Ted’s essays

outsmarting an egg sucking chicken

An occasional problem on The Easter Egg Chicken Ranch is the egg eating hen.

When one breaks open an egg in the nest and discovers interesting goo inside, she may never lose that interest. It is a high-order problem as there is no way I know of to figure out who the culprit is and remove the problem from the flock.

This ugliness cropped up recently with a new batch of hens coming on line.

My flock now stands at 2 great, peaceful, compatible roosters and 18 hens who know which rooster is the leader of her personal flock with no jostling or squabbling over position in the grand scheme of things.

Ah, but how did I outsmart the egg eater?

When chicken ranchers steal all the eggs every day, the girls are less inspired to populate their community nest with more. Therefore we place fake eggs in each nest so there is always one they can add their new contribution to. I mark mine with a spot of nail polish so I don’t waste any time deciding which one stays as I gather the day’s harvest.

nesting boxes 4, 5, 6

Noticing that the egg eating hen always used nest #4, I overpopulated it with fake eggs, hoping her pecking at existing (non-breakable) eggs would fail to reward her.

DAY ONE of that plan is an unmitigated success. Today I collected a very un-February-like 11 eggs. That is more than 1/2 egg per girl which is spectacular production for winter.

Hoping tomorrow doesn’t prove me overly optimistic, I’m happy that I seem to be smarter than an egg-sucking chicken.

No way to measure By How Much.