jueves, 26 de agosto de 2010

mad chicken disease

A bad case of it too, very very mad. and definitely contagious. It's not as commonly known as mad cow disease, but you better believe it's just as ugly.

If you're not familiar with this dreadful condition, allow me:
Mad Chicken Disease, short for Mad At Chickens Disease, aka Mad That I Feed Chickens Who Don't Even Lay Eggs! Disease.

ahem. this brings me to my point: an update on my beloved chix coop!
Forgive my bluntness but lately the chickens are pissing me off.
Who, us?

A brief history: These are my first ever chickens
; I acquired the role as their caretaker almost one year ago during which time we have shared many ups and downs.
When Mama Canela began laying, I looked optimistically on our future egg producing/eating exhange. Her girls, the Chicklets, also started popping out a daily egg. happy days!
Sadly, a frustrating period commenced, as Canela became broody and refused to lay eggs. I tried every trick in the book, enduring her angry pecking and dramatic squawking as I attempted various anti-broody techniques. A stubborn hen, Canela refused to yield for many weeks.
Patiently I waited until the joyous day when she resumed egg laying service.
This brings us to recent incidents.
For about a week after our vacation, eggs were rolling in! then, one day instead of 3 eggs, I found only 2. the next day, only 1. eventually, you guessed it: 0 eggs.
The girls all seemed normal, eating well, no sign of broodiness. I beefed up their feed ration--maybe they were malnourished?? Still, no eggs.
Meanwhile, the coop was overtaken by a voracious ayote squash vine, a live decorative shade structure.
The squash leaves were so large and dense,, they were able to hide these from view:
Sneaky sneaky STRANGE chickens!! They had been laying eggs on the roof of their coop! which makes no sense. Are they doing this to upset me on purpose?? it's not cozy, private, safe, or any of the things a nesting box should be. but, there they were--a secret stash of perfect protein.
Well, now that the laying question was settled, we could get back to our previous arrangement, right?
not. so. fast.
Egg-laying ceased. from that day on, I have yet to find another egg. and i've looked, oh I'VE LOOKED! i've spent mucho tiempo in the coop this week, watching chicken tv.
what I did start to notice were the feathers. everywhere. fluffy down, long wing tips, you name it. all over the ground.
It appears my chickens are MOLTING. and during the 6-9 week molt, hens stop egg laying.
Seriously? because these girls have spent more time the past year off the nest than on.
is it any surprise that these chickens are making me MAD??

so for now, it is off to the mercado to BUY eggs, and stopping by the chicken coop each morning to gather squash ;)

3 comentarios:

Live Simply Love Strongly dijo...

Oh dear. Your chickens are a breed of their own :)

Martin dijo...

Just stumbled across your blog and it reminds me of friends on The Real Nicaragua . Altho the site isn't dedicated to homesteading in NicaLandia, there is an area dedicated to the subject.

Cookshow homesteads on Corn Island and Catahoula Fan (+1) are just down the road from you (past Jinotepe).

You writing style, wit, and experiences would fit in well...

Bangchik dijo...

Chickens just want to be free..., where to lay eggs. Nice squash you have there.. ~bangchik