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Important Chicken Update

I woke up with Uncle B’s cold this morning, so it’s as good a time as any to resort to an Important Chicken Update.

They’re fine. They even handled Bonfire Night and the attendant fireworks, no problemo.

It’s still just Lucia laying, though. Ten weeks, forty-eight eggs — pretty good going for a bantam. We call them luciafruit. I have one hard boiled most mornings.

I feel a little bad about it. Not least because I suspect it hurts squeezing one out. It usually takes her several trips to the nest box. And if you stand outside, you can hear her make a faint, high-pitched “eeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” sound.

I rose from my sickbed, tiptoed out and took this picture for you. Note the difference. They’re exactly the same age, but Lucia’s comb and wattles are big and floppy (and, you can’t see, bright red). She also had a complete change of personality, from shy to restless and friendly and extroverted.

I don’t know what the hell is wrong with Mapp. I went out yesterday, and Lucia was sitting on the nest, all serious and business-y, and Mapp was sitting on Lucia, like, “HEY THIS IS FUN BUT NEXT TIME I GET TO PLAY BUS DRIVER.”

Good weekend, everyone!

Comments


Comment from Scott Jacobs
Time: November 19, 2010, 7:32 pm

Big and floppy, eh?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2010, 7:44 pm

Someone said that red comb is nature’s way of telling roosters, HOP ON, FELLAS — SHE’S READY.


Comment from Scott Jacobs
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:05 pm

Some things are a constant throughout the animal kingdom…


Comment from Elphaba
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:07 pm

Do they have only one nest box? You might try adding an additional one. Doing this helped with our egg production. We also trick ours into laying by placing golf balls in the nests. :)


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:16 pm

The house has got a place for a second nest box, but I keep all their food and stuff on that side (in tupperware). I was hoping with only two, we’d get away with it. If the Winter goes well, we hope to add a couple more in the Spring.

We’ve got a dummy egg on, but it’s a little big for a bantam. Mapp’s probably got egg envy :)


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:52 pm

Hey, Weas – that’s the first time I’ve actually got to check the math!

There’s an old puzzle (a ‘Poser’ to you Brits?) that goes, “If a chicken and a half lays an egg and a half in a day and a half, then how many eggs does a chicken lay in a day?”

The answer is one chicken will lay 2/3 of an egg per day.

Yours is doing slightly better!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:55 pm

McGoo! My brain just melted.


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:57 pm

Oh, damn. And on Friday, too? Rats.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2010, 9:18 pm

My innumeracy is frightening. I’m not a weepy person, but I have been known to shed a tear over word problems.

A hell of a programmer I was.


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: November 19, 2010, 9:28 pm

Are you giving the duo a laying feed:
http://shilala.homestead.com/notlaying.html

My friend’s hens weren’t doing their thing, either, even after 7 months. We got them some laying feed and now they’re going gang-busters. And one has even turned into a settin’ hen!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2010, 9:56 pm

I switched them over to layer’s pellets as soon as Lucia started laying. I’ve been saving eggshells to feed back to them, as soon as I figure out how (you have to cook them so chickens don’t figure out what they are and start eating their own eggs).

When she first started laying, Lucia’s eggshells were uncommonly tough. Now they’re okay, but not as thick as before.


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 19, 2010, 10:29 pm

Maybe Mapp just needs a hot stud rooster to give her a little encouragement..

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_xmoNlExb84w/SWKJZ3M3UmI/AAAAAAAACjs/w_FXAHL1dHI/s400/chickenrun02.jpg


Comment from Giles
Time: November 19, 2010, 11:05 pm

Hmmm. Non-laying chicken sitting on top of laying chicken… “hop on fellas, she’s ready”… time for a visit from the chicken sexer in case someone made a terrible mistake?


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 19, 2010, 11:15 pm

You know, I’ve wondered that too, Giles.

Either that or maybe someone is really badly hoping Santa will bring her a tool belt for Christmas.


