Good morning. The weather seems to be aligning with farming today, I have half the gardens planted although the peppers and tomatoes are none too happy as the night time temperatures went back into the lower 40's, quite steadily... We started all of our transplants this year from seed, so I'm especially protective of these plants. (I have had need to replace Kale with seedlings from local organic farm as something found all my starts delectable. I think slugs...they got almost all of my broccoli and cabbage too. I sprinkled wood ash all around the perimeter of these rows and now, no more problems.)
We found out the hard way- chickens don't like their coop all lit up. When we moved the "snow birds" back to their winter home from their Florida-like Hoop/Coop, egg production dropped a bit and then we kept finding half eaten eggs in the nests. I've never had this problem before and couldn't figure out exactly who the culprit(s) were and why- (given that they are extremely well fed with yummy greens to boot), they would eat their eggs! When they entered their summer home, I thought it best to do some spring cleaning and open up all the doors and windows to the fresh sunshine and breeze! I took down window and door coverings, turned their laying boxes to face the doors and loaded the cubby holes with extra sweet smelling hay- nice, dry and sunshine! The stress from the move, their dark hay-bale shelter from the hoop coop was no more, and they proceeded to be like cannibals and eat their own eggs. (I have noticed as well that it is the chickens who are not laying, the ones with the bright yellow legs, as opposed to the hens with the bleached-out ones, who are the culprits a/k/a soon-to be-Sunday-dinner...)
So, quite by accident the Big Fish was inside the coop, turned the boxes to the wall so he could set a trap and catch the egg eaters one at a time with the only available laying box to the other gals.
Low and behold...a funny thing happened. When I went to check for eggs, which became a very frequent endeavor as I didn't want to leave free lunches laying around...I heard a fuss coming from the boxes. My head said don't stick your hand in there, weasel or snake or worse?????! Like a fool who smells the milk carton even though it expired a month ago- I wiggled my hand down in there anyway. Two hens were sitting on top of each other with six or so eggs underneath them!
There was only enough room to barely slip a fat hen through between the wall and the box, but by golly- my Houdini hens did it and we have had no more problems.
Egg production is up and consistent, egg eaters are blind in the dark and I have learned a most important lesson-
It is not always in sunshine that we do our best production. Sometimes it is the dark places we find ourselves in that bring about the restorative balance most needed for a fresh new start.
Another chicken analogy brought to you by a true wonder...and a happy ecstatic egg collector! Take care-