Thursday, October 13, 2011

Something Funky is Going On

Something weird has been happening with the chickens.  Egg production has dropped off significantly the last two weeks.  Last week I gathered a total of 11 eggs between 10 chickens.  It's like they all got together and decided that a different chicken would lay an egg each day.

"No - it's your turn Doris.  I layed on Monday and Big Brown Betty had Tuesday.  Aretha and Etta are taking the weekend shift, the Heart girls (Ann and Nancy Wilson) are both taking Thursday." - said Reba.

Everyday I would look at the one lonely egg in the nest and then look at the girls and say "Really?  One egg?" - ending with my best Albert Brooks impression with "Come On!  You're killing me here". 

I know that things can decrease with winter - but it's not winter yet!  I hooked the light back-up to a timer so that the girls are getting 14 hours of light a day.  Maybe they need to get used to that.  I have never seen such a drop from the entire flock.

I will say that life around Windy Acres has been fairly busy.  The farmers have been harvesting the soy. 

Coyotes have been active in the area.  We can hear them every night - howling and yelping as the train rolls through.  One coyote was literally hanging out in the field in front of the combine as it went down the rows.  We were really surprised and fascinated.  I watched him for about 1/2 an hour with a spotting scope.  He seemed to have no fear of the combine and seemed to have done this before.  We think he was on the lookout for fleeing field mice.  He did eventually catch something.  He was very aware of our presence but had much more important things on his mind.

There has been a Great Horned Owl hanging out as well.  I went to the coop the other night and from up within the tree directly above the coop, the owl came swooping down and then out across the field, giving me quite a startle.  Its wing span was enormous.  We've seen the owl other times as well - flying across the soy fields the same night as the coyote. 

I just wish I could pinpoint the issue.  I have regular clients that buy eggs about every other week and I have had to halt sales for now.  This week has been a tad better, so hopefully it was just a strange anomaly among a flock of semi-strange birds.