Comment from Scubafreak
Time: November 19, 2010, 11:17 pm

LOL UB, that IS a rather polite way of saying it…. ;-)


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 19, 2010, 11:20 pm

Heh. We wondered that about Mapp when they were younger. She’s a bit…butch. I have heard tales of people whose “hens” started crowing when they were, like, a year old.

But bantams are supposed to be among the easiest to tell the difference. And if she were a he, her comb and wattles would be even bigger, no?


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: November 19, 2010, 11:33 pm

Mapp hasn’t expressed a fondness for San Francisco, has she? Any “Pelosi Forever” bumper stickers in her nest box?
Does she REALLY like Elton John songs? Or Ricky Martin?


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: November 20, 2010, 12:04 am

Someday, maybe, I’ll have my own house and will be able to have some chickens. For eggs, not the pot. I don’t mind butchering an egg, but an actual chicken, no. I prefer to buy them all cut up and unrecognizable as an animal.

I’m such a pansy.


Comment from Pupster
Time: November 20, 2010, 12:25 am

Maybe Mapp just needs a hot stud rooster to give her a little encouragement..

http://tinyurl.com/ycjm25t


Comment from bubba
Time: November 20, 2010, 3:01 am

Light stimulates the pituatary, chickens need around 14 hours of light a day to be productive layers. I use a time clock to turn on and off the electric light. You don’t need much wattage, 60 w lamp should do the trick. Has your other chicken molted?


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: November 20, 2010, 4:27 pm

What about a Q-Beam? Would that be enough light? I could pick one up for Stoaty, and mail it to her.


Comment from Elphaba
Time: November 20, 2010, 5:40 pm

If Mapp were a rooster, you’d definitely know it by now. The signs are pretty unmistakeable. And she’d effin’ crowing at all hours.


Comment from Anonymous
Time: November 20, 2010, 7:23 pm

Sigh everyone pushes girls to grow up so fast these days


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 20, 2010, 8:25 pm

I thought about artificial light, but it would be a real pain in the tail to run an electric line out there.

Also, I can’t find out how much stress laying puts on an animal. Meaning, would they live longer if they got Winters off? Because they’re more pets than productive livestock.


Comment from Ric Locke
Time: November 20, 2010, 10:11 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZYTK_PHP-k

Think we lost a chicken
Think we lost a chicken
Think we lost a chicken ’cause I just heard a cry
Think we lost a chicken
Think we lost a chicken
But you can get another one for a dollar seventy-nine…

Regards,
Ric


Comment from Deborah
Time: November 21, 2010, 3:34 am

My husband had a bird dog that wouldn’t hunt. We loved her anyway, and she was a fine companion to the dog that would hunt. Maybe you can train Mapp to do tricks.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 21, 2010, 5:04 pm

Forty nine. Got another one this afternoon.


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: November 21, 2010, 5:38 pm

So we know what Stoaty will have for Monday brekky. :)

I’m about to go shopping for Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I start baking. Only 4 of us this year, which sucks on one hand because it’s such a small group that I’m limited on what I can make (too many leftovers), but on the other hand, since my niece has disowned me for attending her brother’s ex-girlfriend’s baby shower, my brother’s fam will not be eating all my food and drinking all my beer this year. Fair trade, sez I.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 21, 2010, 8:20 pm

We do it up proper for T’day too, Nina. Uncle B doesn’t mind one bit adding a gluttony holiday to the calendar.

It’s also, coincidentally, the anniversary of my arrival in the UK. I kinda got that backwards, didn’t I?


Comment from bubba
Time: November 22, 2010, 3:17 am

The hens can go into molt with the lack of light and stop laying for six weeks or more. Proper feed, water and light delays the molt for the first year (their most productive). The hens will lay less often, but larger eggs, their second year. After their second year they are mostly food eaters and rarely lay. We butcher ours (stewing chickens) after the second year and mail-order chicks 20 weeks before we want the new hens to start laying.

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