We get this question a lot. Apparently having chickens is still a novel thing, and considering we don’t have kids to ask about, nor does anyone really want to hear that the cats are just lazing about like fat, entitled cats are wont to do. People want to know about the chickens. Here’s the scoop, presented en masse. Wait, should I call this COOP SCOOP? Or just die first?
Nora, the beautiful but permanently befuddled Polish Crested chicken, has a problem with logic. She won’t sleep in the chicken coop at night with the other chickens. She’d rather sit on the roof, in the rain, in the wind, in the frost, than roost inside the warm coop each night. The next morning her normally fluffy feather bouffant is soggy, sad looking side part.
We have serious doubts she will last the winter (although she is lucky this is a fairly mild climate) because she’s just that dumb. The coop isn’t too crowded, the other hens stopped picking on her months ago, but still. She unnecessarily tortures herself. So we’ve resorted to going out at night and “putting her to bed” by hand, and then locking the ladies in their coop for the evening to all stay warm.
We also have a rodent problem. Some mousey buggers are burrowing holes in the chickens’ enclosure to raid their food at night. We can’t poison them because the cats like to catch the mice, traps wouldn’t be the greatest for fear of chickens or cats getting in them. Enclosed live traps are creepy (what do you do with the mouse/mole/rat/thing after you catch it??), and the somewhat okay method we tried (floating sunflower seeds on top of a bucket of water so they jump in and drown) didn’t work. The easiest method we could come up with is putting the food in a plastic bin at night. So not only do we put the chickens to bed, but we also put their food to bed.
With the cold winter weather finally here, and some seasonal molting taking place, egg production has also dropped significantly. We went about 2-3 weeks without any eggs at all before Ruth, the black hen, finally started laying again this past weekend. Buying eggs from the store sucks, and I think the cost savings on eggs from the rest of the year will be negated during these months.
We do still love having the chickens though, and talk about at some point in the distant future that if we had chickens again, we’d definitely have more than just four. Four is small enough that it’s noticeable when one or two stop laying, and it’s easier for a certain chicken (ahem, Nora) to be very noticeably at the bottom of the pecking order. But the things are just damn funny. This morning I went out there and toss them spoonfuls of canned pumpkin. Three of them started digging in, but Ruth, the sassypants that she is, sniffed at it, balked, and then walked over to me and clucked like, “FUCK THIS SHIT, WHERE ARE MY NOODLES?”
They love noodles.