Tuesday, 26 May 2009

P.I.T.A Chooks

We have 2 chickens, Feathers and Digby or to give them their full names Feathers McGraw and Sir Digby Chicken Cesear. We usually get 2 eggs per day, Adam brought the first one in early this morning, I went out mid morning to check for the 2nd and -disaster - it was smashed.

We've had problems with thinish shelled eggs recently and have had a few eggs with small cracks and this is the second which has been completely broken. It's a problem not only because we lose an egg but apparently if a hen decides to eat a broken egg she may get the taste for it and begin smashing her eggs on purpose.

My current best guess is that this is being caused by the feed. It supposedly contains all the calcium the hens need to make nice strong egg shells. Last time I bought a different, cheaper, brand of food and the shell problems began shortly after. We've now stocked up on our usual brand again so fingers crossed that's the end of the matter.

We really enjoy keeping our chooks and especially appreciate our supply of fresh, free range eggs but, dear God they can be a pain the bum! Keeping chickens in a small space and growing veg at the same is quite a challenge. All our veggies are imprisoned behind chicken proof fences or are grown in hanging baskets, up out of their reach.

The chickens refuse to accept this status quo and are continually pushing the boundaries, poking their heads through 'chicken proof' fences, jumping up on garden furniture to raid hanging baskets and - Adam's bete noir - scratching dust baths in the lawn. The grass is currently festooned with a variety of milk crates, flower pots and childrens toys to keep them off the vulnerable spots. I'm not even going to start on the poo and beaks capable of drawing blood from a 2 year old's finger ......

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