Tuesday, May 8, 2012

End of the Chicken Molt Revolt

Editor's Note - If you have ever seem the movie Platoon - read this with Charlie Sheen's voice in your head - has much more impact.

I think I can finally say that the Great Chicken Molt Revolt has ended.  Truly, these were dark times. 

The chickens were molting and all energy seemed to be spent on new feathers rather than new eggs. There were feathers everywhere. It looked like the girls had been fighting off coyotes with the amount of feathers found flying in and around the coop. 

Each evening, there would be the slow sad walk to the nest boxes to search for any signs of eggs. We might get one egg every other day - if we were lucky. Sometimes less. Some days all that was found were broken egg shells - sacrifices and carnage left behind in this great battle. As we approached Easter, I had to hoard whatever eggs we found, just to have enough to color. I would throw down the gauntlet everyday proclaiming "I better see more eggs or you might find yourself as soup!"  But they knew that my words were empty and that I could never follow-through on the threat.

Part of the problem is that all but one of the girls are all around the same age, so the molt seemed to hit all of them at the same time. If we were a bigger farm, we would stagger adding new hens to the flock to maximize egg production and to stagger situations like the one we have had for the past couple of months. Add to the mix a totally wacky end to winter/start to spring (cold, hot, cold, hot, rain, cold, hot, rain, etc.) and you have the perfect storm.

I would categorize this batter between the chickens and their need to molt and my need for eggs as a draw with both forces walking off the battle field (aka the Little Deuce Coop) just a little battered and bruised. Egg production seems to be back to a level closer to normal. The girls look better and we are getting 3-4 eggs per day.  What will we take back with us as we attempt to live a normal life of peace and harmony?  What indeed.