Wednesday, April 25

Cheeky Chickies

cheeky - adj \ˈchē-kē\
impudent; insolent
saucy, audacious, bold.

May I also add tricky, sneaky and apparently, very smart.

I have been thinking that my ladies have been holding out on me the last week or so. Not holding it against them, due to the recent traumatic fox incident, I was waiting patiently for them to regain composure and set about the task of again providing me with at least 7 or 8 eggs per day.

It appears that I have been duped.

My ladies have been secretly stashing their eggs on top of a bale of straw behind their enclosed indoor coop. I had been finding 4 or 5 eggs in the nest boxes daily, and like I said, I was waiting for the return in production. Little did I know that they were producing quite nicely on the hidden straw bale and I found a nice clutch of 14 eggs all snug in a chicken-sized depression in the straw.

No knowing just how long these 14 eggs had been sitting there, I was not sure if I should use them. I gathered them up and brought them in the house, telling the ladies I had found their stash and that they were grounded.

I found instructions online as to how using a bowl of cool water can help tell if an egg is good, or if it is past its prime.
Fill a bowl with cold water and place one egg inside. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it's fresh and still good to use or sell.

 If the egg sinks to the bottom, but stands on its point, it's still good but needs to be used soon. If the egg floats to the top, it needs to be discarded.

I found that 13 out of the 14 were still good. The one that I questioned did not float but it did stand about half way on the point and bobbed around in the water a little. I threw this egg out as I did not want any problems.
Apparently since the egg shells are porous, overtime the liquid in the egg evaporates and is replaced by outside air. This results is an egg that will float, bottom side up.

In related chicken news, I made the ladies a new portable run so that they have access to fresh grass on a continuous basis. Their permanent outdoor run is all dirt (it has not been all grass since day three of their arrival). Even though I put down fresh straw for them and let them have free range of the yard now and then, there is only so much straw can do. And the fox has put an end to any free ranging, even if I am out in the yard.

My plans to build a chicken tractor have not come to pass as of yet so I took a cue from Chicken Thistle Farm and bought a 50' roll of 4' high green garden fencing. Using 4' wooden stakes that i already had I constructed a semi-circle pen for them in the grass, attached to one end of their permanent pen. A little door was cut in the permanent fencing, which can be closed and secured in need be, and the ladies now have access to fresh grass during daylight hours.

I will leave this up for about a week and then I will move it over and around so they do not destroy one particular patch of grass. The great thing is that i can make it any shape that I want and I can add more fencing to enlarge the area as the flock grows.

 I am still planning on constructing the chicken tractor to that I can move the ladies to the tilled garden and let them do further tilling and fertilizing. I can also use the tractor to let the new little girls have some time outside while being separate from the older ladies, and safe from predators.

So far, the ladies have kept to the confines of their new area even though it has no netting on the top. I did reinstall the wind damaged netting on the permanent outdoor area so that they will have protection from hawks.


3 comments:

  1. Mine have been laying behind a bush in the yard. I had no idea until I found a whole bunch of half eaten eggs scattered all around there. Someone had a nice lunch, I think.

    Tricky chickens!

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  2. maybe that is what is happening to my little Nutmeg. She hasn't laid in 3 days - maybe she is just hiding her eggs. I will have to hunt in the morning. i also call my chickies cheeky - because they are so very ;-)

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  3. Thought you might be interested in a blog that describes storing eggs for MONTHS. I haven't tried this myself as we don't have our own chickens, but if I did have surplus, this is what I would do. Here is a link to one of the posts:
    http://preparednesspro.com/safely-preserving-eggs/
    There are several other links at the bottom of this post.

    ReplyDelete