Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One bad egg

Any false move lifting this egg from the nest box and it would have broken wide open. The shell felt like very thin, very brittle leather. If I knew which hen had laid this parchment-shelled egg, I'd know which hen was reaching the true end of her laying life. Then I suppose the cull-or-not-cull decision would have to be made.

But I don't know, and spying on the hens probably isn't going to happen. We're probably just going to wait until all of the hens are showing signs of age. Personally, I'd rather cull the entire flock and start over with new chicks in the future versus pulling out only one hen now. Besides, that way, the flock's balance of personalities can continue to balance one another as well as they do currently.

As I've written about before, deciding to keep backyard poultry inevitably raises questions like this. I know what my decision is already, as I also know that I don't have to cull too soon. The weak-egg layer can coast a bit more. I'll up their oyster shells to help and patiently wait for the younger birds to catch up. Then they'll go on to their next stage, and the chick to hen to egg layer cycle will begin again.


Kristin said...

Don't you agree that people need to have a plan before they start raising chickens about what they're going to do with their chickens once they've stopped laying; or the owner tires of raising them? (This goes for rabbits and ducks as well.)

'Course this problem happens with excess puppies and kittens too--not enough homes for all of the unwanted domesticated animals.

Just this past week I've been asked if I'd like chickens, roosters, and even a duck.

I hope the oyster shell will help your layer.

Anonymous said...

Ann started her new flock last November so they woud be up and laying with the increasing light this spring. That seems like a better idea than having hens just starting to lay in time for winter.

Good luck.


Heiko said...

That's one wrinkly egg! I agree with Kristin, you have to have a plan before launching into the chicken thing. Aquaintances of ours recently bought hens before they had a coop. Needless to say, their local fox had a good meal...

Stefaneener said...

Kristin, absoLUTEly. But it's apparently human naure not to always do so, says the woman with four children who just realized it means four adolescences . . .

Did you take the animals? Do you want another child?

Birgitt, it is a good idea. I think we might plan for that next year. They have some more time in them.

Heiko, oh no! What a silly thing. My bees came before the hive, but at least I didn't go get them.