Homesteading, Husbandry

Morgan Farms’ Most Wanted

Name: Shell Stomper
Variety: Ancona
Weight: Approx. 4.5 pounds
Charges: Unknown counts of egg eating; conspiring to ruin breakfast
Cellblock: 7-Day Chicken Coop
Sentence: Chicken Dinner

Name: Mrs. Flighty
Variety: Maran
Weight: Approx. 6 pounds
Charges: At least 2 counts of egg eating
Cellblock: 7-Day Chicken Coop
Sentence: Chicken Dinner

In all seriousness, I really hoped that covering the nesting boxes with jeans and stuffing them with golf balls would help. But I knew quite honestly that it wasn’t likely. We went from a period of 4-5 eggs a day to none. For weeks. The Ameraucanas had been laying off and on and the Delawares had been laying reliably, but once they went back into the big chicken coop–nothing. The Anconas had just started up, but I’d found their shell pieces. And the Welsummers had been averaging 2-3 eggs between the 6 of them every day. Recently? Nada.

Whoever the egg eater was, I knew she was established. So my jeans and golf balls approach was a last-ditch effort, a hope that this egg-eating disease hadn’t spread. I’m sure whoever has learned it has learned it, and cannot be broken. I happened to sneak a break in between meetings today, only to come upon the coop with the Ancona’s beak slathered in egg yolk. It splattered up her face.

Other chickens, clearly, had partaken in the eating. But the evidence was on her face: she was the one who cracked that bad boy open.

This afternoon I sneaked out again; I knew a Welsummer had been laying this morning, but by the afternoon there was no Welsummer egg. There was, however, an Ameraucana egg coated in egg yolk and pine shavings in the middle of the floor. I picked it up, grabbed a “spare” egg from the house, and put them in box #1.

And I stood there.

The chickens quickly forgot about me, and that was when barnyard enemy #2 started dipping her head into each nesting box. And as soon as she found the real eggs, she tried to peck.

That’s when she moved into the 7-day chicken coop.

So, after Saturday, we will be down at least 2 chickens.

I suspect at least one more Maran has learned this filthy habit, but the others seem more involved in eating open eggs than the creation of the problem. Once I start to get this under control, I’ll be able to move forward with omelettes, pasta, and egg hatching. (Secretly, I’m considering picking up some more Delawares when I get my Ameraucana chicks this spring.)

3 thoughts on “Morgan Farms’ Most Wanted”

    1. Thanks. We had golf balls in all of the nesting boxes already but it looks like it wasn’t enough. I think the Ancona we can save, but we have 2 Marans who seem to really be rooted in the problem–they don’t even peck at the golf balls, but if I stick an egg in the nesting box, they go right for it. Too smart.

      But what can you do this late? Be practical is all. The way I look at it, they’ve been cares for and we know everything about what they ate and where they roamed.

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