I’m a little angry at the moment. We have a scoundrel hen among us. At HEF, we treat our chickens well and feed them even better. Our laying hens consume the highest quality organic GMO-free feed available. It ain’t cheap, but we think it is worth it. We also toss seasonal “treats” into the yard every morning. In the summer they get squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon. In the fall, pears, eggplant, sweet potatoes and bell peppers. In the winter and early spring they get frozen summer veggies that I ran through the food processor at the height of freshness. These birds want for nothing.
So why the anger? One of the hens has developed a taste for eggs. It has been going on for about a month. Yes, that is correct, chickens sometimes eat their own. If an egg accidently breaks and a chicken dips her beak into it, they can become cannibalistic. It is the reason that most mega chicken egg and meat factories cut off the beaks of day old chicks to prevent them from eating dead chickens or freshly laid eggs. We find that practice abhorrent.
Bottom line though, we had a traitor in our midst and it had to be dealt with, but finding out which of our 45 hens had gone all Hannibal Lector on us wasn’t going to be easy. They all look so sweet and innocent! But this hen was eating two or three eggs every day so, yo sista, you are cutting into our inventory and that won’t do. I made it my mission to make the occasional surprise visit to the coop. Who am I kidding…..I was checking on them like every 10 minutes.
After two weeks of obsessively checking, I happened to be walking past the coop when I heard a peck, peck, pecking noise coming from within. I leapt over the fence and ran in to find one of our Red Star’s asses hanging out of the nest box while her beak was going at an egg like a jackhammer. Busted!!!!! I yelled for Steve to get the antiseptic spray from the barn because it stains purple so we could mark her in case she scampered away before we figured out what to do with her.
So here she sits in solitary confinement: three squares and a pine shaving bed. Sorry hon, but no conjugal visits from Fabio, you’ve been bad. We will do our best to rehabilitate her by swiping her laid eggs quickly, but if she can’t kick the addiction………..get the stew pot ready.