave them all the soft stalks and end trimmings. Things like that. I also refrain from giving them breads and other 'processed' food items. I finally made a trip to my favorite discount grocery place. It's called Amelia's Grocery Outlet. It's a small regional chain that buys closeouts, expired or expiring items from other stores, overruns, seconds and more. It's one of those slightly sketchy places where you need to be diligent about checking dates on things. I don't mind things that only recently expired....but if it expired a year ago, forget it. Also, most of their dairy items are really sketchy and I usually don't buy much because of it. BUT....I do know that expiration dates on dairy...more specifically yogurt are really conservative. So I do not throw away my recently expired yogurt, I eat them. But I don't buy it already expired. I went today with a mission of restocking my pantry with cereal (excellent deals on cereal which is just way over priced in regular grocery stores!), canned tomatoes and things I use to make pasta sauce, plus other odds and ends. I also had a bag to donate to a canned food drive for the boyscouts, so I picked up some pasta, jarred sauce and some cans of veggies to donate. I was hoping to score some chicken treats....so when I got to a rack of marked down items and found 2 cauliflower heads marked to 99 cents because they were slightely browning, I picked them up. Never gave the girls cauliflower so was hoping it would be a hit. Then, as I continued into the dairy section, I kept my fingers crossed for some cheap expired yogurt. It's good for their guts, just like ours and I gave them some Chobani I found in the back of my fridge that had expired a month before I found it. They loved it. Imagine how giddy I was to find the large containers of PLAIN for 50 cents each!!! I bought 7 of them! I really wanted plain to avoid all the excess sugar in the heavily processed yogurts....so glad I found some!!! Here are some pics for the feedy frenzy.
Prissy takes the opportunity to take a dirt bath. She's very cute to watch as she clears the hole she makes and settles in. Fluffs her feathers in the dirt, then tidys up the area around her. Chickens are adorable!
Closing note on behavior....
I bought a new chicken book, which is by far the most candid and comprehensive book I have found to date. Everythiing is covered even a full pictoral of the killing and butchering process. The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers. http://www.amazon.com/The-Small-Scale-Poultry-Flock-Growers-With/dp/1603582908 This book is totally worth a read and has tons of info from preparing for your chicks to how to butcher and dress to instructions for a dust box. I recommend it to anyone interested in venturing into their own chicken rearing.
Anyway, according to the author, alot of modern Roosters have lost the instinctual moves they should have in ways of mating. He actually will not let any rooster who doesn't 'dance' for his mates reproduce and most likely, they will end up in his stock pot. Years of breeding to make chickens meatier and 'better' for people have put a damper on their natural instincts. I'm happy to say our rooster (jerk that he is) is a wonderful dancer and courts all his girls just like he should. It's very cute to watch him do is thing. His little stomps just make me smile. Even more funny is when he does it to Genny! Now....if only I could convince him I'm not the enemy here. I have my work cut out for me.
Failing Rooster Tamer