We had been getting rather concerned about the chooks. The white one, a pullet (not yet laying chook) had lain one egg disastrously. Something to do with gravity and not laying from a roosting perch. You are meant to lay in the nesting box…
Anyhow, we hadn’t had any more eggs from her which didn’t have me overly concerned because there can often be a gap between the first and second eggs. The black hen, Harriet Houdini, on the other hand had been laying 2 days on, 2 days off, but we had gone 4 days without an egg from her. Well that was concerning me because we had changed the routine and we thought it had upset her.
We had had to change the routine after leaving food out in the self feeder which allows you to not have to manually feed the chooks a couple of times a day. The idea being that you can be late home, or even stay away for several days at a time. The problem being that the grain/feed is out (somewhere dry) and whilst it had been very successful, it has also been feeding rather a large number of the wild bird population such as the Crimson Rosellas which had taken to routinely visiting the feeder and discarding what they didn’t like, scattering it everywhere, and eating only what they liked. So I had removed the feeder and was just putting down some of what they should have been eating. I had been putting less and less down each day, concerned that they were not eating enough, the rosellas eating too much and not wanting to attract mice or other rodents. They were down to less than half of what was the recommended daily amount and they always seemed to want more whilst I was around during the day… so with much reluctance I had put the feeder back into the chook house, but with very little feed in it, (only a daily amount)… still no eggs. We had tried giving them kitchen scraps which they pecked at and then left. In fact, I had even resorted to getting some of the cheapest tinned tuna I could find (rumour had it that chooks would love tuna) and they loved it, eating it like there was no tomorrow. Were they really hungry, just wanting protein or just enjoying a treat. I had no idea, but the tin was open, so I had been giving it to them each day.
Anyhow, today (Sunday) we had an hour spare, so given how much time the chooks had been spending under the house, we wanted to check out the underneath of the house to make sure it was safe for them to be under there and that there wasn’t anything under there they should not have been eating. Stuart also complained that whilst he had been sitting on the toilet, the chooks were directly underneath him making an absolute racket! So it was time to have a crawl underneath the house to see if it was OK for them to be under there. In a depression, directly under the toilet, (luckily something that doesn’t leak in this house) he was to find 4 brown eggs and 2 blue eggs. The blue eggs are our black chook (Harriet Houdini), the brown eggs are our new chook (ex-pullet), the white one who is called Jealous Jane. She has been laying underneath the house!
So what to do next… well we decided that the best thing we could do was to put one of each egg into the newly enlarged nesting boxes (they were only 8 inches high, but should have been 12 inches high), so I took 2 eggs down to the chook house and came back with 3, 1 brown and 2 blue. Whilst we had been under the house filling in the depression with rubble and other stuff they could not move, plus covering over the area they had been using, the black chook had been laying an egg in the nesting boxes! So we now have 7 eggs to add to the 4 that we had from Harriet Houdini from earlier in the week. And to make life even more fun, because we had thought the laying chook had stopped laying for some reason, we purchased a dozen shop bought eggs yesterday! So now we have 23 eggs, and expect another 2 in the morning!
Humm I think we are eating a lot of eggs over the next couple of weeks!