Unless I'm with close friends or with the hippies of the new millenium, I usually lay pretty low about the ladies in our yard. However, today they deserve a post of their own and my readership of 2 is likely sympathetic to the backyard chicken.
For the last few months, the ladies haven't been producing very well. Usually one a day between the two of them. That's not terrible, but for a family of five it still means a regular supply needs to be purchased from elsewhere. We've been happily eating from a farming friend of Rosa's, but we always prefer our own. Our ladies have freedom over the backyard, eating weeds and bugs and mice (if they are quick). That makes for darker, tastier yolks and the eggs are really big as well. Well over the extra-large egg standard.
In the spring I've keep them cooped to give my garden seedlings a chance to grow to a defensible size, but then they are out again. I think the problem with the lack of eggs started in August. Some days there was nothing. Well, they are getting old. Production is expected to decrease, right? But it did seem weird.
One day, in the prickly squash plants, I found an egg. Who knew how old it was. I floated it in water, comparing it to a fresh egg and it definitely floated differently. Out it went.
So, I fully expected to find a hoard of old eggs in the garden somewhere once I cleaned it out and the leaves died back. Nothing. The back garden is totally cleared and I found nothing.
Yesterday, I heard quiet clucking in the unused sand box area. Under a table (part of Alice's kitchen setup for mud cakes and dirt soup) I found this. Clearly Alice has moved beyond dirt soup this summer. She could have been making real, edible, scrambled eggs instead.
Seven eggs! Two fresh, and five will be whacked with a shovel in the compost and immediately buried.
Anyway, the title of the post is "Too little too late". Due to age, low productivity, dwindling numbers, and an expected hard winter ahead, this is their last day with us. They are moving to their retirement home in the country this afternoon and I hope they get along with their new friends. It will certainly be warmer in a more heavily populated coop and they won't be judged for their lack of productivity. I just hope their country cousins don't make fun of their city-slicker ways. Will they recognize a hawk or a coyote? Do they have the instict to run for cover?
Good luck, Heeny Monteeny and Jambon! We'll miss you around here, but I think you'll be happy. And now we can be sloppy about gate latches.